Choreographer Tsai Jui-Yueh
Editior／Felicity Fei-Hsien Chiu
A note on Tsai Jui-Yueh
Tsai Jui-Yueh (1921~2005), born in Tainan , was a dancer, choreographer, innovator and revolutionary. Her life and career have shown her to be a true internationalist and renaissance woman of dance.
During WWII, Tsai went to Japan to study dance with Ishii Baku and Ishii Midori. Under the aegis of these two pioneers, Tsai was exposed to the ideas of German expressionist dancer, Mary Wigman, and to a form of dancing known as Eurhythmy, derived from the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Tsai danced in over a thousand shows with Baku and Midori’s company in Japan , China and Indochina , assimilating, at the same time, the dances of these regions.
In January 1947 Tsai’s institute presented the Taipei Dance Season, accompanied by the prestigious Taiwan Orchestra. The orchestra’s manager, Lei Shi-Yu, was strongly attracted to Tsai and her public success, and therefore proposed to her.
However, in mid-1949 Tsai and Lei became caught up in the civil strife, “The White Terror.” The Kuomintang (KMT) government expelled Lei and all his fellow staff members from National Taiwan University . Tsai was later arrested by KMT authorities and held at a concentration camp on Green Island . Under less than ideal circumstances, Tsai continued to teach and produce dance dramas in both Taiwanese and Chinese modern dance styles. Astutely enough, Tsai often cast the chief prison officer in the lead role. After three years, Tsai was released and once again began teaching and choreographing in Taipei.
Lei Shi-Yu had been working a professor of Chinese and Western literature at the University of Jingu in Tianjin City , China , from 1951. The political climate of the time made any kind of communication between Tsai and her husband Lei impossible. In 1983, Tsai and her son, Roc, resolved to immigrate to Australian from where they could communicate with Lei and be free from the constraints imposed by the KMT regime in Taiwan . The couple was finally reunited in China in 1994.
Tsai returned to Taiwan in 2001 and continued to develop her dance career, in both Taiwan and Australia . She died in Australia in 2005. Her student Ondine（蕭渥廷） Shiau took over the foundation and has helped to keep dance alive in Taiwan.
A note on Rose Monument－－Tsai Jui-Yueh Dance Foundation
Rose Monument , designed and produced by Deh Tzu-Tsai, premiered on March 29, 2008 , in memory of Taiwan ’s pioneer dancer, Tsai Jui-Yueh and her contribution to modern dance.
Photo courtesy of Tsai Jui-Yueh Dance Foundation