Cloud Gate's rich repertoire has its roots in Asian myths, folklore, and aesthetics, but it brings to these age-old beliefs and stories a contemporary and universal perspective. The company is made up of two-dozen dancers whose training includes Tai Chi Tao Yin (an ancient form of Chi Kung), meditation, martial arts, Chinese Opera movement, modern dance, ballet, and calligraphy.
According to legend, Cloud Gate is the name of the oldest known dance in China, a ritual dance of some 5,000 years ago. In 1973, choreographer Lin Hwai-min adopted this classical name for the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese speaking community: Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan.
Cloud Gate has been on extensive overseas tours throughout the continents of Europe, Asia, Australia, North America, and South America, including engagements at New York's Next Wave Festival, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival, Lyon Biennale De La Danse, Melbourne International Arts Festival, Adelaide Festival, Berlin Festival, the festival celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Pina Bausch Tanztheatre Wuppertal, Sadler's Wells Theatre and Barbican Centre in London, Deutsche Oper Berlin, and the Kennedy Center.
In 2003, Cloud Gate opened the Melbourne International Arts Festival with Cursive II, winning both the Age Critics' Award and the Patrons' Award; while in New York, Moon Water was named the best dance of the year by the New York Times. In 2006, Cursive: A Trilogy was chosen as the best dance choreography of the year as a result of critics' poll by Ballettanz and Theater Heute.
At home, Cloud Gate also enjoys high acclaim and popularity. It performs throughout Taiwan, in venues ranging from the lavish National Theatre in Taipei to mid-sized cultural centers in various cities to high-school auditoriums in remote villages. The company also gives free outdoor performances several times a year, drawing audiences of up to 60,000 per performance.
To further tour campuses and grass-root communities, and to foster young choreographers in Taiwan, Cloud Gate 2 was founded in 1999. In 1998, Cloud Gate Dance School was founded to bring the joy of dance to students, from ages 4 to 84.
In 2003, in recognition of Cloud Gate's contribution to the cultural life of Taipei City, the Taipei City Government proclaimed August 21st, the premiere day of Cloud Gate's 30th anniversary season, as "Cloud Gate Day" and named Fu-Hsing North Road, Lane 231, home of Cloud Gate's office, as "Cloud Gate Lane." This was the first time Taiwan bestowed the honor of naming a day and place after a living artist and/or artistic group.
Most of Cloud Gate's productions have been made into videos. Among them, Songs of the Wanderers, Moon Water, Bamboo Dream, and Cursive II were filmed in Europe. They have been broadcast in many countries and are available on DVD.