Shanny Rann

Shanny Rann is the editor of Dance Central and PhD student in Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University. Her current research focuses on Taiji in diaspora from a gendered perspective. She has a Master of Arts in Dance Studies from York University and is an Erasmus Mundus scholar in Dance Knowledge, Practice, and Heritage (Choreomundus). Her previous research on ‘cham, a Tibetan Buddhist dance ritual, was conducted in the Himalayas with refugee monks and was published in ausDance and Recherches en Danse. She serves as the Director of International Tristar Taiji Association and Assistant Instructor at Li Rong Wushu and Qigong Academy. She continues to perform, teach and choreograph in Canada, where she resides.

In Rann’s talk she explores Sanxingdui.  Considered to be the greatest archaeological find of the 20th century, it was first chanced upon by a local farmer when digging in front of his home in Sichuan, China in 1929. An archaeological excavation was not launched on the site until 1934 by Western missionaries of the West China Union University, now known as Sichuan University. However, it took another 52 years before the major discovery of the sacrificial pits in 1986. Among the 57 bronze heads found, 4 of them were covered in gold foil and only one of them has distinct features of a woman. In March 2021, another breakthrough discovery at the Sanxingdui site unveiled a 3000-year-old gold mask. While mystery shrouds this ancient civilization, as no conclusion has been able to be reached on what the artifacts represent, it has inspired re-enactments of ritual performances through dance and theatre in and beyond China. My research looks at Sanxing Taiji, a new style of Tai Chi that was founded by a Canadian Chinese woman, Master Li Rong, after her visit to Sanxingdui. What elements of Sanxingdui did she incorporate into Sanxing Taiji? What role do the masks play in the public performances of Sanxing Taiji? This presentation is a culmination of a 5-year autoethnographic study at the Li Rong Wushu and Qigong Academy in Vancouver, Canada and will include photos and video footages of Sanxing Taiji.

View her work here: and