A large number of people from the world of dance and the expatriate community in Taiwan have paid tribute to Diane Baker (貝黛安), 65, deputy chief copy editor of the Taipei Times and doyenne of dance, who passed away at home on Wednesday.
A veteran journalist, Baker worked for International Community Radio Taipei (ICRT) and then the Taipei Times, where she was known among her colleagues for her professionalism and broad knowledge of Taiwan.
To Baker, dance criticism was “a tribulation of love” and she fought for her place, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre founder and Baker’s friend Lin Hwai-min (林懷民) wrote in a statement on Cloud Gate’s Web site yesterday.
Photo: Amber Chang, Taipei Times
“As Taiwanese broadsheets abandon dance criticism, it is astonishing that a US reporter became the most prolific and widely published commentator of dance,” Lin wrote.
“Diane went to see dance almost every week and sometimes attended three performances in one week,” he said, adding that Baker was a constant presence in the nation’s theater circles, despite health issues that increasingly troubled her in recent years.
“Diane showed deep caring to Taiwan’s dance scene and frequently attended performances, especially those of students, to show her support and encouragement,” Zhang Xiao-xiong (張曉雄), associate professor at Taipei National University of the Arts, was quoted as saying.
Photo: Amber Chang, Taipei Times
The Taipei-based Community Service Center in a statement on Friday described Baker as “a loyal friend and supporter of the center and a dedicated member of the center’s steering committee,” adding that she was held in high esteem within the international and local communities.
ICRT said in a statement on Friday: “[Baker’s] love of Taiwan was only matched by her memory for historical details and trivia, which she could recall and detail to those of us that needed help and asked for it.”
“Taiwan has lost one of its greatest fans and champions in Diane Baker,” it added.
Baker is survived by two sisters and a brother in the US.
Taipei Times deputy chief copy editor Diane Baker passed away this week. Diane worked with the Taipei Times since its launch in 1999. She was an immensely valued member of the newspaper’s editorial staff who made an incalculable contribution to our efforts through her impressive breadth of knowledge and understanding about not only Taiwan, its history, its politics and its people, but also about the world in general. She was always ready to step in and do a thorough, professional job in even the toughest circumstances.
Her presence, skills, experience, charm, wit and sense of humor will be — are already — missed.
— Taipei Times
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