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Improvisation workshop guides students to interact with nature

2021-04-06

(Provided by Department of Theater Arts) Assistant Professor I-Lien Ho of the Department of Theater Arts started the Theater And Performance Art Into Urban Life (II) course and organized a workshop – “The body in the mountains and the sea”, inviting dance and improvisation artists to guide the students to feel the bodily rhythm on the coast facing the west side of Chaishan Mountain and lose themselves to dance.

This semester, the students of Theater And Performance Art Into Urban Life (II) course joined a workshop of city games series on the coast by Chaishan Mountain. Local artists of different fields collaborated in the workshop to design an interdisciplinary teaching method, share, and exchange. “The body in the mountains and the sea” workshop was led by Ms. Yi-Chun Chen, a dance improvisation artist of a local theatrical troupe from Kaohsiung – Kong Performance Experimental Field. The workshop took place on the beach on the west side of Chaishan Mountain to break the boundaries of the body and stretch their arms and legs. Yi-Chun Chen said that the body is also a part of nature. She hopes that the students can learn to breathe with the rhythm of the soil and the ocean. In the surroundings of nature, the course guides the students to breathe, observe, listen, touch, and rediscover the natural connection between the body, mind, and nature.

A senior student of the Department of Electrical Engineering, Yu-Cheng Hu said that because he had no experience with dance before, his biggest challenge during the workshop was not being able to interact with the environment. Although he felt that he didn’t perform well enough and his face was all in sand, he did achieve a breakthrough. A senior student of the Department of Theater Arts, Wei-Ting Hsu said that the best creative method presented during the workshop was “to perform just what one sees”, choose a place that one likes and try to use the body to feel and get close to it. Then, when one focuses on the interaction, rather than dance, one could be less fearful and free to move.

Hsu also mentioned that she has always wanted to try dancing by the sea, but was discouraged by her classmates who would say lying down on the sand will get her dirty. This time, she finally got to try it out – this was a reason why she had been looking forward to the workshop. Hsu also said that dancing on the beach is not easy as one might think – the sand is an obstacle for one’s movements making one use more energy to move, escape waves, and also, one needs to adjust to the weather.

The teacher of the course, Professor Ho, said that this semester, the second part of this general education course will take place in the surroundings of the University – Chaishan Mountain and the beach to further explore this area, understand the natural environment around NSYSU for the students to change the previously discussed humanistic viewpoint of “the city” and approach the urban environment from its natural landscape and connect the city with nature by performance art. The course students’ performance is scheduled for June this year. Teachers, students, and the public interested in performance arts are all invited to participate.

(Edited by Public Affairs Division)
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