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Thread: Tai Chi and Dance

  1. #1
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    Tai Chi and Dance

    Tai Chi gets a lot of criticism when it gets too dance-like, but what about when that is its intention?

    Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre masters tai chi
    USC Kaufman students expand their cultural mindsets by embodying balance, strength and focus
    BY Natalia Sanchez FEBRUARY 2, 2016


    USC Kaufman freshman Satori Folkes-Stone perfects her technique in a Cloud Gate master class. (Photo/Rose Eichenbaum)

    USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance BFA students were given the chance to learn new movements with Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan.

    An exclusive master class, taught by Cloud Gate’s rehearsal director and senior dancer Chou Chang-ning, set the stage for the students to expand their cultural boundaries and explore alternative aesthetics on Jan. 26.

    Cloud Gate’s distinctive aesthetic famously blurs the lines between meditation, martial arts and modern dance. During the class, Chang-ning introduced concepts of tai chi, inviting students to embody structure, balance, strength and focus.

    “It’s great to see how they transform cultural elements such as tai chi and meditation into an art form,” said student Austyn Rich. “I’d love to keep learning about this technique.”

    Taking on a new challenge

    Nervous laughter was proof that the students’ mindsets were being challenged to try a different approach. With references to martial arts and a conversation focused on energy, Chang-ning surprised them and inspired their curiosity.

    USC Kaufman’s BFA has really prepared us for being dancers who can move outside our comfort zones.
    Beau Foley
    “I think USC Kaufman’s BFA has really prepared us for being dancers who can move outside our comfort zones,” said student Beau Foley. “We are now able to face something new and to implement everything they’re giving us.”


    Dylan Balka, in blue, is among the freshmen. (Photo/Rose Eichenbaum)

    The master class with Cloud Gate is part of the partnership between Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center and the USC Kaufman School of Dance. By inviting world-class artists to participate in the curriculum, the partnership strengthens the school’s leadership in the field of dance through collaboration with international dance artists.

    The class was made possible by funding from the Los Angeles Philanthropic Committee for the Arts, which supports USC Kaufman’s mission of forming cross-cultural dance leaders and reinforces Los Angeles as an important international center for dance.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
    Every thing starts and ends with a posture.

    We begin with standing in posture without movement.


  3. #3
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    ttt 4 2019!

    Sure, it's just a promo piece but this subforum needs luv too...

    Dancers, Achieve Mind And Body Harmony New Series At Marblehead
    by BWW News Desk Jun. 7, 2019



    Dancers can introduce balance into their lives in The Marblehead School of Ballet's new series, Beginner Tai Chi and Qi Gong. They will learn a range of movements from the Tai Chi Yang style form, the Rooting Pine Qi Gong Method, and some simple exercises to enhance harmony of the mind and the body in this new class on Sundays from July 21 through August 11, 2019 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The series takes place at the MSB studio located at 115 Pleasant Street in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

    Tai Chi and Qi Gong Provide Health Benefits

    "Tai Chi and Qi Gong provide wonderful additions to our curriculum. They will aid the development of a dancer, as well as the non-dancers, who are interested in improving their health and well-being. People from a range of backgrounds, including office workers, executives, stay-at-home parents, caregivers, and others benefit from this new class. Seniors can enhance their mobility and balance. This helps people reduce anxiety, treat depression, improve joint and organ health and balance blood pressure," explained Paula K. Shiff, Director of the Marblehead School of Ballet.

    The class is open to adults and youngsters, ages 13 and up. No previous experience is necessary. All are welcome.

    Dancer and Martial Arts Master Joins the Faculty

    Leda Elliot joins the MSB's faculty, as the school's new Tai Chi and Qi Gong instructor. "Tai Chi and Qi Gong provide several benefits. They are an extremely gentle form of exercise, suitable for people of all ages and physical abilities. Both Tai Chi and Qi Gong help enhance the body's natural ability to heal, while cultivating balance, harmony and equilibrium in the mind and body through a series of gentle flowing, meditative movements. Although seemingly gentle, they increase strength, flexibility and balance through the peaceful flowing movements," explained Elliot.

    Her unique experiences include extensive studies, performances and competitions in dance and the martial arts of Chinese Wushu, as well as the healing arts of Qi Gong and Reiki. Elliot's dance training was undertaken at The Ballet Arts of Carnegie Hall in Japan under Aiko Ohtaki, one of the first females to teach ballet in Japan, and at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, Massachusetts. She also brings to the Marblehead School of Ballet extensive training in competitive modern Wushu and traditional Wudang Tai Chi training under Master Bow Sim Mark from the Chinese Wushu Research Institute and Tai Chi Arts Association.

