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Taiwan’s Cloud Gate Dance Theatre masters tai chi

USC Kaufman students expand their cultural mindsets by embodying balance, strength and focus

Channeling Tai Chi, Kaufman,
USC Kaufman freshman Satori Folkes-Stone perfects her technique in a Cloud Gate master class. (Photo/Rose Eichenbaum)

USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance BFA students were given the chance to learn new movements with Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan.

An exclusive master class, taught by Cloud Gate’s rehearsal director and senior dancer Chou Chang-ning, set the stage for the students to expand their cultural boundaries and explore alternative aesthetics on Jan. 26.

Cloud Gate’s distinctive aesthetic famously blurs the lines between meditation, martial arts and modern dance. During the class, Chang-ning introduced concepts of tai chi, inviting 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 student Austyn Rich. “I’d love to keep learning about this technique.”

Taking on a new challenge

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, Chang-ning surprised them and inspired their curiosity.

USC Kaufman’s BFA has really prepared us for being dancers who can move outside our comfort zones.

Beau Foley

“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.”

Channeling Tai Chi

Dylan Balka, in blue, is among the freshmen. (Photo/Rose Eichenbaum)

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

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

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