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Dance, drama, tech, and art delegates travel to Manila for Cultural Convention


On March 1-3, dancers, actors, artists, musicians, and tech members of Taipei American School participated in the 2018 Interscholastic Association of Southeast Asian Schools Cultural Convention at the International School of Manila.


For this year’s IASAS Cultural Convention, the TAS dancers performed their self-choreographed piece, “Falling.” In this performance, the dancers explored the literal concepts and word plays of falling, such as tripping, falling leaves, falling snow, falling rain, falling asleep, falling in love, falling for life. They also expanded the choreography by creating movements based on the causes and consequences of falling, such as picking oneself up or catching each other after falling. The dancers used projections to enhance the movements they displayed and help the audience better understand the story progression. At Manila, after a performance, each dance team went through a Post-Performance Analysis, where the dancers sat down with professional guest artists to talk about their performance privately.

[Photo courtesy of IASAS CC ADDT 2018]
After the meeting with the professionals,  other teams got to engage with each performance during the Celebration, where student dancers were encouraged to give comments and ask questions. “My favorite part of Cultural Convention was seeing everybody share the same passion for performing and visual arts,” says Stephanie Wei (‘18), a dancer from TAS. “When Cultural Convention began, it already felt like everyone was a family because we all bonded through our specific art form.”
“It’s been a great two years of dancing, sliding, breaking, getting hit by rubber bands, squatting in slow motion, making fun of [TAS IASAS dancer] Jona Huang (‘18), and, of course, falling,” says Rachel Hsu (‘19), a dancer from TAS. To the “Falling” IASAS team, she says, “You guys make every practice and performance an opportunity to create more, learn more, trust more, and most importantly, love each other more. I’ll miss this team a lot.”


The TAS Drama team performed an adapted screenplay of the famous John Steinbeck novel “Of Mice and Men” at the Cultural Convention in Manila. “Even though there was no official ranking, all the other directors said that we were the best drama performance,” says Benjamin Kao (‘19), who played George Milton. A performance from another IASAS school Benjamin thought was worth mentioning was the Singapore American School team’s performance, in which the actors improvised and engaged with their audience by asking for ideas and props for their performance.

[Photo courtesy of IASAS CC ADDT 2018]
Even though TAS drama team’s performance was a success, the actors still experienced struggles while acting. Since the ISM theater consisted two floors, it was harder for the actors to project their voices. Also, despite their numerous rehearsals, the actors still felt very nervous while on stage. “But everyone in the cast agreed that the one we performed at ISM was our best run yet,” says Benjamin.


While the actors and dancers were performing on stage, Hannah Smith (‘19) and Juliana Aung (‘18), representing TAS as tech members, were busy operating the control booth that directed the stage organization and lighting of the performances. During times when they were off duty, the tech members spent the majority of their time meeting and socializing with tech representatives from other schools. The tech members also had the opportunity to participate in tech-specific workshops organized by ISM. However, according to Hannah, the tech workshops was not her favorite part of Cultural Convention: “ISM brought in a renowned lighting designer of several Filipino television shows who attempted to teach us the basics of different types of light boards and lamps, but it was largely ineffective because we found that we knew a lot of the information already.”


In Manila, all the art delegates from IASAS schools had the opportunity to participate in intense three to four-hour workshops with visiting artists. They also had a chance to engage with local art by going to the Art Fair Philippines, which was an international show of Philippine artworks, including a myriad of works from prestigious artists.
“The most exciting part for Cultural Convention Art is the ability to learn from your peers and the chance to understand the value in appreciating different types of art,” says Vivian Kuo (‘19), an art delegate from TAS. “There was a huge dynamic between the artworks produced, and it taught me to have confidence and believe in my art.”
This year, the TAS art delegates moved away from the traditional forms of art and produced non-conventional artworks. They played with ideas and explored the boundaries of what art is and what defines art. For example, Vivian produced a sculpture of a tiger with scaffolding made by balsa wood around it. Her artwork was to convey how human development is interfering with nature.

[Photo courtesy of IASAS CC ADDT 2018]
“The spirit of Cultural Convention is to appreciate and exchange the different values of art. It is really just a wonderful community to support artists,” says Vivian.

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