Cloud Gate is allegedly the name of China’s oldest dance, a ritual dating back more than 5000 years. The name was adopted by choreographer Lin Hwai-min in 1973 when he founded the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese-speaking community. Now a major cultural force in Taiwan and on worldwide tours, Cloud Gate’s roots are in Asian myths, folklore, and aesthetics, but it tackles these subjects through a contemporary perspective. Lin himself studied extensively in the West, and the influence of American modern dance traditions may be seen in his work. Songs of the Wayfarers originated from Lin’s pilgrimage to Bodhgaya in Northern India where Buddha had sought enlightenment. An evening-length choreographic study of spiritual transformation, the work culminates in an extraordinary visual effect involving more than 500 pounds of rice.