Ding Wei Guo – workshop assistant / translator for the workshops at Zuoying Senior High School.
You are a 2nd year student at TNUA where you study dance full time. We were introduced after a rehearsal of ‘Rite of Spring’ by Xiao-Xiong Zhang and you took me to one of the night markets in Taipei to help me buy clothes because my luggage had not yet arrived from Australia. We had dinner together and got talking about all sorts of things.
Had you had much experience in translation before this?
No actually…is a totally new experience for me to be a translator…hahahaha. It also helped me improve my English very very very much because I have to translate really quickly….it’s just like a computer in my mind from English from the ear and Chinese from the mouth. I do have a lot of fun with it being a translator. Even when I’m just so exhausted…it’s a whole different language system. It was so difficult and so different.
You have been working as my workshop assistant and translator now for the past 5 days in Southern Taiwan. What has that experience been like for you?
In the workshops we were investigating how to create movement and investigate movement vocabulary so I can use this experience in my whole life. Because it came to my mind naturally. I do have some experience to have a class when I was in senior high school and in a dance company called Juejing Dance Company, but that was in Chinese, but now I can do this in Chinese and English.
The level of the groups work, I noticed that the students are so young so they can’t always catch exactly the meaning very quickly or correctly, and the high level students are older so they can catch my mind very quickly. To me I can feel more easier to tell them what they should do more easily than the younger dancers.
How do you think the students at Zuoying High School have responded to my workshops?
Well when they enter the studio they also can show their personality because they move to the steps by their own investigation, so that can tell me about their personality. It also represents their personality so they’re moving to the steps. If they are feeling a bit awkward that will reflect in their movement but if they feel confident it shows in their steps.
I think probably they have a passion to investigate their own personality and they also have the passion of a dancing or just being observed or just standing on stage. They also have a passion to search unknown places in their body and also their mind because they were so interested so they have the power to do lots of things in the workshop. A lot of the dancers want you to come back because they love to do your classes and they want to perform for you. It’s a new experience for them – especially the younger age.
We worked with 3 different level of dancers so they had a different background. Level 3 can catch up your mind and direction very quickly and today’s class were not so quick because they are still so young.
Did you personally learn or gain anything from this new experience? What have been some of the highlights?
The highlights were the falling part and giving them more directions when they are investigating movement. And the moving from A to B.
I was invited to stay with your family in Chiayi for the weekend in between giving workshops at Zuoying High School and I felt like I was treated very much part of the family. What was it like to have a foreigner as a guest in your home town?
It was a new experience for my whole family. It was the first time to have a guest especially a foreign man from Australia. So I believe my parents had fun with you…Professor Philip. They took you to popular tourist places, saw aboriginals and had fresh seafood. Yeah it was a new experience for everyone in my home town to see the sunset and also have a look at the farm.
Do you think you would like to work as a translator for other English speaking foreigners visiting Taiwan?
Yes because I can improve my English very quickly and I had soooo much fun hahahaha. So if anyone wants to contact me…also my parents want to practice their English without me being a translator for them. Because my mum told you that she was young and had to give me to my grandparents so she could work…I wasn’t there for that conversation. I also want to practice my English with the correct accent. English accents are so sexy….yeah really hahahahaha.