Liao Shuyi: The Flowing Body Landscape — Body as A Way to Listen, Communicate and Interact

The 20th Artist-in-Residence Liao Shuyi 2020.11.10-11.19

The Flowing Body Landscape — Body as A Way to Listen, Communicate and Interact


Activities Review



2020.11.10 Welcome Show

Contact Improvisation Performance: The Flowing Body

On November 10, 2020, the 20th Artist-in-Residence Ms. Liao Shuyi and the supporting guest Mr. Ni Yunfeng gave a Contact Improvisation performance "The Flowing Body". They danced with their bare feet. Though the performance was improvised, it showed an expression full of interest, charm and harmony. The two artists communicated with the students about Contact Improvisation after the performance. Ms. Liao explained that the ideal state of Contact Improvisation performance is the simultaneous generation of actions of all the participants.

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2020.11.11 Lecture: Body Creation or Art Movement?

Mentioning about the emerging of Contact Improvisation, Ms. Liao said it broke the gender and ethnic identity of the era at that time and the boundary of dance, and redefined the meaning of dance. Contact Improvisation must be done by two people, enforcing participants to communicate in body language. It doesn't require foundations. Participants just need to get immersed in the current scene and have a dialogue with partners. This enables people to rethink their relationships with others and the meaning of art. The emerging of art may be a method other than words with which people can listen to each other and establish a wonderful relationship.

Art is rich in expression as well as thinking and also embodies a high social value. Ms. Liao started a series of thought-provoking projects and public welfare progarmmes related to Contact Improvisation, such as Caring for Autistic Children, Challenge to the Mediator of Traditional Dating, etc. As the saying goes, art imitates life and will return to life.

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2020.11.12 Body Workshop I: Everybody Can Dance

In Body Workshop I, Ms. Liao firstly guided students to lie on the ground in the most comfortable manner, constantly changing gestures, and feel the relationship between the body and the ground. Then all the participants were in pairs and communicated with gravity instead of words. The two people felt the physical state of each other, interacted, and danced together. Finally, all the participants walked around the site. Everyone communicated with each other hands in hands in the same shared space, creating the joint connection.

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2020.11.13 Body Workshop II: Explore the Body Landscape

At the beginning of Body Workshop II, each participant introduced themselves and described their current state. After that, participants did the eye closing practice and tried to interact with and chase another person freely under the guidance of Ms. Liao. In this process, everyone gradually opened their mind, perceived themselves and accepted others through the contact and communication of body and mind.

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2020.11.14 Body Workshop III: Body Art From Walking

In Body Workshop III, participants made more attempts. Ms. Liao firstly moved the motions of the floor to the side of the wall, which made some parts of the body connected to the wall and helped participants explore more gestures and possibilities. After that, Ms. Liao encouraged everyone to try the practice of falling down while walking. Two people kept in step with each other and could suddenly remove the hand on the other person's hand, and slide to the ground. In the couple dance reviewing section, Ms. Liao guided participants to do the lift, making the core of one person completely relied on the gravity line of the lifting by the other one. At the end, each four people stayed in one circle and Ms. Liao led everyone to dispatch the space. They could walk, run, or move freely. Everyone got immersed in different spaces, switching from one self to another self, integrating into the diversified world, and exploring all the possibilities of themselves and the surrounding environment.

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2020.11.17 A Dialogue Between Artists: The Body Landscape

Ms. Liao and Ms. Tie Yang gave a dialogue on the evening of November 17, 2020 in Student Centre 301. With the sound of Kora, a musical instrument played by Ms. Tie Yann, Ms. Liao firstly guided the participants to cooperate with another person and feel the body language of each other. After that, the two artists explained how to express music with body and encouraged every participant to share their personal feelings. One shared that trusting others in such a short time was a wonderful and rare experience. He hoped that people could spend time listening and trusting others to bring back the long-lost sense of safety and the nitty gritties of life, and return to the easiest and most comfortable state.

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07 Rest in Rest

2020.11.19 Performance: Rest in Rest 

After the 16-hour rehearsal in 4 days, Ms. Liao and Ms. Tie Yann led 8 students to create an experimental performance following a flowing route from the side of the Administration Building to the lawn area in front of the University Library. The 8 students also shared their experience about the 20th Artist-in-Residence Programme.

Click here and watch the full performance.

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About the Artist


Liao Shuyi, "Contact Improvisation" Dancer, Theatre Director, Performer and "Beijing Contact Improvisation" (BJCI) / "Touch Contact Improvisation Art Festival" Co-founder. Over the past 10 years, her experience of Contact Improvisation has been applied in performances, performer training, theatre directing, and community communication. Since 2019, as the Co-founder and the Artistic Director of Urban Body Nomadic Project, she has been co-creating and performing with people from different communities. 

As a theatre director, her main works include "Still Here" (premiered at Beijing Fringe Festival 2017), "MissUnderstanding" (premiered at Beijing Fringe Festival 2018). As a theatre performer, her main works include Theatre de la Feuille "Orphan 2.0" (premiered at Beijing Fringe Festival 2014 and was later performed at Wuzhen Theatre Festival, San Francisco International Arts Festival, etc.).


About Contact Improvisation

Contact Improvisation originated in the United States in the early 1970s. It is both a type of free dance and a flowing conversation through physical contact. Steve Paxton, the Founder of Contact Improvisation, got inspiration from Tai Chi and Aikido in the East, integrated modern dance, and then developed this endless transformation, circulation, and body practice that everyone can dance.

Contact Improvisation is also named "Sport Dance", emphasizing the use of movements in daily life and pure physical performance. This kind of dialogue about body mechanics that occurs between movement and flow is the most vivid encounter between humans and each other. We are improvising - not just physical interaction, but also co-creation. This form of practice spreads to the world in the way of body teaching, bringing beautiful value to different fields such as performing arts, community building, and physical/mental healing.



University Arts Centre 


To bring students closer to culture and art

To make the "DREAM" come true