Welcome to the Dai Ailian Foundation Website.
Dai Ailian Foundation (DAF) is a non-profit company, incorporated on July 26, 2011 in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, with non-profit status currently being applied for. The Foundation currently has 3 Directors.
DAF was formed to honour Dai Ailian, an international dance icon, distinguished principal dancer, teacher, choreographer, dance company artistic director, researcher, labanotator, lecturer and demonstrator who was born in Couva, Trinidad in 1916.
* Closing date for applications: Tuesday 25th June 2013
Trinidad, West Indies
Born in Trinidad, West Indies, of Cantonese parents on May 10, 1916. Educated at St. Hilary’s High School in Port of Spain, Trinidad.
At the age of 5, Dai Ailian learned ballet from her third-removed cousin, Sylvia Chen (Chen Xilan), who had studied in London, England. From 8 years old, Dai Ailian studied ballet from the English teach, Nell Walton.
As a student of Sylvia Chen, Dai Ailian performed in her version of the musical ‘Bluebells in Fairyland’ and performed in all the performances of Nell Walton’s School.
In 1927 when Nell Walton left Trinidad, for lack of ballet teachers, at the request of the parent’s of Dai Ailian’s classmates, to teach; at 11 years old she became a ballet teacher for 2 years.
From 7 to 14 years old, Dai Ailian studied piano and music theory, passing Intermediate Grade of The Trinity College of Music from visiting examiners from London. Later on, she continued in London attending the classes of the famous piano teach George Woodhouse and lessons from his assistant teacher, Miss Elizabeth Mason.
Dai Ailian lived in England from 1931 to 1940 at the age of 14 to 23. She studied ballet with Sir Anton Dolin and she was one of his six privileged students. He only taught 3 days a week. She also studied with Margaret Craske, former assistant to the great master Enrico Ceccetti, and Dame Marie Rambert.
In the mid 1930s, Dai Ailian took classes from the Mary Wigman Dance Group, dancer and student Leslie Borrows-Goosens and later joined the Ernst and Lotte Berk Modern Dance Group as solo dancer.
Kurt Jooss, of the famous Ballet Jooss, gave Dai Ail a scholarship to the 1939 Summer School at the Jooss-Leeder School of Dance at Dartington Hall, Devon. She was granted a further scholarship to continue as a regular student in the school. World War II interrupted her studies and near the ending of December the same year left Dartington, her dream of entering the Ballet Jooss was shattered.
In the 1932 and 1933 seasons of the spectacular epic-operetta ‘Hiawatha’, Dai Ailian was one of the little ‘Indians’ prancing around the Royal Albert Hall.
At the beginning of television in London, Dai Ailian choreographed and performed several times her solo dances for the BBC as well as for the China Campaign Committee who was raising funds for the Anti-Japanese War.
In 1940, Dai Ailian performed in the joint solo concert with singer Shi, Yi-qui for Mme. Sun Yat Sen’s China Defense League raising funds for the war against Japan.
PIONEER OF DANCE ART IN CHINA
In 1946 in Chongqing, Sichuan, the wartime capital, for the first time a full programme of Chinese dances was staged in the performance ‘Borderlands Music and Dance’ which started Chinese Fold Dance as an Art Form.
During 1950 to 1955, Dai Ailian was the Director of the first professional ‘Dance Company’ of the Central Drama Academy which is now ‘The Central Folk Song and Dance Ensemble’, Beijing.
In 1954 in Beijing, the first professional dance school called Being Dance School started 6-year courses in the (Western) Classical Ballet and Chinese Classical and Folk Dance. Madam Dai was the director from 1954 to 1964.
While still Director in 1956 at the Beijing Dance School and in charge of the ‘Asian Dance Section’, the ‘Eastern Song and Dance Ensemble’ was developed.
In 1963 the first professional ballet company ‘The Central Ballet of China’ was inaugurated (now named The National Ballet of China). Dai Ailian was a Director till 1966.
In 1983 Dai Ailian was the Chairman of ‘The Labanotation Society’ under the Chinese Dancers’ Association was inaugurated.
The late 1980s began popularization of the Ethnic Minorities Traditional Village Community dances ‘Dance for All’, the result of fieldwork in the mountains.
