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Intersecting Worlds: The Chinese Individual and Modern Dance

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This project explores the relationship between modern dance and Chinese individual identity from a personal perspective. Modern dance emerged from the West, carrying Western philosophies of individual identity and importance,

This project explores the relationship between modern dance and Chinese individual identity from a personal perspective. Modern dance emerged from the West, carrying Western philosophies of individual identity and importance, where the composition of persons defines the group. The Chinese philosophy of the individual, however, has developed in a different context where the group defines the persons that constitute it. There is an interesting negotiation of meaning in the convergence of these two perceptions within the art of modern dance in China. A review of literature was conducted on modern dance in China, as well as the formation and development of individual identity in Chinese philosophy and culture. Over the summer of 2013, the author then conducted ethnographic research while attending the Beijing Dance Festival in Beijing, China. Reflections on the research and experiences were further explored through the creation of a dance piece and then compiled in this paper. Primary findings include that there are differences in understandings of time, space, and the use of technology that influence the practice of modern dance in China. Also, though the concept of self-expression is closely tied to Chinese ideas of modern dance, what is seen onstage raises the question of whose self is being expressed. The interaction of Eastern and Western understandings creates a dissonance of meaning.

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Date Created
  • 2013-12