“KITE”: On Crossing and Choreographing ‘Min Bridges’

The old railway in HaMaXing

Is the perfect place for flying a kite

As breeze plays in the air

The kite flies in the sky

The kite flies among the trees

The kite flies into every kid’s laughter

The kite flies back to Dad’s childhood time


A time when 

Grandpa worked and went fishing 

Like a kite that flew and flew 

All the way to the faraway seas 

The kite’s string –

Tied tightly around Grandma’s heart

Held firmly between Dad’s hands –

Supports the kite through wind and storms

Through six years, the kite flies

The kite flies back to Dad’s youth time


Across time and space, I know

No matter which direction the wind blows

The kite will always fly back to Ha Ma Xing

Our home where the breeze wafts through

Our home where the kite flies


As an international student living far away from my family since 15 years old, I feel a deep longing for home constantly – whether it is when I’m relishing in the breeze of freedom or when I’m navigating through the storm of uncertainty of the future. While life wafts me into different directions, I hold onto strings that ground me to my roots and connect me with home. Our show, Min Bridges, is exactly one of these strings. 

Starting at 4 years old, I have been learning Classical Chinese and Taiwanese folk dance and developing a true passion for it ever since. The style embodies elegance, strength, and cultural values; it challenges my body, frees my mind, all while connecting me to my roots. Min Bridges provides me with a space and community to showcase my take on the style and my cultures. It carries my voice from Taiwan all the way to the U.S.

My piece “Looking Up at the Moon” is inspired by an excerpt from “水調歌頭”, a timeless poem by the Song poet, Su Shi. 「人有悲歡離合,月有陰晴圓缺,此事古難全。但願人長久,千里共嬋娟。」(People experience sorrow and joy, partings and reunions; just as the moon waxes and wanes, sometimes full and sometimes incomplete. Such is the way of the world, ancient and enduring. May we live long, and when we look up, we share the beauty of the same Moon, even when thousands of miles apart.) The dance, “Looking Up at the Moon”, is a nostalgic piece about hometown, family, the land, and all-encompassing love. No matter how far away I am from my loved ones, I am always looking up at the same Moon in the night sky. No matter how far I fly away from home, I know the string of the kite is always held firmly in my family’s hand and close to my family’s heart. Under the bright moonlight we share, their love will support me always.

Stills from Bay Area Independent Chinese Dancers

My grandma, who has been there every step of my dance journey and has supported me every second of my life, helped me select a song for this dance. She and her friend also sang the Taiwanese version of “春三月” for my other piece, “Spring”. It is special that I get to involve my family members in the creation of Min Bridges to tell my story that is also their story. These stories, across time and space, connect me, my home, and my family. I hope the many stories told in Min Bridges resonate with you, too. 

Stefanie Chen 陳彥妘 is an international student from Kaohsiung at UC Berkeley, and an Assistant Director of Bay Area Independent Chinese Dancers’ Min Bridges: stories from the Malay World, Taiwan, and mainland China. This one night only collection of classical, folk, and contemporary dances from all over the Min world goes up on Saturday, May 4th at Theatre of Yugen in San Francisco and tickets can be purchased at https://our.show/minbridges 

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