Tai Chi Chuan for dancers: a practice and an experience

by Marijke Eliasberg – scholar of Grandmaster William C. C. Chen

Originated in China, Tai Chi Chuan is a mind/body martial art, also referred to as “shadow boxing” or “moving meditation”. To an outsider who has never practiced the discipline, Tai Chi appears to be a slow, choreographed dance. However, there is more to it: one cannot easily see the internal and external benefits derived by regular practice. It is proven to build strength from the inside out. It means sustaining relaxed inner stillness while being in full motion. This requires minimal use of your muscles while maintaining total awareness of the whole body, creating a maximized powerful Qi/Chi energy. 

In the classes, we will use the 60-postures form of Grandmaster William C. C. Chen. With its slow pace, every movement of the sequence has a meaning, a proper alignment of the body, a pattern of breathing and an intention of the mind. In Tai Chi Chuan physical conditioning and philosophy are primordial interwoven. The postures are a form of mind development and designed to develop mind power. In martial arts it is important to train your mind and body to relax because you cannot fight effectively if you are tense. Same for dance. In my experience, Tai Chi Chuan can help dancers find ways to channel and express passion, power and energy in a more clear, efficient and effortless way; mentally and physically.

No previous Tai Chi experience is required to take the classes: open for all.


Marijke Eliasberg
-native of the Netherlands, Founder and Co-Artistic Director of The Next Stage Project (TNSP), has been dancing, teaching and choreographing for the past 24 years in New York City. In 2001 Marijke founded the global dance collective: The Next Stage Project (TNSP), which she co-directs with Jana Hicks. With TNSP, she travels around the world, teaching, creating, mentoring and making exchange and performance projects possible.

In NYC, Marijke currently teaches modern contemporary classes at Peridance Center and has taught at Gibney, Ballet Arts, Now Yoga, Steps on Broadway, Dance Space, Dance New Amsterdam, Dancewave, Broadway Dance Center, FSU in NYC Master Program, and Improvisation & Composition classes at the Joffrey Ballet School. She has taught and created works in the USA, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Italy, France, Japan, and India. As a performer, she has worked with numerous companies and choreographers including Jana Hicks, Pauline Levick, Nita Liem/Don’t Hit Mama, Guido Tuveri, SunHwa Chung, Jenni Hong, Max Stone, and Kevin Wynn among others. Marijke holds a BFA in physical education with a specialization in dance. She continued her modern dance studies at the Rotterdam Dance Academy (Codarts) in The Netherlands and Dance Space Inc in NYC.
Her continuing education, which includes studying extensively with 89 year old Chinese Grandmaster William C. C. Chen in NYC (short form, long form and push-hands) and he gave Marijke permission to share his 60 postures form.
Marijke has been a regular teacher at HJS for many years.