AS A PERFORMER
- Solo excerpts from ‘Les Sylphides’
Prelude. Waltz. Taught by Lydia Sokolova, London, 1933
- ‘Alarippu’ (Bharata Natya)
Taught by Nirmala Visvamathan in Madras, India, December 29, 1954
- ‘Radhika Fetching Water (Jal Bharane) Solo Katak Dance
Choreographed by Dai Ailian for Brijmohan Maharaj in New Delhi, January 1954
- ‘Dance of Sri Radhika Describing (Lord) Krishna’. Solo Manipuri Dance, choreographed by Dai Ailian by Narendra Kumar Sigha at the Sangeet Bharti Chali Dance School in New Delhi, January 25, 1954
- ‘Mandalay Flower’ popular folk Burmese dance which is performed on the Water Festival. Dai Ailian learnt this dance as a solo in Mandalay in February 1995 and later arranged it as a group dance
- Javanese Classical (Solo) dance
- ‘Partisan’, ballet solo dance choreographed by Dai Ailian for Jiang Zhu-hui in 1964
- In 1954 and 1955 was the Artistic Director and dancer in a performing tour of India, Burma and Indonesia with the Chinese Cultural Delegation
Port of Spain, Trinidad, West Indies
1928 ‘Happy Feet’, Tap Dance (Solo)
1929 ‘Easter Egg’, Ballet Dance (Solo)
1932 ‘Flower Girl’ in ‘The Persian Market (Solo)
1934 ‘Beggar’, Chinese Dance (Solo)
1935 The Ballet section of the Opera ‘The Queen’s Lace Handkerchief’ (Strauss) for an amateur opera company (Principal Dancer)
1935 ‘March’, Chinese Dance (Solo)
1936 ‘Weeping Willows’, Chinese Dance (Solo)
‘The Concubine Beauty Dances for the Emperor (Solo)
1939 ‘Alarm’, Chinese Dance (Solo)
1940 ‘Ruth the Gleaner’, Biblical Dance (Solo) and ‘East River’ (of Guangdong), Chinese Dance (Solo)
1941 ‘Longing for Home’, Chinese neo-classical dance (Solo)
1942 ‘Sale’, Chinese contemporary dance (Short Ballet)
1943 ‘Moon of the Miaos’, Chinese Dance (Pas de Deux)
‘Dance of Youth’, Ughuir folk Dance (Solo) (Duet) (Quartet)
‘Air Raid’, Chinese Dance (Short Ballet)
‘Dream’, Modern Dance (Pas de Deux)
‘Guerrilla Coup (Short Ballet)
1944 ‘Yao Ceremonial Dance’, Chinese Dance (Solo) (Trio)
‘The Mute and the Cripple’, Chinese Classical Dance (Solo), and from 1950 changed the character of the ‘Cripple’ to a young child and after called ‘Grand-father Piggybacks his Grand-daughter’, (Lao Bei Xiao)
‘Auntie Zhu Presents Eggs’ (to the Army), Yang-ge Dance (Short Ballet)
‘Mme. Kan Ba Han’, Ughuir Folk Dance (Pas de Deux)
1946 ‘Happy Cocks’, Kanba Tibetan Folk Dance (Group)
‘Tibetan Spring’, Kanba Tibetan Folk Dance (Group)
‘Laughing Buddha’, after Lama Dance of Tibetans (Sketch)
‘Lolo Love Song’ (Group Dance)
1941-6 Many performances in Guilin, Guizhou, Chengdu and Chongqing
1946 In August, gave 4 solo performances in Yi Yuan, Shanghai
1949 ‘Victory of the Chinese People’, took part in the collective choreography of this panorama
1950 ‘Construction of the Motherland’, Yang-ge
‘Doves of Peace’, neo-classical Ballet (Principal Dancer)
1953 ‘Lotus Dance’, neo-classical Chinese Dance (Group)
1955 ‘Flying Apasaras’ (Flying Celestials), neo-classical Chinese Dance (Pas de Deux)
1961 ‘Heroic Little Eight-Routers’, short Chinese Ballet for children
1976 ‘Women Oil Drillers’, modern Chinese sketch for the Dance Group at Victory Oil Fields, Shandong Province
1942-1943 Chongqing, Sichuan – Dance teacher at the National Opera School
1943-1944 Chongqing, Sichuan – Dance teacher at the National Institute of Social Education
1944-1947 Chongqing, Sichuan – Teach and Head of the Dance Section of Yu Cai School
1947-1948 Shanghai – Teacher and Principal of the Music and Dance Academy
1948-1949 Beijing – Professor of Dance at the Peiping Art Academy and Peiping Teachers College
1949-1950 Head of the Dance Section of the Third Department (Arts Department) of the North China University
1950-1955 Head of the Dance Company of the Central Drama Academy for 1 year, then split up and became Central Folk Song and Dance Ensemble
1954-1964 Principal of the Beijing Dance School (now Beijing Dance Academy)
1956-1958 In charge of the Asian Dance (India, Balinese and Burmese) at the Beijing Dance School
1963-1966 Artistic Director of Central Ballet of China
1976 Artistic Advisor of Central Ballet of China
Besides teaching ballet in China, Dai Ailian was also a guest teacher at the Washington Ballet Washington, D.C, USA, and The Ballet of the Grand Theatre of Fenice (Venice), Italy.
