This paper intends to discuss the anthropological perspectives, methodology and relevant research and writing as applied to the current study on Taiwanese dancers, their lived bodies and cultures, addressing three main dimensions: Body and Movement, Sense and Experience, Skill and Practice. Compared to other disciplines, the unique anthropological ethos, including relativism, theories on culture, and ethnography have all provided significant leverage for theorization of dance studies under different periods. As current anthropological approaches on dance have been shifted from the textual approach focusing on meaning of dance, to that on perception of dancers, it invites more research on the perception of moving body with its profundity. This also matches the broader trend of highly sensual and speedy diffusion of cultural representation in the contemporary world since the beginning of the twenty-first century. Recent commercial advertisements highlighting skillful dancers in the Taiwanese mass media reveal unique image and value of dancing bodies. In the paper, through the approach of reflexive ethnography, I discuss dancers’ practice and perception as inscribed by the cultural system—the professional training mixing the Eastern and Western cultures of bodily perception and skills—which has been situated within the complicated and multi-originated forces of globalization and cultural nationalism. The primary research has been conducted among a group of professional dancers who had been trained in the National Taipei University of the Arts. Along with the analysis of the socio-cultural process and institutionalization of dance training, this paper illustrates the vivid construction of image and value of ‘the freely moving body’, which characterizes self-fulfillment of dancers, while imposing an everlasting process of competition and negotiation among different knowledge, techniques and cultures on their body-mind realization and perception. This primary research hopes to shed more light on the education of professional dancers in Taiwan in order to reflect upon the core meanings and values of pedagogy for dancers in the contemporary Taiwanese society.
|Translated title of the contribution
|‘The Freely Moving Body’: : An Anthropological Study on Contemporary Dancers in Taiwan
|Number of pages
|藝術教育研究 Research in Arts Education
|Published - 31 May 2021