Crossing Boundaries: Master Class with Taiwan’s Cloud Gate

January 28, 2016

USC Kaufman Students in Master Class

USC Kaufman BFA freshman Dylan Balka and classmates in Cloud Gate master class | Photo by Rose Eichenbaum

USC Kaufman’s BFA students were given the chance to learn new movements with the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan on Jan. 26. An exclusive master class, taught by rehearsal director and senior dancer Chou Chang-ning, set the stage for the students to expand their cultural boundaries and explore alternative aesthetics.

Cloud Gate introduced concepts of tai chi and invited students to embody structure, balance, strength and focus.

“It’s great to see how they transform cultural elements such as tai chi and meditation into an art form,” said BFA student Austyn Rich. “I’d love to keep learning about this technique.”

Nervous laughter was proof that the students’ mindsets were being challenged to try a different approach. With references to martial arts and a conversation focused on energy, Ms. Chang-ning surprised them and inspired their curiosity.

“I think USC Kaufman’s BFA has really prepared us for being dancers who can move outside our comfort zones,” said student Beau Foley. “We are now able to face something new and to implement everything they’re giving us.” 

Photos by Rose Eichenbaum

Dance partners

The master class with Cloud Gate is part of the partnership between Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance at The Music Center and USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. By inviting world-class artists to participate in the curriculum, this partnership continues to strengthen the school’s leadership in the field of dance through cutting-edge collaboration with international dance artists.

The master class was also made possible by funding from Los Angeles Philanthropic Committee for the Arts (LAPCA), which supports USC Kaufman’s mission of forming cross-cultural dance leaders and reinforces Los Angeles as an important international center for dance.

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan’s distinctive aesthetic famously blurs the lines between meditation, martial arts and modern dance. The company will perform the acclaimed dance work, “Rice,” at The Music Center Jan. 29 -31. in conjunction with the USC Visions and Voices season.

By Natalia Sanchez