Taiwan: An afternoon in the studio

Day 11 highlights: dancing with students from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST)

I started my day having an early lunch with Lucas at a small noodle shop along Shida Road.  It’s seating area is small like many vendor-type restaurants, so finding room to enjoy our fried noodles and wonton soup was a little difficult at first.  Our meal was delicious nonetheless.

We wanted some dessert to balance out the saltiness of our lunch, and what better way to wash it down than having a few fresh fruit served over shaved ice.

I mentioned how interesting it must be working at a hostel because you meet people from everywhere doing all sorts of things (most commonly traveling and studying), however, distance can potentially cause great relationships to deteriorate.  While it’s a great feeling being able to connect with people from all over the world, reality kicks in and we go back to our own lives, eventually losing touch with some of the friends we made the greatest memories with.  Sad, but many times it’s true.  Though, if both ends really work to keep a friendship strong, it can be a challenging and exciting journey.  I guess for a hostel staff member, you have to think more about the positives – you may stay in touch with your long-distance friends less frequently, but you’ll always meet new people who share new experiences with you in the present.  You lose some, you gain some.

This afternoon, I met Lene at National Taiwan University and walked over to her school, NTUST, a pretty and quiet campus (I forgot to take pictures!).  Her dance team and many others were practicing for their upcoming showcase, so Lene suggested I come by today to see how they run their practices and interview some of the dancers.  When we arrived on the third floor of their student building, I felt like I was in paradise.  The floor welcomed me with an open center for breakdancers to practice or student officers to make big advertisements.  The walls were lined with multiple dance studios and complementary media rooms where teams could study and rest in between rehearsals.  Add in a few private rooms for guitar players, bands, and singers, and you’ve got an entire floor dedicated to student organizations interested in performing arts.

We peeked into Lene’s dance team area, and it turns out they pushed back the start time to half an hour later, so she introduced me to two lockers, Di Gua and Jia Qing, practicing in yet another studio.  I found them rehearsing a routine choreographed by Di Gua (on the right in the beginning):

There are four members total in this dance, but these two guys were putting in extra time to clean it up and work on details.  Since this was Di Gua’s piece, he told Jia Qing what he wanted certain moves to look like and ran the routine a few times for muscle memory.  Taking a break, we sat down and chatted for a bit about how they became interested in dancing and how their organization is structured (featured post on NTUST students coming up).

I learned that even though I see many distinct teams scattered throughout the studios minding their own business, they are all subgroups of one main dance organization led by select members.  This central group, Executive Board in GMU student org terms, provides funding, creates advertisements, and finds sponsors to support the various teams (more on this in the featured post).

I received an exclusive lesson to the basics of locking and danced with these two a little bit before I headed over to Lene’s ladies group.  Their high heels and vogue appearance contrasted much of Di Gua and Jia Qing’s loose and relaxed style.  All of them were having a great time and seemed to have created a family, reminding me of UK 101 back home.  It was great to see these girls and everyone else working so diligently for a hobby.

Lene and I later watched a popping group, where they seemed to be learning a routine just a week before the show.  I was watching the student who coached his teammates, and I noticed that he had a lot in common with the other students who I witnessed in the same position.  Generally, they are patient, calm, and encouraging to their teammates, which is an important asset to making the learning process enjoyable.  I appreciated that he was open to questions and pointed out individuals who stood out to help them improve.

On my way out, Lene and I stopped by the lounge for dancers, and before I knew it, I was jotting down details for It’s Battle Time Vol. 3, a dance battle taking place this Saturday and Sunday June 4-5 at Kainan University.  I first glanced at the poster and did a second take realizing what it actually advertised.  Then, I noticed a familiar face on the judges panel for hip hop – Xiao Hei from Merry Monarc!  I didn’t have high expectations of attending it but got the details just in case.

Tonight, Jing Jing and Bixx took Marisa and I to Roxy Rocker, one of the clubs under the entertainment company Roxy Taipei.  This one in particular boasts a library lined with 10,000 vinyls and vintage decor paired with comfy couches, a perfect place to relax and listen to your favorite oldies.  What better way to start the weekend?

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