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'Breaking' new ground

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2022-10-19 08:02

Scenes from Yellow River, an original street dance piece, co-choreographed by Xia Rui.[Photo provided to China Daily]

According to Xia, back in the early 2000s, few people in China knew what street dancing was. Back then "it was popular among university students", recalls Xia, who, in 2003, founded a hip-hop dance community at the Communication University of China. "Though our teachers and parents considered it to be a bad influence, it picked up quickly on campus. We soon had nearly 1,000 students in the community.

"It is a style of dance that is not only about skill, but also about creativity and displaying individuality," he adds.

During his second year at the university, Xia organized a street dance competition, gathering students who were also street dancing enthusiasts to perform together. The response to the endeavor boosted Xia's confidence.

Xia graduated with a major in TV and movie directing in 2006, going on to study for a master's degree. Every year, he organized the street dancing competition, which became a major event on campus.

After graduating in 2011, Xia worked at China Central Television before fully devoting himself to promoting street dance in China in 2013.

Now 40, Xia is one of the leading figures on the country's street dancing scene.

"Over the past decade, I'm surprised that street dance has not only taken root in China, but also become a popular art form among young people — especially young parents who consider it to be a fun way to keep their children healthy and entertained," says Xia, deputy director and secretary-general of the China Hip-Hop Union Committee since it was founded by the China Dancers Association in 2013.

Now, there are more than 30 subcommittees across China, involving over 300 cities and about 3 million people. According to the China Hip-Hop Union Committee, there are more than 8,000 registered street dance studios in China.

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