Dance on the Edge, Part II: Ting-Ting Chang, Third Year Ph.D. Student, on the Impact of the Dance History and Theory Program on Her Graduate Career

By Kathryn Webber, Graduate Student Editor of CHASS College Computing

Ting-Ting ChangIn keeping with the Dance Department’s philosophy of uniting theory and practice, Ting-Ting Chang, a third-year Ph.D. student, has played a variety of roles in her graduate career. In addition to developing her own research interests, she has also served as a teaching assistant and as a Gluck Fellow.

As a teaching assistant, Ting-Ting has taught both Chinese dance and Modern dance techniques. Her teaching experiences have enabled her to inspire her students, even those who were not dance majors. In fact, students who have taken her courses for extra-academic purposes like exercise sometimes felt compelled by her teaching to continue learning about dance.

Ting-Ting has also had the opportunity to flex her teaching skills in her role as a Gluck Fellow. In this program, designed to enable faculty and students of the Arts to bring their talents to the larger community, Ting-Ting sought to create a cross-cultural dialogue through her production, "When East Meets West: a Contemporary Chinese Folk Dance Performance.” By combining Western and Eastern dance elements, Ting-Ting hoped to educate students about Chinese dance and culture.

Ting-Ting’s interest in Chinese culture has also carried through to her own research. Her dissertation will focus on contemporary Chinese Dance development in Chinese-speaking areas like China , Hong Kong , Taiwan and even Southern California . Ting-Ting feels that this project will demonstrate “how Chinese people everywhere have carried their heritage differently” as well as examining dance as a key component of Chinese culture and identity in a global context.

The Dance Department at UCR has contributed greatly to Ting-Ting’s graduate career. She credits the entire faculty for their patience and support. In particular, she credits her dissertation chair, Professor Jacqueline Shea Murphy, with helping her to “stay on the right track” as well as Prof. Susan Rose whose insights have continually inspired her.

Ting-Ting regards the Dance History and Theory Ph.D. Program as an exciting one that “allows students to take advantage of the outstanding faculty. . .[and] to study the many theories and approaches to dance as an academic discipline.” Thus Ting-Ting feels that the Dance Department has opened up a “whole world” to its students, a world “beyond the moments, the lights, and the stage.”

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