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date: 21 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This study rethinks the concept of improvisation from a Daoist perspective of qi-energy, focusing on improvisation emerging from qi in a performative field. It aims to fill the gap resulting from cultural differences between current concepts of improvisation inherited from American and European dance contexts, and the author’s specific cultural position. This essay reviews various ways of improvisation that have developed in American and European dance contexts and improvisation practices in Taiwan that have mixed Chinese, Japanese, American, and European cultures. To rethink improvisation from her own cultural thinking, the author investigates the Chinese literal meaning of ‘improvisation’ (即興, ji-xing), that is, ‘instant emergence’, in terms of Daoist qi. Through a practice-as-research process, the essay also explores how an improvisational work is meanwhile a process of practising the self and the meaning of ‘performative’ from a Daoist perspective.

Keywords: improvisation, qi-energy, Daoism, emergence, practising the self, performative, practice-as-research

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