- Wang Cai-jun (Central Ballet of China in Beijing) and his partner Wang Qi-feng (of Shanghai Ballet) for the first Paris International Ballet Concours, winning the special prize for the Paris Open
- Yang Xin-hua and his partner Xin-Lili of the Shanghai Ballet at the second New York International Ballet Competition, winning 3rd Prize. At the third Tokyo Asian-Pacific International Ballet Concours got the Gold. At the same Concours, Cai Li-jun of Shanghai got a 2nd Prize and Li Yen, then a student of the Beijing Dance Academy, won a 3rd Prize for Juniors
- Repetiteur of the Artistic Staff in the summer of 1986 for the ballet ‘Don Quichotte’ with the Paris Opera Ballet performances at Palais Garnier, Paris Opera Theatre, the Chinese Principle Dancers of the Central Ballet of China, Guo Pei-hui and Shao Ming-hua performing the principle roles
JUROR OF COMPETITIONS
Chairman of the Jury
First and Second all-China Ballet Competitions, Beijing and Kumming, Yunnan
- Second Paris International Ballet Competition
- Second and Third New York International Ballet Competitions
- Second Jackson, Mississippi, USA, International Ballet Competition
- Third Asian and Pacific Ballet Competition, Tokyo, Japan
- International Ballet Choreography Competition ‘Against Violence’, Turino, Italy
First All-China Competition, Dalian, North China
Chairman of the Jury
1995 First Shanghai International Ballet Competition
- Folk Dance Competition of 1953 Bucharest ‘International Youth Festival’
- Folk Dance Competition of 1957 Moscow ‘International Youth Festival’
1949-1954 President, China Dancers Association
1954-1984 Vice President, China Dancers Association
1984- Honorary President, China Dancers Association
1980-1981 Executive Member of Conseil International de la Dance (CIDD), UNESCO (NGO), Paris
1981-1985 Vice President, CIDD, UNESCO, Paris
1982- President of China National Committee, CIDD
Chairman, China Labanotation Society within China Dancers Association
Chairman – China Ballet Society, within China Dancers Association
1979- Member of the International Council of Kinetographie Laban/Labanotation, UK/USA
1991- Board Member of Folk Arts World Presidents of International Organisation for Folk Arts IOV, UNESCO, Austria
Searching for the roots of Chinese dance in remote mountains in southwest China among the ethnic minorities, Dai Ailian discovered that these peoples were still dancing dances handed down through generations, which can be traced to thousands of years. Quite a number are now notated in Labanotation.
In the middle 1980s, Dai Ailian started ’Dance for All’ Movement to popularize at home and abroad the community traditional folk dances for the minority nationalities.
LECTURER ON CHINESE DANCE HISTORY, BALLET IN CHINA, LABANOTATION, ETC.
- Lecture/demonstrations on Chinese Dance history
- UNESCO Building, Paris
- Royal Academy of Dance, London
- Royal Ballet (Senior) School, London
- Many libraries and schools in London and the University of Hull, North-east England
- Several times at the London Festival Hall, South Bank
- ‘The Friends of Covent Garden’ Royal Opera House
- ‘The Friends of the Royal Ballet’
- The London Ballet Circle
- California, USA, in 1993
- The University of California, Berkeley
- The Los Angeles California University (UCLA)
- The Asian Museum in San Francisco, CA
- The California Art Institute
- The first World Dance Congress in San Francisco organized by the World Dance Alliance
- 1993 in Taiwan, Taibei, Taizhong, Tainan, Gao Xiong
- In 1946 at La Meri’s Studio, New York
- The Laban Centre in London:
- Lecture with lantern slides
- Lecture/demonstration with illustrations
- Workshop of Chinese traditional and ancient folk dances
- Teaching and promotion of labanotation in China
- The Foreign Language University in Beijing
- Several times for The Beijing International Society (BIS)
- The Dance Museum, Stockholm
- The State Dance School, Stockholm
- The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts
1950 Model worker as Principal Dance and Choreographer for the ballet ‘Dover of Peace’, Beijing
1951 3rd Prize for Choreographer ‘Tibetan Spring’ at the International Youth Festival, Berlin
1953 2nd Prize for Choreographer ‘Lotus Dance’ at the International Youth Festival, Bucharest
1955 3rd Prize for ‘Flying Apasaras’ at the International Youth Festival, Warsaw
1955 Winner of the 20th Century Choreographic Masterpieces ‘Lotus Dance’ and ‘Flying Apasaras’, China
- Patron to the Dance Notation Institute of the Surrey University in Guilford, Surrey, England
- Patron to the Language of Dance Centre, London, England
- 1st Grade Artist in China
- Honorary Member of Beijing International Society (BIS), an organization of the diplomatic corps in Beijing
- Honorary Associate Member of the Federation of Writers and Artists Union
- Fellow of the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts (HKAPA)
- Member of the International Council of Kinetography Laba/Laban Notation
- Member of the Ceccetti Society and Ceccetti International, London
- Artistic Director of the London based Chinese Cultural Centre
- Author – ‘Chinese Dance’ Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe 99 CD. Set: X03-73822)
- A sculptured bust of Dai Ailian made in 1939 by Willi Soukop, RA, is in the London Royal Academy of Dancing and another is in the Dance Museum in Stockholm
Dai Ailian died in Beijing on February 9, 2006, at age 90.
