Kuan Jou CHOU
Dancer

Kuan received a grant to participate in the Camping project organized by the Centre National de la Danse. 

 

What is your artistic background?

I was born in Taiwan and started my dance education with a Chinese folk dance company at the age of five. I entered Taiwan’s dance training system in high school, where I began my ballet, modern, and improvisation development. During the period between high school and university, a rigorous and solid training introduced my body to unlimited possibilities. During university, I was inspired by Marina Abramović, which initiated my process of using the body as a bridge of connection between concept and mind. I started to question what ‘dance movement’ meant, which led me to seek answers from behavioral arts and theater. This is when I started my path of creative work. After graduation, I joined the Dance forum Taipei company, in which I discovered a love of technique and contact improvisation. Through these disciplines I started to study the relationship between people, and the power structures of people and society. My creation focuses on conceptual and behavioral elements, and in recent years I have centered on gender issues and research on touch treatment. Currently I work as a freelancer.   

 

How do you see your profession today?

In Taiwan, it’s very difficult for theatre artists to survive. Whether from the lack of audiences or government support and vision. Even if a performer is in a professional dance troupe, the majority need to work part-time jobs or teach at the same time to make ends meet. In Taiwan, it’s a prerequisite to work extremely hard and to be persistent to continue working in performing arts. So many performers choose to go abroad once reaching graduation, but for me staying in my hometown and trying to help improve the environment is extremely important. I feel that as professional performing artists, our job is connected with the mind. Work and daily life are inseparable, as we must have a high degree of self-discipline and self-awareness in life. At the same time, it’s crucial to not refuse any possibilities, to live and accept the present, and also to learn how to reject self-denial and remain humble in the world. With the progress of technology, everything is changing faster and faster, and the focus is always about what’s new, fast, and better. How to respect your own pace is something crucial for this generation. When creating, the constant reminder for myself is to exist as a ‘human’, as this is something I find extremely important.   

 

How do you see yourself in five years? In 10 years?

I have no idea where I’ll be in five to 10 years. I focus on where I am right now and continue to move forward. For me, that is the most important thing to have.

 

 

This interview was conducted in 2019

Photo credit: Amandine Besacier