Taiwan Blog Entry

Marlee Grant
Marlee Grant, BA 18
July 12, 2017

We landed in Taiwan around 6:30 pm on June 30, incredibly jetlagged but eager to embark on our long-awaited adventure. When presented with the opportunity to go to Taipei due to a collaboration between the Elliott School and the Department of Theatre & Dance, Hana and I could not say no. It seemed like - and most certainly proved to be - a fascinating, tangible coalescing of our two areas of study: International Affairs and Dance.

Over the course of the week, we had the chance to attend several performances and art exhibitions hosted at the Taipei National University of the Arts for the annual World Stage Design Festival. The performances and exhibits covered a wide range within the performing arts, from performance art to dance to experimental theater. The artists came from all over the world, too; Japan, Korea, the UK, Lithuania are just a few examples. We were also lucky enough to have the chance to dance with I-Fen Tung, a Taiwanese choreographer who will come, along with a few of her dancers, to Washington DC in the fall to complete the exchange. Hana and I got to explore movement styles that were new and challenging, expanding both our creative and physical abilities. We also took master classes with dancers from world-renowned companies such as Bill T. Jones and Wayne McGregor.

When we weren’t attending performances, exploring exhibits, taking dance classes, or rehearsing with I-Fen, Hana, Giselle, and I had just enough time to get to know Taipei. Luckily Hana speaks some Mandarin, the most commonly spoken language in Taiwan, so she got to practice her language skills while also helping us navigate our way around the city. The locals were all incredibly kind and eager to help, fortunately. This made exploring the city a smooth, easy experience for all of us.

These 8 days will be an adventure I shall never forget. I am grateful to both the Department of Theater & Dance and the Elliott School for providing me with this invaluable opportunity to take my studies of International Affairs and Dance and put them into practice in such an exciting way. I gained so much from the experience and for the sake of future students I hope that this program will continue in the coming years.