A dream in motion
Updated: 2011-07-20 07:56
By Xu Junqian (China Daily)
Zhuo Jun's winning performance for the top spot in China's Got Talent at the Shanghai Stadium on July 10. Photos Provided to China Daily
Zhuo Jun burst out of a giant gift box dressed like a clown and starts chasing balloons, while performing his "robotic-style" of hip-hop dancing. "It's as if his body is connected by screws rather than by joints," says Chen Lei, anchorman of the country's most popular TV show, China's Got Talent. The performance on July 10 at the Shanghai Stadium earned the 19-year-old the contest's top spot and enabled him to beat 200 hopefuls and seven finalists.
The son of farmers in a remote village in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region is a self-taught dancer and, like everyone in his hometown, had never heard of hip-hop dancing a year ago.
"I was surfing the Web in an Internet bar when someone showed me a clip of Michael Jackson's music video, Dangerous," Zhuo recalls.
"It was like my body was electrified. I've never forgotten the rhythms and moves."
He was then a high school senior, preparing for the college entrance examination. But he would steal time to secretly study hip-hop dancing. His sound system was his mobile phone and his classrooms were parking lots and remote department stores, where he could monitor his moves in the reflections of glass windows and windshields.
He publicly debuted his skills at a school gala, where he dazzled the crowd and his parents.
"I was one of only two high school seniors in my village," Zhuo says.
"So my parents wanted me to focus on my studies so I could get into university."
After he was enrolled, his mother, who is a fan of China's Got Talent, recommended he try out for the show.
"I didn't take it seriously until I made it to the semifinals," Zhuo says.
He had never left his hometown or seen a train before his trip to Shanghai.
One of the show's three judges, Zhou Libo, says, "(Zhuo) always surprises us. The way he dances is simple and reminds us of a fairy tale."
Zhuo says his performances' concepts come from his personal life.
His semifinal performance, which depicts a love story about a woman scarecrow, was inspired by the years he spent farming his parents' land, he explains.
In his winning performance, entitled Reverie Rhapsody, the gift box represents his simple lifestyle, to which he can't return after leaving. The balloons represent his dreams of becoming a professional hip-hop dancer.
"I've come to realize (pursuing that dream) isn't as easy as I had believed," he says.
"All kinds of people have been calling me, asking what I'd do if I won. I just want to show my dances to people in my hometown and go back to school at the end of summer."
He plans to become a cartoonist after graduation, and stay out of the entertainment industry.
"It's too complicated, and I don't need that much money," Zhuo says.
"I'll be a cartoonist who can dance. That's all."
Zhuo's prize from the show is a year's use of a Peugeot car. He plans to give every one of his village's 70 residents a ride, he says, even though he can't drive.
"They've all been very kind and supportive. I've seen the outside world, and now it's time to go back," Zhuo says.
"I let the balloon float away at the end of my winning routine. That symbolizes me letting go of my dream of becoming a professional hip-hop dancer."
(China Daily 07/20/2011 page20)