Taipei to NYC with Chingi Chang
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
Taiwanese International Dancer from NYC and Shanghai Sleep No More
Photo credit : Erica Maclean
Taiwanese Dancer, ChingI Chang, International Career between NYC, Taipei, and Shanghai
Her credits include opening cast of Sleep No More, NYC, performer as well as Rehearsal Director for the opening of Sleep No More in Shanghai, China.
In this interview, we have a glimpse into the unique mindset of an international dance and film artist who carved a niche in the Post-Modern dance world. Her persona transcends the expected and disrupts assumptions of what 21st dance artists are all about.
ChingI Chang has chosen to settle in America's cultural and art making capitol, NYC. She has taught, performed, spoke, and created films across the United States and Asia. Her depth of experience is extensive. Her website provides a glimpse into her professional life and this interview introduces you to her temperament.
Ching I Chang in her own words
I started dancing when I was in my mom’s belly. After university, I was offered my first job. However, before that I took every performance and teaching opportunity professionally.
I went to every audition when I first moved to NYC because I was curious about how people and the city functioned. I received so many rejections at the beginning, but good things came out of the failures.
As time went on, I became friends with some of the people who I kept running into during auditions and became more familiar with my own sense of belongings. I tried to accept every job offer at first. Reason one is I really had no choice.
I was an immigrant and needed to build up my resume’ experiences. The process of applying for Artist Visa (O-1 visa) in the States, required tons of professional experience to gain the visa.
Another reason I accepted a wide variety of paid and unpaid work is, I wanted to put myself into many different scenarios so that I can get to know myself more- of how I transformed and flowed in different settings.
Photo credit: Mecham
Every single dance work was my dream even when sometimes the work is not challenging. I let the experience inform my growth.
If you cast your mind back, was there any point when you thought you might not make it as a dancer?
One vivid break-out moment was during performing my thesis work where I was channeling my Taiwanese ancestors’ spirit and trauma. My sense of existence and art-making entirely changed after that making and performing experience.
After that channeling ancestry time, I saw my role as an artist differently. I carry not only a responsibility to myself but a lineage of family’s blood, sweat, tears, and history; as well as what it means to be a Taiwanese female artist.
CC: If I decide to do one thing, I have to do it to the best capacity that I can with my whole heart and soul; or else, why do it.
Photo credit: Travis Magee
I knew that I wanted to perform since senior in high school. I went to an extremely strict performing arts high school where we had to train, perform, and tour. I made up my mind during those years that I needed to dedicate myself to the performing arts.
I appreciate how, in these times, there is more awareness on social justice and critical race works. There are options and abundance of choices that dancers can encounter nowadays. There are always opportunities, but what is the one where your heart belongs and calls home.
To understand humanity a little, is necessary.
And what would you say has been the high point of your career so far?
CC: To understand the concept of empathy as a human being.
On the flip side, can you tell us about at least one MAJOR set back in your early career?
CC: I have the ability to see things as encouragement and I can’t quite recall major set back.
Using just 3 words, describe the life of a professional dancer:
CC: Ocean, transformation, and love.
Nice. What’s the one thing you are most proud of?
CC: Nothing in particular.
What is important in our Industry?
CC: People always need to dance, we were born that way.
Out of all the things you've seen and dancers you've known, are there any secrets to making it? Be honest. We can keep a secret.
CC: The practice of self-love is important.
Connect with ChingI Chang at her website: www.chingichangbigelow.com
Follow @birdinthworld on Instagram
Thanks for Reading!