About the Beijing Dance Academy
Located in Haidian District, with the picturesque Zizhu Park (Purple Bamboo Park) just across the street, Beijing Dance Academy is the top institution of higher dance education in China. Established as Beijing Dance School in 1954, it was developed into Beijing Dance Academy with the approval of the Ministry of Culture in 1978. It was authorized to grant Master’s degree in Dance Studies and Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA) in 1999 and 2005 respectively. The Academy now has faculty members and staff of over 580 and a student body of over 2000, including about 1200 undergraduates and 150 postgraduates.
BDA offers a wide range of academic programs in Performance, Choreography, Dance Studies, Artistic Design for Theatre, Film & TV and Public Administration, with 18 concentrations at undergraduate level and 36 concentrations at postgraduate level. The Academy consists of 9 departments, including departments of Chinese Classical Dance, Chinese National and Folk Dance, Ballet, Choreography, Dance Studies, Social Dance, Musical Theatre, Art Communication and Art Design. Other major sections include Division of Postgraduate Programs, Division of Common Courses, Division of Music, College of Continuing Education, Dance Education and Management Center for Grading Examinations, the Youth Dance Company and the Secondary Dance School attached to the Academy, which is one of the key specialized secondary schools in China.
BDA takes pride in its highly qualified professional teaching team and academic excellence. It offers a variety of dances with abundant teaching materials. Since its inception, the Academy has accomplished extraordinary achievements in such areas as teaching, research and artistic practice. It has cultivated a great number of excellent dancers, dance teachers, choreographers and talents in dance history and theory, making remarkable contributions to the promotion and communication of dance culture as well as the rejuvenation and development of dance education. As the forerunner of dance education in China, the Academy has been playing the leading role in the development of China’s dance education.
BDA started to recruit overseas students in 1955. To date, it has provided postgraduate, undergraduate education and professional training for students from countries such as Vietnam, the Republic of Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Japan, Czech Republic, Myanmar, New Zealand, USA, France, Germany, Canada, Singapore, Algeria, the Philippines, Poland, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brazil.
In the course of its development, BDA has always been dedicating to international cooperation and exchange. It has established connections and partnerships with related institutes and professional organizations in countries like USA, Canada, France, UK, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Austria, Portugal, Russia, Czech Republic, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand. Dance companies and delegations of the Academy have visited dozens of countries in the world, frequently conducting cultural exchange activities at both governmental and non-governmental levels. Due to its extensive international cultural exchange and outstanding achievements in many other aspects, BDA now enjoys worldwide reputation as a prestigious dance academy.
The Academy offers courses in Performance, Choreography, Dance Studies, Artistic Design for Theatre, Film & TV and Public Administration.
1. Master’s Degree Programs
Dance Studies, Chinese Classical Dance, Chinese National and Folk Dance, Ballet, Choreography and International Ballroom Dance
2. Undergraduate Programs
Performance: Ballet Performance, Ballet Performance & Education, Chinese Classical Dance Performance, Chinese Classical Dance Performance & Education, Chinese National & Folk Dance performance, Chinese National & Folk Dance Performance & Education, International Ballroom Dance, Musical Theater, Fashion Show
Choreography: Chinese Dance, Modern Dance, Video Dance
Dance Studies: Dance History & Theory, Arts Education
Artistic Design for Theatre, Film & TV: Costume Design, Artistic Design for Stage
Public Administration: Cross-Cultural Communication and Administration
Note: For more and updated details, please refer to the Academy’s recruitment plans of the year.
