Let me let you in on a little secret – and by “little secret” I mean “something that I tell everyone, but they always act shocked anyway.” I am a dancer. And not like a hip-hop dancer, either; I do traditional Chinese dance. This always seems to surprise people for reasons I can’t always explain, especially when they see my 5’11″, not-exactly-svelte-like-a-dancer self. One of my friends had to do a media project on “someone interesting,” and her professor recommended that she do it on me because I have a “male view in a very female-centric culture.” Or something like that.
I haven’t always done dance; in fact, I had never done any kind of dance whatsoever before I got to college. Back in high school I was a track and field kind of guy. I don’t know what compelled me to go to USC Traditional Chinese Dance (henceforth known as TCD) auditions in my freshman year. But after I walked in, I was handed a sword and I thought “You know, this is going to be kinda cool!” They taught me how to do all these turns and jumps with a lot of epic music in the background. And, as you might expect from a big guy who only knew how to run fast, I couldn’t do any of it. That morning I must have fallen flat on my butt at least four times. I walked out feeling exhilarated but pretty damn embarrassed. Imagine my surprise when I got an email a few days later inviting me to join for real! To be honest, it was probably because they really really needed guys. But I like to think it was because every time I fell on my butt, I jumped right back up, even if it only meant I was going to fall again soon after.
It took me a while to decide whether or not to accept the invitation. But after I did, I have never once regretted it. Throughout my time here at USC, some of my closest friends and fondest memories have come through this group. We have grown close even outside of practices, going to theme parks and on food adventures together; not everything we do is related to dance!
Every year, we put on a big show in Bovard Auditorium called Dance to a New Year, which generally takes place in February, around – you guessed it! – Chinese New Year. And it’s in the days and weeks leading up to this show when we grow the closest. The show generally features a first half with a showcase of dances, followed by a second half with what we call a “dance drama”: a story without words, only music and dance. I’ve included a few pictures from last year’s show so you can get an idea of what it’s like. Dance to a New Year 2012 , coming up this Friday, features the story of Yue Lao, the Old Man under the Moon, a cute little story about destiny and romance. The performance is always nerve-wracking, but with the amount of hard work and preparation we’ve put in, we know it’ll turn out great!
I like to think I’ve gotten a little better. Maybe. Honestly though, joining a dance team was not high on my list of things I wanted to do in college. But I was willing to try out something new, and it turned out to be one of the best things I’ve done here at USC.
Until next time,