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  • Dr. Ralph Buck Makes a Spin at Peking University

    22/12/2016 - As one of the 2016 NZC visiting fellows, Dr. Ralph Buck from University of Auckland successfully held a lecture series on dance at Peking University from 8 to 12 December. The School of Arts, The New Zealand Centre and the School of Education co-hosted this lecture series.

    Peking University students were recently treated to an enriching lecture series by Dr. Ralph Buck of the University of Auckland. A series of interdisciplinary academic activities were chaired by Dr. Buck’s PKU host, Associate Professor Bi Minghui from the Department of Musicology, providing students an exciting blend of dance history, theory, and practice. The series were also included in the activities in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Peking University School of Arts. NZC Director Professor Liu Shusen, and Centre secretary Associate Professor Liu Hongzhong were in attendance of the public lecture on December 8th. Professor Chen Hongjie also gave his strong support to the primary preparation of this series.

    Dr. Ralph Buch(Right 3) and Dr. Bi Minghui (Right 2) with NZC staff.

    Dr. Buck’s activities at Peking University consisted of two parts, a public academic lecture “Community Dance: Solving Real World Problems” held on Dec. 8th and a roundtable forum “Dance Your Thinking: Concept and Method Regarding Dance Teaching”. Dr. Buck is an Associate Professor and Head of Dance Studies at The University of Auckland. As one of the most active experts in dance studies, Dr. Ralph’s teaching has been recognised in Equal Opportunities for Community Teaching, especially his achievements in using dance as a tool for the cognitive and social development of individuals to foster more tolerant socially cohesive communities. He is also on the International Editorial Boards of Research in Dance Education (RIDE) and the Journal of Dance Education (JODE), two world leading journals in this field. Dr. Buck is an award-winning professor, winner of the University of Auckland Sustained Excellence in Teaching Award, Academic Leadership Award and many more. He is on the Executive Council of the World Alliance for Arts Education that represents over 3 million art educators in school and communities, dedicated to building international partnerships in arts education and improving the quality of arts education around the world. He co-initiated, advocated for and planned UNESCO’s International Arts Education Week. As a Principal Investigator with the Centre for Brain Research, University of Auckland, he has published interdisciplinary research on the role dance may play in delaying early on-set dementia and other brain diseases, which has had a tremendous and profound impact.

    Dr. Buck Lecturing to An Audience of over 600 People.

    In his public lecture “Community Dance: Solving Real World Problems”, Dr. Buck used a mixture of theory and extensive field experience to vividly demonstrate to over 600 students the achievements in delaying dementia and other aspects made by his team. He also explained his idea of “community”, believing that different groups can form a characterized community based on common needs, and how dance can participate in that process by helping to lay a humanistic foundation.

    Dr. Ralph Buck Answering Questions from the Engaging Audience.

    In the roundtable seminar “Dance Your Thinking: Concept and Method Regarding Dance Teaching”, Dr. Buck carried out an extensive, in-depth discussion analysis with Dr. Bi as well as undergraduate and graduate students from Peking University and Beijing Dance Academy . The topics discussed include how dance teaching can break down traditional barriers, how teachers can use dance to guide and motivate students to explore a new outlook on life and society, how dance can foster creative thinking, and whether artistic creation depends on students’ participation rather than teacher’s delivery. These discussions highlighted his sense of social responsibility and humanistic values.

    Dr. Buck at the Roundtable Seminar.

    As an interdisciplinary study, the lecture series connected the art of dance with ordinary people’s community life, arousing wide interest and response from the audience. After the lecture, questions were asked by students with great passion and enthusiasm, some included topics such as square dance in Chinese communities, the acquisition and implementation of resources for community dance teaching, young people’s attitude toward dance, the lack of qualified teachers and teaching methods. The interaction between Dr. Buck and the students heightened the understanding of the topic, leaving a deep impression on the audience.

    Interaction section of the Roundtable Seminar.

    The success of the lecture sereis is an important academic achievement, bolstering the partnership of Peking University and The University of Auckland. It benefits both the faculty and students of Peking University greatly and establishes a good foundation for future collaboration with each other in dance studies and relative fields.

    (Written by: Zhang Meng, Translated by: Liu Junxi, Edited by: Oliver Cowey, Photo by: Zhang Xinyun)

    Dr. Buck prepared his lecture as part of a Visiting Fellowship with the New Zealand Centre. If you are a member of the academic staff from any of our eight partner institutions and you are interested in attending a fellowship at Peking University, get in touch with our liaison officers to learn more about the application process. Visiting fellowships for New Zealand academics are held year-round at Peking University, across a broad range of departments, forming a significant contribution to the advancement of academic exchange between China and New Zealand.

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