MAJOR FACILITIES AND STUDENT SERVICES
The Academy has a beautiful campus with a variety of facilities, including 56 dance studios, a well-equipped theater and a library with the most comprehensive collection of books, magazines and audio/video recordings concerning dance in China. The Overseas Student Building integrates both teaching and accommodation functions, in which there are 42 standard rooms with air conditioner, telephone, TV set, desks, chairs, private bath room and 24-hour hot water supply. In addition, the Academy has four dinning halls and a clinic with physiotherapy treatment facilities.
Foreign Affairs Office
Beijing Dance Academy
Add: No.1, Wanshousi Lu, Haidian District, Beijing, China
Zip Code: 100081
Tel: +86-10-68935859; 68935695
About the Foundation
Dai Ailian Foundation (DAF) is a non-profit company, incorporated on July 26, 2011 in the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, with non-profit status currently being applied for. The Foundation currently has 3 Directors.
DAF is being formed to honour Dai Ailian, an international dance icon, distinguished principal dancer, teacher, choreographer, dance company artistic director, researcher, labanotator, lecturer and demonstrator who was born in Couva, Trinidad in 1916.
DAF is proud to be in partnership with the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Beijing Dance Academy (BDA), Beijing, the People’s Republic of China, to achieve its stated objects, namely:
- To grant scholarships to persons to pursue studies in the performing arts, including without limitation dance, music and drama, at academies or schools in the People’s Republic of China;
- To organise and/or facilitate cultural exchange visits between persons of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and citizens of the People’s Republic of China;
- To solicit donations and/or engage in fundraising activities, including without limitation facilitating, organizing and staging public fundraising performances, for the grant of scholarships to persons for the purpose stated in sub-paragraph (i) above, for the realisation of cultural exchanges visits referred to in sub-paragraph (ii) above and to defray the costs associated with the day to day management of the Company;
- To co-ordinate the evaluation by persons appointed by the Company of persons, who have applied for or are interested in obtaining scholarships referred to in sub-paragraph (i) above, for the purpose of their qualification to obtain scholarships to pursue studies in the performing arts, including without limitation the examination of credentials of candidates for scholarships and the interviewing of candidates;
- To fund the education of awardees of scholarships from the Company to pursue studies in the performing arts at academies or schools in the People’s Republic of China to the extent as determined by the Company;
- To employ staff or contractors for the purpose of day to day running of the Company, solicitation of funds, assessment of candidates, organisation of cultural exchange visits, management and decision-making;
- To own property for the purpose of running the affairs of the Company;
- To disseminate information on Chinese language and culture and education and training in the performing arts in the People’s Republic of China; and
- To do all such lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the business of the Company.
In addition, it has been agreed that DAF will be the sole company appointed by the BDA to arrange and organise all education and cultural promotion joint venture activities in the Trinidad and Tobago on their behalf. The shared aims and objectives of the BDA and The Foundation are as follows:
- Develop new academic initiatives aimed at expanding knowledge and skills focused on Chinese dance, performance, language and culture among universities and external communities, including Government agencies, public and private schools, community organizations and industries, especially those developing educational and business partnerships in China;
- Promote community engagement and outreach initiatives, focusing on dance education, culture, language, and globalization;
- Co-ordinate conferences and visiting scholars’ lecture series;
- Sponsor social and cultural activities aimed at promoting Chinese dance, language and culture;
- Develop and implement strategic partnerships with institutions of higher education, government agencies, and industries, as well as non-governmental organizations in the Trinidad and Tobago to strengthen educational, research, and cultural exchanges and collaborations; and
- Develop global partnerships with institutions of higher education, government agencies, and industries, as well as non-governmental organizations and civic groups throughout the world.
Agree to assist the future development of their collaboration in different forms. Areas of mutual interest and concern may include, but will not be limited to:
- Visits – mutual official visits and academic visits;
- Student exchange and collaborative education programmes – student exchange, Government-sponsored study abroad and short-term training programmes;
- Performance exchange programmes – collaborative performances and visiting performances; and
- Academic research programmes – collaborative research, conferences and seminars.
DAF is proud to have achieved within such a short time of operation the award of two international dance scholarships to the prestigious Beijing Dance Academy. These full scholarships are for a 11-month period, commencing September 2011.
August 16, 2011
Closing date for applications: Tuesday 25th June 2013
Further reproduction prohibited without permission from the Dai Ailian Foundation