SOAS University of London

Centre of Taiwan Studies

Rhetoric of Power and Aesthetic of Resistance: Contemporary Indigenous Dance and Music Theatre in Taiwan

Dr Chi-Fang Chao

Date: 6 November 2019Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 6 November 2019Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: KLT

Type of Event: Talk


The presentation will discuss the innovation and challenge provoked by the contemporary indigenous theatre of dance and music, as the reflection to the ‘neo-nativism’ in Taiwan. Viewing theatre as the social action underpinning the larger movement of revitalization, the speaker will firstly summarize the change of approaches and styles of theatrical productions, parallel with the vibrant post-colonial social process that embraced both the indigenous and non-indigenous peoples during 1990s and 2010s.

Chifang Chao Tao Dance

The presentation will then focus on two theatrical works produced by the Formosa Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe (FASDT, founded in 1991)—Pu’ing: Search for the Atayal Route (2013) and Ma’ataw: the Floating Island (2016)—to highlight the formal and symbolic dimensions of tribal culture and indigenous identity, in which the multi-layers of narratives are rich but complicated. Seeing from an ‘insider’s point of view’, the speaker/producer will then explore themes including representation and aesthetic of resistance, which contribute to manifestation of contested powers on and off the stage.


Speaker Biography

Chifang Chao

Dr. Chi-Fang CHAO is a senior lecturer in the Dept. of Dance, University of Roehampton London. She has been trained in Anthropology (BA, MA, National Taiwan University) and Dance Studies (Ph.D., University of Surrey). Her research interests include the anthropological study of ritual and dance, dance ethnography in Okinawa, and reflexive/post-colonial dance theatre of indigenous peoples in Taiwan. Her articles are published in Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore, Taiwan Journal of Anthropology, Journal of Archaeology and Anthropology etc. She is the author of the monograph Dancing Culture: ethnography of Taketomi Isle in Okinawan (in Chinese, 2010). Between 2000 and 2016, she was a board member of the Foundation of Formosan Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe (FASDT), by which she was invited to curate the 1st and 2nd Global Festival of Indigenous Peoples Music and Dance in 2011 and 2014. She then cooperated with FASDT in producing two works of contemporary indigenous peoples’ dance and music theatre, Pu’ing: Search for the Atayal Route (2013) and Ma’ataw: The Floating Island (2016), both committed by the Council of Indigenous People and premiered in the National Theatre in Taiwan.

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Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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