Tsai Jui-Yueh (1921–2005) By Ya-Ping, Chen
Tsai Jui-Yueh was a concert dance pioneer in Taiwan. Born under Japanese colonial rule of the island (1895–1945), Tsai was one of the first Taiwanese to study modern dance (sometimes called ‘‘creative dance’’ at the time) in Japan, first with Ishii Baku and then with his student Ishii Midori. After returning to Taiwan in 1946, Tsai established one of the first dance schools on the island and became an active dance teacher, performer, and choreographer in the postwar era. Though she was mainly trained in modern dance, Tsai taught and created ballet, modern dance, and min-zu wu-dao, the Chinese national dance form inaugurated by the KMT government (Kuomintang, the Chinese Nationalist Party) in the early 1950s, during her half-century long career. In 1983, she immigrated to Australia with her son Lei Ta-Pung and continued teaching dance until the late 1980s. Tsai’s career as a performer, choreographer, and dance teacher witnessed two important eras in Taiwan’s modern history: first, the era of colonial modernity under the Japanese regime, in which individual fulfillment brought about by ideas of modernity was interwoven with the oppressive colonial power structure; second, the period of ideological control under martial law (1949–1987), in which she suffered from political persecution, being imprisoned from 1949 to 1952, and thereafter lived and worked under the surveillance of the KMT authorities for many years.