VASA Paiwan Traditional Dancing & Music Troupe
"VASA" is a student club established by Bingmao Junior High School in Jinlun Village, Taitung County in 2010 during the tenure of President Ye Shenbao, with Lyu Mei-cin as their instructor. Since the beginning of its establishment, it has been focusing on helping tribal youths learn the traditional Eastern Paiwan culture. In the past seven years, with pupils growing up and new blood continuing to join, the age of the eldest members of the ensemble have thus extended from 13 to 20 years old. They have been demonstrating the achievements of cultural transfer through diverse learning such as ancient rhymes, dance, traditional rituals and music. At the end of 2013, thanks to the involvement and guidance of Fan Wen-kai and Lin Ze-syuan, the ensemble successfully developed into a distinguishing feature of Binmao Junior High School and the aboriginal community in the neighborhood. The members of VASA are aware that it is their mission to carry on the tradition, and responsibility to strive for a sustainable development. In 2017, the singing of the Paiwan children in the ensemble was acknowledged, with their album "VASA Voices from where the Sun rises. Ancient Eastern Paiwan Ballads", sponsored by Teco Technology Foundation, selected as finalist for the Golden Melody Awards for Traditional Arts and Music of the year. They also won an Excellence Award in the very competitive National Folk Song Contest in the same year.
VASA means taro in Paiwan language. The ensemble is named VASA to inspire the young members to be as unrelenting as the traditional Paiwan crop "taro," which can grow even in a harsh environment with little soil, sunlight, and water.
The training of the ensemble has been sponsored by Chen Hsiang Foods and Ms. Li Jhi-hsyun of PICTET since 2012 through the "Exclamation Mark" program to provide the members with more opportunities to perform and better environment to deepen the cultural competency. Since 2017, with support from Mr. Lin Hhih-ciang and Taitung MATA Family House, the ensemble has access to teaching materials such as traditional costumes, hats and shawls that it has been lacking, and had meals and transportation issues resolved for the training on holidays and weekends, which used to concern the pupils and the school.