The Travels of a Dancing Thesis: An Introduction

Waiting to board my delayed flight home from Cleveland, where I enjoyed a relaxing visit with my sister, I am ambitiously attempting to postpone my anticipatory anxiety and excitement of the fully-loaded two-months that await me. In only four days I will once again be scrunched in tight quarters with a myriad of cranky travelers, this time though, waiting to board a set of flights to Taipei, Taiwan. There, I will be spending the remainder of my Colorado College career.

Since I received my first passport in the mail last May, just a few days before my life-changing trip to the Kingdom of Tonga, I have fallen in love with the wonder of traveling. I cannot believe that for the second time in less than a year, I am looking the trip of my dreams straight in the eye (not to mention the fact that it is again fully supported by scholarships and grants from CC).

At this point I have a schedule in place and it seems as though I will have to write-in time to breathe between the numerous projects to be completed. Our home-base, the Taipei Artists Village, is where Rosey (a recent CC graduate), Dolo (a current sophomore) and I will be living and working as part of an International Artist-in-Residency program. In collaboration with the Hsin-Lu Foundation, we will be teaching therapeutic movement techniques to mentally disabled adults as part of the Dance and Disable Project. Additionally, our trio will be producing and performing for various audiences and venues around Taiwan. In the later half of the trip, I will be participating in a CC class titled “Chinese Meditative Arts,” which is an abroad block taught in Taipei by my advisor Yunyu Wang. Overarching all of this, I will be completing my senior thesis, exploring the cultural dissimilarities and relationships between Asian collectivism and western individualism from the lens of modern dance.

Naturally, the fact that I know very little of what to expect makes me nervous. Although I have a relatively detailed schedule, I have been repeatedly warned to avoid attaching to plans as they are likely to change in unpredictable ways. Seeing as though I have never been to Asia nor do I speak the language perhaps exacerbates my uncertainties— mystifying even the most seemingly simple tasks and accounting for the already plentiful amount of useful information that is lost in translation.

What is so extraordinary about this trip though is that I am going not as a tourist, nor as solely a student or as a worker, but instead as some inimitable hybrid of them all. I am going not only to teach, to create, to perform and to observe dance; but to explore passions, interests and possibilities that extend far past the conventional labels of “travel”… “dance” or …“thesis.” I am going to work both independently and collaboratively; to grow both intellectually and personally; and to solidify and expand upon the foundation that my quintessential liberal arts education has erected. My hope is that within this complex web of responsibilities and experiences, I will be able to live within and learn about a culture so far from my own in a very unique way.

All-in-all, I have a lot of demanding and exciting work on my hands, to say it mildly, and although I know I am a soon-to-be college graduate, I cannot conceal my youthful zeal, as I know that my nerves, excitement and gratitude can be sensed from a mile away. From now until my return on May 7th, I will be blogging as often as possible in order to document and share my experiences with anyone interested in reading and/or joining in the conversion.

More to come… next time from an ocean and a half-a-day away 🙂

4 thoughts on “The Travels of a Dancing Thesis: An Introduction

  1. Holly Kurzmann

    Madison,
    It makes my heart soar to read your words. I remember a time in my life when the travel “bug” entered my system. It’s never left me and I know it will never leave you. You’ve experienced the incomparable feeling of immersing yourself in the culture of others. I’m so very proud of you for sharing your talents and your warmth with so many around the world. I look forward to reading about (and living vicariously through) your adventures for the next couple of months. Love you dearly, Aunt Holl

  2. Thue

    My Sweet Niece;

    Love your writing! Wishing you a wonderful experience in Taiwan. Love you. Aunt Sue

  3. Breann

    Madison!
    I miss you so much! I loved reading your blog, I know this trip is going to be life changing for you. Dance Workshop is over and done, although it never really felt complete without you! I will let you know when I post the video to youtube. Hope your adventure is going well- breann

  4. Virginia Rider (a.k.a. fav roomate ever)

    You are such a gorgeous writer. I am pumped for the rest of this blog it reads so well and what you are doing sounds interesting and not to mention amazing. I didn’t realize you were doing an artist-in-residence living situation. That’s great. Can’t wait to hear more. And see some pictures!
    Please tell Rosey etc. hello for me!

    Miss you. Big Hug.

    -Ginny

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