Take it to street

Updated 2017-06-14 10:01:35 China Daily
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Xiao Jie, a hip-hop dancer-choreographer, takes the lead in combining the Western hip-hop dance with Chinese characteristics, such as martial arts and Peking Opera. Photos provided to China Daily

Xiao Jie, a hip-hop dancer-choreographer, takes the lead in combining the Western hip-hop dance with Chinese characteristics, such as martial arts and Peking Opera. Photos provided to China Daily

Hip-hop is finding plenty of enthusiasts in China, who are savoring the power and energy of dance

When Xia Rui was introduced to hip-hop culture as a freshman at Communication University of China in Beijing in 2002, he fell for the dramatically expressive street dancing immediately.

By participating in dance communities of other universities, such as Peking University, and watching music videos of Michael Jackson and Madonna, Xia developed an interest in the dance style.

"At that time, few people knew what street dancing was. It was a Western culture thing, popular among university students," recalls Xia, now 35, who later founded a hip-hop dance community at the CUC in 2003.

"Our teachers and parents considered it as a bad influence then. But hip-hop dance, which is about skills, creativity and displaying individuality, picked up quickly on campus. We had nearly 1,000 students in the community then."

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Hip-hop street dancing goes viral among Chinese college students who tap into it fully as a way to sweat and try out their ideas.

Hip-hop street dancing goes viral among Chinese college students who tap into it fully as a way to sweat and try out their ideas.

Over the past decade, hip-hop dance, which originated in the United States in the 1970s and includes a variety of styles, such as breaking, locking and popping, has taken root in China.

The first national touring competition of hip-hop dance kicked off on June 3 and will run through December, Xia has announced in his role as deputy-director of the China Hip-Hop Union Committee. That was founded by the Chinese Dancers Association in 2013.

The competition will see group and singles sections of each style under hip-hop dance.

"In the following six months, more than 300,000 competitors from 300 cities across the country will participate in the event," says Xia.

He also notes that teaching materials about hip-hop dance have been published by China Federation of Literary and Art Circles Publishing House in 2015, which enables the dance style to be formal and systemic.

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Hip-hop street dancing goes viral among Chinese college students who tap into it fully as a way to sweat and try out their ideas.

Hip-hop street dancing goes viral among Chinese college students who tap into it fully as a way to sweat and try out their ideas.

"There's now a vibrant and fast-developing street dancing scene in China," Xia adds. "Like any contemporary art form, street dancing is about using art as a platform to have our voices heard."

As the dance form is becoming more popular, Xia says he hopes awareness grows.

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