Chia-Ying Kao | Modern & Chinese Folk Dance

Artist’s Statement:

Chia-Ying Kao is a Taiwanese choreographer, teacher and performer based in Brooklyn since 2006. She received her MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College in 2012 and is the founder of Chia-Ying Kao
Dance. She has presented work and taught modern dance, Ballet, Jazz/K-Pop,Chinese folk dance, composition, and improvisation internationally. She continues exploring multiculturalism by collaborating with artists and her community.

Ms. Kao has collaborated and performed with Sara Rudner, Yvonne Rainer, Bill T. Jones, Paz Tanjuaquio, Asian-American Cultural Circle of Unity, Chinese Theatre Works, and Hou Ying Dance Theater. Her work has been commissioned by the American Dance Festival, Chen Dance Center, Topaz Arts, Asian American Cultural Circle of Unity, Triskelion Arts, Center for Performance Research, Broward College, Dixon Place, Roulette NYC, Tanzart – Zentrum für Tanz, Bewegung & Kunst in Germany and Hualien Cultural Arts in Taiwan.

As a choreographer, she aims to create imaginary worlds and put them on display for those on the outside looking in to be utterly captivated by. In these worlds, Ms. Kao creates tension from juxtaposing images of extreme realism and abstraction. These images deconstruct the human experience, dealing with issues of identity, power struggle, psychological trauma and the trials and tribulations of daily life. Though mostly abstract, these images utilize movement that is organic and conceptual in nature. Stylistically, a blending of dance forms from Asia with contemporary Western idioms is what informs her as a choreographer and performer.

Chia-Ying Kao at City Lore:

Creative Dance for Primary school students

Dionne Kamara focuses on conceptual based dance pedagogy. She works with teachers to adapt to the grade level and particular needs of the students. Dionne creates lessons that develop partnered and individual dance, literacy-based (books/rhymes), dance of different cultures, and multi-sensory experiences. Her “Brain Dance,” is a warm up exercise based on the neurological development that we go through in the first year of our lives as humans. Dionne uses a poster to illustrate the patterns of the dance to the class and uses every week session to dive into a particular theme or focus, such as gravity and balance or repetition. In the last session of the residency, teachers are encouraged to invite families, but it is meant to be like an open studio rather than a finished performance. 

What students and teachers say about Chia-Ying:

“The first thing I want to say is… THANK YOU! Thank you for teaching us how to dance.  It was great and awesome.  I hope you come back.”

“Dear Ms.Kao, thank you for teaching us how to dance.”

— 3rd grade students at Growing Up Green Charter School II in Jamaica, Queens