2022 Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching
Professor Peiling Kao of Theatre and Dance is a working artist whose teaching is driven by a concept of embodied cognition: that while mind connects with body, body influences mind, and by integrating the complementary pedagogies of both Taiwan and the U.S. Professor Kao focuses on improvisational practice through movement rather than improvising with codified dance steps. This expands the inclusivity of her classes to anyone interested in exploring movement, and no previous dance experience is needed. Students then create unique and meaningful choreographies that go beyond entertaining and showcasing. They report that her “no mirror” classes truly liberate them to take risks and become aware of their space. Depending on the energy flow and responses she receives from students, she determines how to honor the original intentions of her materials while making in-the-moment changes to engage her students to develop movement and performance skills of mindfulness, clarity, articulation and subtlety. A colleague credits her with significantly elevating the artistic level of the department’s student dance performances.
2022 Faculty Awardees