    To register for the new class or for more information, call the school's office at 781-631-6262 or enroll online at www.athousandcranestudio.space . The tuition is $70 for this special series. For a class schedule, visit http://marbleheadschoolofballet.com/...hool/schedule/.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  4. #4
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    People need to know the difference, the direction and the benefit, depending on choice of martial, gymnastic, dance or choreographed movement!
    They intersect at certain points of reference(s) but it is a good thing. Ballet artists would make snake creeps down/Dragon on ground as effortless as possible while the average person seeing this 'gymnastic display" this would be a prime target for injury or surgery.
    I have found a niche where I have taught taijiquan for dance groups but it is still positive because of the novelty, the integration, the visual aesthetics, etc, that has the potential to arouse curiosity and creativity for that dance audience or practitioner. It is obvious that a dance orientation would be foolish for a martial focused audience while saying their intersection (neigong) can serve both parties in their quest.

  5. #5
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    Cloud Gate Dance Theater


    In Taiwan, a Contemporary Dance Troupe Brings in the Crowds

    Cloud Gate Dance Theater holds a special place in the country’s cultural life. Now its founder is passing the torch to a new generation.


    The crowd of nearly 50,000 stretched together during intermission at Saturday’s Cloud Gate Dance Theater show in Taipei. Liu Chen-hsiang

    By Roslyn Sulcas
    July 30, 2019

    TAIPEI, Taiwan — A lunchtime bout of torrential rain, lightning and thunder couldn’t keep a crowd of intrepid souls from lining up at Liberty Plaza here on Saturday. They simply put up their umbrellas.

    What were they waiting for? Not a rock concert. Not a soccer match. Remarkably, they were staking out a spot for a contemporary dance performance. That’s because in Taiwan, contemporary dance is virtually synonymous with Cloud Gate Dance Theater, a company that has a special place in the nation’s cultural life. (There is a Cloud Gate Street in Taipei, and Aug. 21 is Cloud Gate Day.)

    The open-air show was a final bow for Lin Hwai-min, the company’s founder, who was stepping down as the troupe’s artistic director after 46 years. Like the company, he looms large in his country’s cultural life, as famous in Taiwan as any movie or pop star.

    By midafternoon, the skies had cleared and the lines had swelled to thousands. At 7:30 p.m., around 50,000 people were seated decorously on the plaza between the National Theater and the National Concert Hall. Camera operators were stationed nearby, filming the dance for a live broadcast on national television.


    The show was the swan song for the company’s founder, Lin Hwai-min. LIU Chen-hsiang

    When Mr. Lin arrived onstage, the audience members applauded, shouted and held up banners proclaiming their love. At the end of the show, they waved their phones, creating a sea of lights.

    Cloud Gate, which will now be run by Cheng Tsung-lung, the director of the company’s junior troupe, has long been an established presence on the international dance scene. “Lin Hwai-min is the name card of Taiwan in the performing arts, one of the most important representatives of our culture,” said Chang Hui-chin, the director general of Arts Development at the Ministry of Culture, who was attending the outdoor performance. “He has connected us to the world.”

    Lin Yatin (no relation to Mr. Lin), an associate professor of dance at the Taipei National University of the Arts, said there was no professional contemporary dance troupe in the Chinese-speaking world when Mr. Lin founded Cloud Gate in 1973. That was a moment when Taiwan was seeking its own cultural identity following 50 years of Japanese rule (1895-1945), after which it was ceded back to China. In 1949, China’s nationalist government lost control of mainland China and fled to Taiwan, establishing martial law.

    “They made my parents’ generation Japanese, and they tried to make us Chinese,” Mr. Lin said in an interview before the concert. “I didn’t set out to reflect Taiwanese society, but when I started choreographing, I knew I wanted it to be something of our own.”

    What he came up with was a remarkable blend of Western and Eastern dance forms and aesthetics, fusing Martha Graham and other contemporary dance techniques with Chinese classical and folk dance and ballet. In the 1990s, he would add martial arts, meditation, tai chi and the breathing techniques of qigong to his dancers’ regimens.

    “When Lin founded Cloud Gate, Taiwan was still under martial law rule, with no recognition, knowledge, appetite and audience for dance of any kind,” said Chien Wen-pin, the executive and artistic director of Taiwan’s new $348 million National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts. “The early success of Cloud Gate was indirectly responsible for the founding of Taiwan’s National Theater and Concert Hall and the National Symphony Orchestra nearly 15 years later. It is not an overstatement to say that Cloud Gate and Lin have created for Taiwan three generations of audiences for culture from square one.”

    Mr. Lin, 73, a charismatic man who looks preternaturally youthful, said he had wanted to be a dancer ever since seeing Powell and Pressburger’s classic ballet film “The Red Shoes” at age 5.

    His upper-middle-class family “never took it seriously,” he said, but when he published a short story at 14, he used the earnings to pay for ballet classes. He studied journalism, published two books of short stories, and won a fellowship for the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program. There, he began a course in dance, learning Graham and Doris Humphrey techniques, among others. “I spent more time at the barre than writing,” he said.

