Choreographer Liu Feng-shueh (劉鳳學), credited with many groundbreaking achievements in the world of dance, passed away on May 17 at the age of 98. Culture Minister Shih Che conveyed his heartfelt condolences and stated that Liu devoted herself to the promotion and advancement of dance, making her the living symbol of contemporary dance in Taiwan. Ministry of Culture will propose awarding a presidential citation posthumously in recognition of her achievements.
Minister Shih also mentioned that her works blended classical and contemporary elements, making significant contributions to various aspects such as dance creation, the reconstruction of Tang Music and Dance, Confucian culture and dance, as well as indigenous dance. As a nationally recognized dance creator, Liu exemplified the ideal of respecting tradition while incorporating modernity into her own practice, thus becoming a role model for future generations.
Born in 1925, Liu began learning classical ballet at a young age. Starting in 1950, she dedicated herself to the study of Taiwanese indigenous dance and culture. In 1965, she traveled to Japan and joined the Bureau of Music of the Japanese Imperial Household Agency, devoting herself to the study of Tang dynasty music and dance there, with an aim to trace the source of oriental dance. She founded the "Neo-Classic Dance Company (新古典舞團)" in Taipei in 1976 and systematically organized performances, teachings, research, and promotional efforts. Over a hundred dance pieces were digitally recorded and preserved, cementing her position as a trailblazer in the field of dance in Taiwan.
Liu received several prestigious awards throughout her lifetime, including the Folk Arts Heritage Award (民族藝術薪傳獎) in 1987; the Special Contribution Award of the National Awards of Art (國家文藝獎) in 1991. In 1997, she was selected as the recipient of the National Culture and Arts Foundation's National Award for Arts for dance performance (國家文藝獎─舞蹈類), and went on to receive the Arts Education Contribution Award - Lifetime Achievement Award (藝術教育貢獻獎─終身成就獎) in 2014. She was further recognized in 2016 with the Order of Brilliant Star with Grand Cordon (二等景星勳章). In 2021, she received the 40th National Cultural Award (行政院文化獎), the highest cultural honor in the country. Liu's exceptional achievements solidified her status as a renowned master in the field of dance.
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