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Kua Bo Dance Theatre

  • Date:2024-03-11
Kua Bo Dance Theatre

Chinese Name: 看嘸舞蹈劇場

Established: 2013 

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Did You Know That…?

Kua Bo Dance Theatre adopted its name “Kua Bo (看嘸),” which means “cannot understand” in Taiwanese Hokkien, as the phrase reflects most Taiwanese people’s perception of modern dance.


Originating from Minxiong Township (民雄鄉) in Chiayi County (嘉義縣), Kua Bo Dance Theatre began as the modern dance troupe of National Chung Cheng University in 2006. In 2011, under the leadership of Su Pin-wen (蘇品文), the troupe’s artistic director who is also a freelance dancer, it transitioned beyond campus boundaries. They delved into environmental theater and garnered invitations to perform at prestigious events like the Taipei Fringe Festival. Eventually, they became an integral part of the Chiayi Performing Arts Center (PAC). In July 2017, Kua Bo Dance Theatre was formally established, solidifying its position as a resident team within PAC. 


Emphasizing creativity in modern dance and highlighting the value of humanity, Kua Bo Dance Theatre explores different possibilities of physical performance. The theater offers a rich array of activities, ranging from art administration training, team management, and community engagement programs to dance education workshops and international exchange initiatives. Firmly rooted in Chiayi, it is dedicated to nurturing young dancers and choreographers, drawing upon a membership representing various backgrounds, which often sparks creative synergy from the diversity of life experiences.


Members of Kua Bo Dance Theatre prioritize training in dance techniques followed by choreography, further amplifying their collective creativity through community engagement and educational initiatives. Their works frequently address land issues in Chiayi, reflecting a commitment to popularizing dance and making it accessible to people from all walks of life. As an art organization, they advocate for integrating art into everyday life and aspire to promote Chiayi’s local art and culture as well as cultural equality. As a younger generation of artists, they seek to not only elevate the status of young dancers and artists in Chiayi but also inject new vitality into Taiwan’s performing arts scene, drawing inspiration from the cultural richness of Chiayi.


Supported by the Ministry of Culture, the Chiayi County Government commissioned the Kua Bo Dance Theatre to organize the “A Dance A Day (廟口晚風)” dance camp in 2018, putting their belief that dance is accessible to everyone into action. Held during the summer in temples throughout the Chiayi area, the camp, which spans four days, teaches modern dance to the public and concludes in a collective performance on the final night. With the motif of “dancing every day,” this initiative is a part of the government’s art education program, aimed at fostering a vibrant dance culture in schools and communities. By bringing modern dance into traditional temple spaces, “A Dance A Day” has bridged the gap between the general public and dance culture, making dance a seamless part of everyday life.


In 2019, in an effort to promote cultural and artistic equality, the Kua Bo Dance Theatre presented the dance production “Pun Ke-kui” (吹雞歸, meaning “boasting” in Taiwanese Hokkien). This inclusive event featured participation from students hailing from Taiwan and Japan, alongside elements of temple festivities and public celebrations, highlighting the distinctive cultural identity of Taiwan and Chiayi. The production aimed to challenge the notion that only professional dancers are suited for performance art. The theatre’s artistic director Su Pin-wen emphasized that individuals from any background, including those lacking formal dance training, were welcome to participate. Additionally, she noted that Japanese students learned basic Taiwanese Hokkien during the process, fostering a deeper appreciation for Chiayi’s natural and relaxed ambiance.


In 2023, the theater partnered with the Spanish dance platform, Certamen Coreográfico de Madrid, to host the international dance exchange program, “Dance South (舞蹈南方).” Taking place at the Chiayi Performing Arts Center from December 16 to 24, the event featured a diverse array of art and cultural activities, including free dance courses, physical theater workshops, theatrical performances, and outdoor parties. The program remains dedicated to exploring themes related to the Global South and body issues, aiming to broaden artistic horizons and foster international connections through resident exchange experiences.