    He started to dabble in choreography soon after, and attended two summer sessions at the Martha Graham School in New York. After finishing his degree in Iowa, he returned to Taiwan, and began teaching in the English department at Chengchi University in Taipei. But a dance department at another university heard about his experiences in the United States and asked him to teach.

    “I was reluctant at first, but found I could offer a lot,” he said. “The kids I taught wanted to perform, so we started Cloud Gate.” (The company is named after an ancient Chinese ritual dance.) Their first two performances sold more than 3,000 tickets. “It was a good story,” Mr. Lin said. “A famous young writer had turned himself into a choreographer.” A good story, maybe, for everyone else. “I almost had a nervous breakdown,” he said. “I thought, I’d better learn how to choreograph.”

    Frustrated by his generation’s ignorance about Taiwanese history and traditions, he also decided to learn about his country. “I didn’t know a thing about my own culture,” he said. “I read our poetry, spent time at museums, went to see traditional opera. I felt the company needed to connect to our own country.”

    That connection has probably been the secret of Cloud Gate’s success at home. (When the company’s studios burned down in 2008, Huang Haluko, the company’s manager said, there were so many spontaneous donations that the company was able to build a new $22 million home by 2015 without a fund-raising campaign.) But Cloud Gate also quickly received international recognition after it began to tour abroad in the late 1970s, winning acclaim for the elegance of Mr. Lin’s fusion of styles and the beauty of his stage settings.

    Joseph V. Melillo, the former artistic director of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, who first invited the company to perform “Nine Songs” there in 1995, said in an email that no one challenges Mr. Lin’s “maturity of choreographic style and composition” in the Asian dance world, adding that Mr. Lin was an unparalleled teacher and had produced a new choreographic generation.

    Mr. Lin is modest in the face of these accolades. “All modern dance companies tend to fall apart when their founder dies,” he said before the show. “I consider myself the caretaker, not the identity. Cheng Tsung-lung is ready for a challenge. It would be terrible to keep a Prince Charles in the house.”


    Mr. Lin, right, with his successor, Cheng Tsung-lung. Liu Chen-hsiang

    Mr. Cheng, 43, is in many ways very unlike Mr. Lin. His background is not literary or intellectual; his parents, migrants from the south of the country to Taipei, sold slippers on the street before starting their own small factory. Sent to a school with an extensive dance program, Mr. Cheng excelled but became addicted to amphetamines in his early teens, he said in an interview. Being arrested by the police for possessing drugs and performing community service was a turning point, he said. After graduating, he worked as a truck driver by day, and studied dance part-time at college at night.

    He joined Cloud Gate, but after four years, a spinal injury forced him to stop dancing and led him to focus on choreography. He became the resident choreographer and artistic director of the junior troupe, Cloud Gate 2.

    His physical style and inspirations are his personal history, he said, citing “13 Tongues,” a 2016 work based on his memories of the vivid street life of his childhood, and which Cloud Gate 2 performed earlier in the week at the company’s sleek and curvaceous building, in a verdant setting outside the city.

    Mr. Cheng said that he was shocked when Mr. Lin asked him to take over Cloud Gate, but that he tried not to feel intimidated or nervous. He said his central focus was to maintain a connection to society. “Dancing is a way to connect people, and now the baton is with me,” he said. “You don’t have to abandon the past to have new beginnings.”

    But on Saturday, the theme was continuity, not change. “My parents brought me, and now I bring my children, and it’s the same for so many,” said a woman near the front of the stage. Mr. Lin echoed the sentiment in his speech, alluding quickly to his retirement and that of several dancers, before moving on briskly. “Cloud Gate Theater of Taiwan will keep moving forward,” he said. “See you here next year.”
    Here's a vid embedded in the article. It's beautiful.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    Tai Chi gets a lot of criticism when it gets too dance-like, but what about when that is its intention?
    Then it might be argued its no longer taiji.


    "Boxercise" is a high intensity interval training class based on boxing training.
    It differs from boxing in that boxing is a competitive sport whereas Boxercise includes aspects of boxing training but not sparring or competitive bouts."

    While it may be good exercise its no longer functional, does not teach one how to box,
    they don't call it boxing.

    Why would one call something that does not teach taiji, taiji.
    Last edited by windwalker; 08-01-2019 at 07:26 AM.

  7. #7
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    Let's go semantic then.

    Quote Originally Posted by windwalker View Post
    Then it might be argued its no longer taiji.
    It could be argued that it's no longer TaijiQUAN. But it could still be Taiji. Taiji is a much bigger concept than just martial arts. Taijiquan is the martial expression of the philosophy of Taiji, just as dance can be, or painting or any art for that matter.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  8. #8
    best of luck to them in the promotion of an
    art form based on "taiji"

    It may lead some to find taiji
    Last edited by windwalker; 08-01-2019 at 12:04 PM.

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