Since March 9th, I have been in Xizhou with 15 other students to study a topic of our choice for 28 days. My topic for this trip is dance and movement, and I chose this topic because I am a dancer, and I have always wanted to learn about other dances.
In general, I found people who are currently dancers or were former dancers and has experience with the Bai Dances, including Ms. Duan, who now own a yarn shop at the market, and Ms. Yang, who currently is a dancer here at Xizhou.
I chose these type of sources because I knew I can get the most accurate information about the dances, and what the dancers thought about the dances.
There were many questions I wanted to answer, but the questions I wanted to have answers to were about the clothing, the actual dances, and the dancer's daily lives.
In order for me to show my journey of learning Dance, one might consider the time before Xizhou, during Xizhou, and after Xizhou.
Sharing My Learning:
I have created a video to show my learning throughout the 28 days I have spent learning in Xizhou. Watch the video above or click here.
There were a large number of things that I took away the inquiry project experience was that backup plans are a must, and I had to plan accordingly. Also, staying in touch with other people is really important, because my backup plans may not work either.
My topic moved from dance and movement to only dance. I was originally focusing mostly on dance, but I wanted to incorporate movement into my project as well. When I arrived in Xizhou and started doing field research, I felt like I was not receiving enough information on dance, so I decided to focus on dance.
I think the most difficult part of my research was to gather more information than the information that people have already told me because I kept collecting repeats of the same information.
The major “a-ha” moment was when I first started having conversations with people, I realized that I did not have to ask a lot of follow up questions to allow them to talk more because they would just elaborate and answer the questions very thoroughly.
This project helped me understand the topic better by letting me experience bai dance from a first-person perspective and heard about people talk about how their life changed after dancing was introduced to them.
This project allowed me to interact with dancers around Xizhou and other villages such as Sha Cun and allowed me to interact with people working in a variety of jobs. In Shanghai, I would not just walk up to random strangers and ask them for information about dance, but here, it feels much safer, so I can gather my information without feeling awkward.
I understood myself better as a person by seeing how I work in certain conditions, and what my strengths and weaknesses are. The field research helped me learn that talking to strangers is not that scary, and it actually interesting in some situations.
This project helped me understand myself as a learner by allowing me to discover what things I am good at and what parts I can improve on. I realized that I am much more of a listening learner because just my watching the dances I could not get a basic idea of the dances even though I am a dancer.
If I can go back in time to the beginning of this project, I would give myself the advice to brainstorm and come up with more questions that are a larger variety of questions, so I could have gathered more information.
If I were to continue this research project, I would probably learn to dance Ba Wang Bian or Ba Jiao Gu, so I can experience it myself, and gather more information. The other Microcampus students can build off the work I have done by generating more specific questions.
I would like to thank everyone who helped me with this project, including Ms. Duan, Ms. Yang, Ms. Li, and many others for providing information about dance. Also, Ms. Wang, Mr. Yang, Ms. B, Ms. Mai, and Mr. T for being alongside me during the research process and the process.
This Project has been with me for over four months now, and it has taught me plenty of things. My thoughts and midset has changed completly, and I learned plenty about myself too. I learned much more about myself and others here in Xizhou than I could have in Shanghai. I am prouud to call my self a Microcampus student, and be a future alumnus of Microcampus.