It is with great sadness that the Performing Arts Department notes the passing of Ting-Ting Chang on January 30, 2019. Ting-Ting was a Mellon-supported postdoctoral fellow in Dance at Washington University from 2008-2010, and returned multiple times to share her brilliant choreography and work with our students. Most recently she was here last September, when we hosted her company for a performance of her work, Persistence of Memory.
Ting-Ting was beloved by everyone who had the good fortune to meet her or work with her in our department. And we know that WashU was a very special place for her.
I can still recall when my wife Patty and I saw her work Falling Petals for the first time in 2008. The dazzling beauty and mesmerizing subtlety of her choreography remain part of our lives to this day, never to be forgotten. Her work is a reminder of an unquenchable voice which has left us all far too soon.
~ Henry I. Schvey
When sending the news to Mary-Jean Cowell, Professor Emerita, Ting-Ting’s husband, Vincent Liao wrote, “Thank you Mary-Jean and the WashU family for taking her in and always treating her as one of your own, even long after she left. It remained her happiest memories every time she got a chance to go back.”
Ting-Ting lived so broadly—creatively and intellectually as well as geographically. I am grateful that so many experienced her joy, grace and generosity. Her distinctive artistry which included the extraordinary visual richness of her choreography, and warm commitment to teaching, reflected intense engagement with life, intellectual curiosity, and humor. Surely many will remember her, as I do, with love and great respect.
~ Mary-Jean Cowell
Ting-Ting Chang was a Taiwanese modern dancer, choreographer, teacher, and the Artistic Director of T.T.C. Dance, which she established in Taipei, Taiwan in 2012. She was best known for her “Cabinet Trilogy” of Cabinet Anthropomorphique, Persistence of Memory, and Boundaries of Reality, but her other works, such as Falling Petals and Déjà vu, also garnered international recognition. She was a two-time winner of the Choreography Festival at McCallum Theatre, and a Silver Award winner of China’s 8th Lotus Cup. She was an international choreographer in residence with the American Dance Festival, and was also a key member of ADF in Henan, China. Most recently in 2018, her company performed signature works in Houston, St. Louis, Shanghai, and Taipei, while also participated in the 2018 Festival d'Avignon Off in France. In addition, the company also performed in Circulo de Bellas Artes in Spain, Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theatre in the US, World Stage Design-Scenofest Festival, the Silk Road International Arts Festival and the Guangdong Dance Festival in China, the Kuala Lumpur International Arts Festival in Malaysia, among others.
Chang received her PhD in Dance from University of California Riverside, a MFA from University of California, Irvine, and a BA from UCLA. She followed her PhD studies with an Andrew Mellon Post-doctoral Fellow in dance at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research focused on contemporary dance in Asia and cross-cultural performance, and her interests included post colonialism, diaspora study and globalization. After moving back to Taiwan in 2010, she began teaching at National Taiwan University of Arts, her alma mater, as well as Chinese Culture University and University of Taipei.
Apart from her choreography works and academic research, she also established a reputation for identifying and bringing emerging young artists from around the world to present their works in Taipei, sometimes along with veteran
performers. The biennial Dance Round Table was her brainchild, and had just completed its third iteration in early 2018. Over the years, it had brought together such renowned artists as Hou Ying, Cheng-Chieh Yu, Katsura Kan, Aris and Esteban, Casebolt and Smith, Garazi Etxaburu, Jaiotz Osa, Jesse Zaritt, Pamela Pietro, Jennifer Mok, and Hung-Chung Lai, among others.
She was to us in Dance a loved colleague, and an admired artist. And for those of us who witnessed how beloved she was by her students and everyone who danced her work, it is more painful to know what a loss this is for them as well. I am so grateful we got to see her one more time, to see her artwork, and our students got one more chance to dance her choreography. Ting-Ting was a truly radiant, joyful and generous person who inspired everyone she touched.
~ David Marchant
Ting-Ting has long been a part of the Performing Arts Department family she will be greatly missed, but never forgotten.
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