Proposed Methodology

In order to answer question 1: how these traditional and foreign elements were combined to become Chinese classical dance.

I will look for certain martial arts (i.e. wushu sword and taichi) practitioners, as well as traditional Chinese opera practitioners and, using my own, and other Chinese dance-trained bodies as canvases, to learn these forms. After taking these workshops (I have not had prior training in these forms), I will conduct movement research in the studio in order to find a way to articulate how our bodies translate these martial arts and opera movements that we’ve learnt into ‘aestheticised’ versions in our Chinese classical dance practice.

The experience of how each individual participant makes the aesthetic and physical connections between the traditional movement forms and their own practice of Chinese classical dance will be recorded after each series of workshops.

Workshop series 1: Traditional Chinese Opera
30 Jan to 3 Feb 戏曲文生 by 林美琴
6 Feb to 21 Feb 戏曲武生 by 郭绪欠

Workshop series 2: Chinese Martial Arts
3 April to 7 April 杨氏太极拳 by Jaleen
17 April to 21 April 武术剑 by Justin Neo

Answering question 2: what issues might arise when Chinese classical dance is performed by contemporary Chinese people (who might identify differently from the official articulations of Chinese culture), requires discussion and reflection from the participants involved.

Each participant will be required to select a contemporary Chinese person to depict through a dance solo, ensuring that there are available resources to develop an in-depth understanding of that person’s background, as well as body language. By selecting contemporary Chinese people to depict through Chinese classical dance, each participant’s thinking and creative process will be recorded.

Further discussion will be conducted to question the participant’s initial thoughts and provoke greater reflection in order to develop a clearer articulation of the restrictions and possibilities in relation to the representative potential of Chinese classical dance in the contemporary context.

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