Yu Hsiang Chen
Finding the intersection of movement and emotions
For our readers who don’t know you, who is Yu Hsiang?
My name is Yu Hsiang Chen, and I’m a dancer and an artist from Taiwan. Most people call me teacher Yu Hsiang.
Dance is your way of expression, what is your process?
When I dance, I don’t intentionally add feelings because my choreographies are already the extension of my inner emotions. When I interpret a dance, I would focus more on the beauty of body extension and challenge every limit that may not be ergonomic for the human body. Cognitive processing can trigger emotional responses, and I truly believe people who watch my choreography would feel the inner expression that I am trying to convey through my body.
What kind of a relationship do you have with dancing, in particular dancing in heels?
I see dance as varying expressions of my other-self. Sometimes dancing makes me feel like a magician, where my heels serve as a medium for the magic trick. When I dance in heels, it becomes a part of my body. Instead of simply changing to another pair of shoes to dance, the dancer and the heels become one entity--that is what makes heel dance so fascinating.
What I really enjoyed is the stiletto dance and your confidence. What is going through your mind during each choreography?
I actually think about dance moves from the attraction of sex, because sex is the source of vitality, and so is dance. The high heels dance style I like is elegant, but at the same time there is a fatal attraction, so when choreographing, I think about what kind of body expression can convey such emotions
What is your perception of gender in dance?
For me, dance is non-binary. To a certain degree, men wearing high heels provide an element of surprise because it is often unexpected. However, the contrasts and androgynous aesthetic make the dance even more attractive.
Our second issue of Timid, centers around the theme of Metamorphosis. How do you define metamorphosis?
You are the sum of the different experiences life has thrown your way. From my own experience, it takes time to "transform." It took me a long time and through deep dormancy to accumulate the type of energy through my profession that shaped who I am today.
What are you most passionate about this year?
Looking back, I would have never imagined becoming who I am today. Over the past year, I dedicated most of my time solely to dance. This year, I’m trying to keep that momentum and focus on my passion for dancing and teaching.
My main goal is to do the best at what I love without thinking too much about the outcome. Of course, sometimes I also think of other avenues of expression--for example, I also like to sing. So who knows, maybe one day I will suddenly become a singer. [laughs]