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Thu, Sep 13, 2001 - Page 6 News List

China Dance Club studio reconstruction plan ready

DANCE HISTORY Nearly two years after the historic landmark was gutted by fire, city officials have finally said work is scheduled to begin in March of next year

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Director of Taipei City's Cultural Affairs Bureau Lung Ying-tai yesterday visited Tsai Jui-yueh's studio to get a better understanding of the building's reconstruction.

PHOTO: CHEN CHENG-CHANG, TAIPEI TIMES

Almost two years after the dance studio of Taiwanese dance legend Tsai Jui-yueh (蔡瑞月) was gutted by fire, the Taipei City Government has finally completed plans to start the reconstruction.

However, the job won't begin until March of next year.

The Japanese style wooden building burned down on Oct. 26, 1999, four days after it was de-signated as a municipal historic relic.

After the fire, Taipei City Mayor Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) pledged that both an investigation into the blaze and the reconstruction of the site would be completed within a month. However, no repairs or arrests have as yet been made.

Inspecting the China Dance Club studio located on Chungshan North Road, Section 2, Lung Ying-tai (龍應台), director of the city's Bureau of Cultural Affairs, said that it is important to rebuild the 81-year-old structure.

"What's so amazing about the place is not the building itself, but its role in Taiwan's modern dance history," Lung said.

Lung also gave her reasons for why the reconstruction project has taken so long to come about.

"We are required by law to follow certain procedures because it's a historic relic," she said. "It might seem that we haven't been doing anything regarding the repairs, but the truth is that we've been working on it day in and day out."

Six months after the fire, the city commissioned Su Ming-hsiu (蘇明修), an architect and an interior design instructor at the National Yunlin University of Science and Technology to conduct a study on possible reconstruction solutions for the studio.

After an eight-month study was completed in December last year, the bureau entrusted the Fu Hang-jen Architect and Associates to design and eventually rebuild the structure.

The bureau has proposed NT$21 million for the reconstruction project over the next financial year and is waiting for the city council to review the proposal.

"Hopefully, the council will approve the budget as proposed. If everything goes well, we hope to start reconstruction in March next year and complete it by the end of the year," Lung said.

Briefing Lung about the project yesterday, Fu said that the first floor will have a cafe, a gift shop, indoor and outdoor performance areas and a static display room.

On the second floor, there will be a library and a research room. The first and second floors of the basement will house practice rooms and a community culture center.

"Our design concept is to blend the old and new, people and nature together and make this place the most beautiful green space in the concrete jungle," Fu said.

Tsai, who is dubbed Taiwan's mother of modern dance, began her dancing and teaching career in Taiwan in 1946 at the age of 25.

The city had originally planned to demolish the dance studio in 1994, but a conservation campaign launched by local artists secured its designation as a municipal historic site in 1999.

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