Skip to main content

Bare Feet Dance Theater

  • Date:2024-05-29
Bare Feet Dance Theater

Chinese Name: 壞鞋子舞蹈劇場

Establishment: 2012

Founder: Lin I-chin (林宜瑾)

Facebook page:


Did You Know That…?

The name of Bare Feet Dance Theater was inspired by American dancer and choreographer Angela Isadora Duncan, who was a pioneer of modern contemporary dance in the early 20th century. She staged barefoot performances, breaking away from the rigidity of traditional ballet. Despite facing harsh criticism from the public in that conservative era, she brought a new philosophy of dance focused on body liberation, enriching the future dance landscape.



Established by dancer Lin I-chin in 2012, Bare Feet Dance Theater bases its creations on Taiwan’s traditional culture, ceremonial rituals, native languages, customs, culinary culture, and social characteristics. Through artist residency programs, field research, and art education, the dance troupe deeply explores the connection between the body and the earth to rediscover the bond between human beings and land.


Born in 1983 in Xiluo Township (西螺鎮) of Yunlin County (雲林縣), the troupe’s leader Lin I-chin graduated from the School of Dance at Taipei National University of the Arts. Attempting to seek human body dynamics and trace the body’s cultural origin, Lin develops the cultural body system with her long-term project called “The Body Homecoming (ㄢˋ─身體回家創作計畫).” With the mindset of a contemporary creator, she recreated body movements with traditional rhythms, generating unique modern art language and energy of Asian bodies.


In collaboration with the Taiwanese indie band The Village Armed Youth Band (農村武裝青年), Bare Feet Dance Theater debuted in 2014 in Taipei with its work “The Story of Soil (泥土的故事),” inspired by Taiwan’s cultural traits and people’s characters. This theatrical production has toured in many places across the country, including New Taipei City, Changhua County, Yunlin County, Chiayi County, Tainan City, and Taitung County. Taiwanese operatic music dominates the background music for “The Story of Soil” especially with the sound of the representative Chinese instrument suona, which opens up the first part of the dance piece. Dancing along with the traditional tune, dancers express their deep emotions for cultural roots and self-identity with their body movement flow. “The Story of Soil” was performed at the square in front of Taipei Confucius Temple (臺北孔子廟) with performers dancing barefoot on the floor. Lin I-chin, the troupe’s leader, said that this kind of performance that returns to the essence of culture and nature is Bare Feet Dance Theater’s principle.


Li I-chin said that, as a millennial artist with physicality nurtured by Taiwan’s culture, she has been looking for more inspiration from her hometown instead of overseas territories. Through identification with her homeland, Lin found back her confidence and sense of mission. She is committed to creating more works for Bare Feet Dance Theater based on the extension of “The Story of Soil,” exploring the issues of Taiwan’s new immigrants and indigenous cultures.


The troupe’s other representative work “Tsiàh Thóo (吃土, literally meaning Eating Soil)” delves into how people, as they are faced with global climate change, air pollution, virus mutation, energy overconsumption, deal with a series of environmental problems and try to open up a dialogue between the humankind and nature.


Through dance, Bare Feet Dance Theater reflects on the relationship between people and land. “Tsiàh Thóo” presents a plague-repelling ritual, exploring the connection between human beings and nature, allowing audiences to experience the spiritual energy of animism from land, and seeking more possibilities to achieve environmental sustainability. This dance piece features, along with traditional beiguan musicians, electronic musician Li Tzi-mei (李慈湄) and percussionist Hsueh Yung-chih (薛詠之), mixing different musical genres to break creative boundaries.



(Photo credit: Chen Yu-chung)