Taiwan: Background and Influences

Documentary Caption
From Director Su Che-hsien

So my friend Cina, who I fangirl about ML with, is officially going to Germany for Urban Dance Camp this summer!  I’m so jealous – she’s meeting some of our favorite choreographers from ML, learning from the best of the best in the dance world, and traveling to a foreign country by herself for the first time ever, all in one trip.  I told her she has to attach a video camera next to her face wherever she goes so we can gawk about it when she returns.  I’m a little okay with the fact that I won’t be joining her, because I’m sacrificing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the one I’ll be starting in 12 days. :D  But only a little.

The first time I heard about the CAPEC scholarship was last summer during my study abroad trip in China.  My friend Kristine and I were discussing various travel abroad opportunities in East Asia offered by Mason, and having participated in this program last winter she suggested I look into it.  Since all the planning, research, and itinerary is initiated by the individual, I felt that this project would be perfect for my international business career because I would be forced to practice my Chinese and find resources on my own.

When I returned to Mason last fall, I wasted no time in researching more about this program.  I was fortunate to have taken my Honors 230: Cross-Cultural Perspectives course with Professor Paden, one of the panelists, so I knew about the details right when they were released.  Wonderful professor by the way, take him if you haven’t yet!

When I first applied, I barely had any idea of what I wanted to research about.  All I knew was that I wanted more experience abroad in the East Asian area and to study independently on a business-related topic.  Ever since I was little, dance was one of my biggest commitments outside of school, but I personally saw it as a hobby and never considered it to be a realistic career.  Then, last winter break or a little before that, I thought, since I spend so much time in UK 101 and swing, why not try to combine it with my business degree?  It was magic.

At the beginning of 2011 I had the vague idea of researching dance and business, but I wasn’t sure of where I wanted to take it for my Taiwan proposal.  First, I wanted to learn the origins of Taiwanese aboriginal dancing and how it has influenced the current Taiwan modern dance industry.  I thought the history behind aboriginal dancing was interesting, but one of the articles mentioned how hip hop and breakdancing have also become popular in Taiwan, which triggered my inner hip-hop-fandom.

As attractive as I found learning about the influences of modern dancing, I caught myself watching videos of street dancing and hip hop competitions on Youtube more than any other dance related resources.  Since I grew up with modern and ballet, I hold these styles close to my heart; but one of the reasons I leaned towards the street side was because UK 101 is such a big part of my current life, and I want to know what hip hop is like on the other side of the world.  Whenever a UK member choreographs or freestyles to something new, I become truly inspired, and I sometimes wonder where they find their own inspiration.  So I thought, well why not analyze how hip hop and street dance is marketed in Taiwan?  It’s simply perfect.  I would use my knowledge in marketing to research the technical side of my topic while connecting with my creative side for dance.

There were also many other influences in deciding exactly what my topic would be.  Thanks to my dad, GMU Swing Dance Club, Maryam, Manny, Jay, Brydin, and Movement Lifestyle.  All of you helped me through the thinking process.  A grateful hug to you from me.

Next up, I’ll be writing about my plans on how to conduct my research.  I will be contacting most of my sources when I arrive in Taiwan, but I’m still planning logistics beforehand so that I’m prepared.  Ahh, it’s so surreal that I’ll be heading out in less than two weeks!


Thoughts? Please share!

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