Ph.D. Candidate in Dance History and Theory, Yatin Lin, Organizes National Taiwan University of the Arts Dance Performance at UCR

By Stephanie Wejbe, Student Intern of CHASS College Computing

Center-row, left to right: Yatin Lin--PhD candidate in Dance History and Theory at UCR, Ching-Meng Huang -- NTUA dance student, Mei-kuang Li--Stage manager, Mr. Ming-Shean Wang--President of NTUA, Professor Linda Tomko-- UCR Dance Dept. Chair, Mrs. Ming-Shean Wang, Professor Yang Kuei-chuan--NTUA Dance Dept. Chair, Ting-ting Chang --PhD student at UCR’s Dance History and Theory program, posing with other students from NTUA’s dance ensemble.

Graduate Student, Yatin Lin, is pursuing her doctoral degree in Dance History and Theory, the unique program offered by the Department of Dance. The rigorous degree aims to integrate interdisciplinary scholarly investigation with the field of dance. Lin was responsible for organizing the National Taiwan University of the Arts (NTUA) dance group performance, which took place on Wednesday, March 3, 2004 in the Arts 100 Studio from 12:30-1:00 PM.

The doctoral degree in Dance History provides an advanced interdisciplinary base for innovative research in the field of cultural and historical studies of dance. The program of study embraces a theoretical consideration of all dimensions of the practice of dance. These dimensions currently include, but are not limited to, digital culture, body politics, media studies, mobilization and class, ethnicity, sexuality and gender, and corporeal knowledges and choreography. In addition to theoretical and historical concerns, the program also promotes the articulation of a number of methodological approaches to the analysis of bodily performance. UCR faculty put into motion a variety of modes of production, including performance studies, technology, choreography, history, critical race theory, feminist studies/masculinities, Marxism/post-Marxism, ethnography and witnessing, and other specific area studies such as South Asian Studies, African Diaspora Studies, Native American Studies, Asian Diaspora and Asian American Studies. The program provides a provocative environment for investigating unexplored strategies for original scholarly work in dance.

Lin is currently writing her dissertation on the international staging of contemporary dance from Taiwan, and how issues of identity are negotiated in the process. Lin explained what made her pursue the Dance History degree: “By emerging myself in this challenging intellectual environment of faculty and graduate students with backgrounds in various aspects of dance, I hope to broaden my horizon and deepen my knowledge regarding how dance interacts with the historical, social, political, and cultural dimensions of our society.”

Organization and planning went into the success of the event. Professor Yang Kuei-chuan, Chair of the Dance Dept. of the National Taiwan University of the Arts approached Lin a few months ago when she was planning for a trip to the U.S. for their students. Lin was dance editor for the Performing Arts Review monthly in Taiwan prior to coming to UCR. The group had received some funding from the government in Taiwan to travel to the U.S. to take part in the American College Dance Festival, and wanted to visit the dance departments of NYU, CalArts, UCLA, UCI, and UCR along the way, as opportunities for international exchange.

Lin approached Professor Linda Tomko, Chair of the College’s Dance Department at UCR, who responded with full support upon presenting this opportunity to the rest of the faculty. Fellow dance graduate student Ting-ting Chang, a NTUA alumna, also assisted throughout the process.

According to Lin, “This visit would not have been possible without the full support of UCR’s dance department faculty, staff, and students, especially Professor Linda Tomko’s careful guidance. For example, Ruth Barnes, who is currently pursuing her MFA in dance at UCR and had taught dance technique in Taiwan briefly in the 1980s, let the dance students from NTUA join her advanced modern dance technique class the morning of their visit. Professor Anthea Kraut generously gave up part of her class time in Arts 100 studio for the showing. Even Kuang-yu Cheng, another graduate student from Taiwan in our PhD program in Dance also came to help with hosting our guests that day.”

The NTUA dance ensemble showcased two dance pieces in the performance, Leave by student choreographer Chou Shu-I, and Drop and Fall by Professor Yang Kuei-Chuan. Lin continued, “Thanks to the efficiency of the administrative staff in the Arts office with the design of the poster (by Mike Atienza) and the publicity of the event (by Kathy DeAtley), there was a big turn out, packing the studio with an enthusiastic audience during lunch hour.”

According to Lin many of the dance faculty and students supported the event by personally attending the showing during their busy schedule. Audiences were impressed with the dance techniques of the dancers, which consisted of NTUA’s undergraduate dance majors. While the NTUA group commented on the amazing studio space with a great view of the mountains and the wonderful reception they got from the UCR community at large.

“The whole experience was very rewarding. Hopefully, there can be more such international exchanges in the future,” Lin said. Lin hopes to continue researching and teaching in the exciting field of dance studies upon her graduation in the near future.

If you would like more information on the Department of Dance and the Dance History and Theory graduate program please visit its respective web-site at www.dance.ucr.edu

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