IVE student uses breakdancing to preserve Hong Kong heritage
Dancing to the beat, B-Boy KWAN Siu-ping does hand hops, headstands and even head-spinning to showcase various power moves of Breakdancing…
Ping loves Breakdancing (also known as Breaking or B-Boying). His creative choreography has won him one prize after another in street dance competitions big and small. With promoting dancing in mind, Ping enrolled in the Higher Diploma in Arts and Cultural Events Management programme with the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (IVE). Equipped with the new knowledge he has learned, he plans to dance in front of Hong Kong’s historic monuments and upload videos onto social media platforms, hoping to use breakdancing to preserve local heritage and promote dancing.
King of Dance turns interest into career
Since his secondary school years, Ping has got in touch with Breaking and teamed up with friends for group dance performance. He braved the challenges of highly difficult moves with a strong passion and earned many prizes with his teammates in various competitions on the way. However, he had never dreamed of making a mark in the local dancing scene. Ping said: “In the beginning, I simply wanted to look cool, without thinking of winning in competitions. The wins steel my resolve to turn my interest into a career.”
Street dance has brought Ping many breakthroughs and prizes. As a member of the local dance community, he hopes he can make Breaking popular and contribute to the field. After graduating from secondary school, he worked as a dance instructor in a local youth services organisation to inspire tomorrow’s dancing stars. “After all, Breaking requires tremendous strength. I start to think about my future when I grow older and no longer dance,” he said. “How can I continue to promote Breaking, making it into the mainstream in Hong Kong?” Ping thus made a decision to enrol in the IVE Higher Diploma in Arts and Cultural Events Management programme in 2018. By taking a professional course about cultural event promotion, Ping is determined to change people’s perception and raise the profile of street dance on which people always see as a subculture happening at the street corners.
The IVE course is an eye-opener for Ping as he learns culture and art forms other than dancing. He completed an internship arranged by IVE at a heritage conservation organisation. There, he assisted in organising promotional events in preserving history and culture, such as docent tours and arts workshops where he learnt much about local history and culture and the importance of conservation. “Signs of the past of Hong Kong can be found at every turn. One may walk pass a temple without knowing it has stood for more than a hundred years,” said Ping. “Festivals and traditional events have legends behind them and they are the full sum of Hong Kong, the place where we grow up.”
Fiery dragon fires imagination
During his internship, the organisation helped plan the Fire Dragon Dance, a large-scale event that celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival. The “dragon masters” first taught the participants to help make the dragon with straw. Ping was part of the team to help co-ordinate the event. As a dancer, Ping earned “favour” from a master who asked him to be a member of the team holding the fire dragon head. He found it very interesting: “I have never thought of being a ‘headliner’ in a fire dragon dance because I am good at dancing. I thought of adding some Breaking elements, only to find that the dragon head was so heavy that it took at least four persons to move it.” The experience gives him new ideas in heritage conservation. “Just like Breaking, a dance routine can include many moves with sequences of self-created movements. So does heritage conservation. Varied cultural elements can be combined to become the spotlight.”
Breaking and historic monuments
After completing the internship, Ping comes up with an innovative plan. Apart from promoting Breaking, he wants people to learn more about the historic monuments in Hong Kong. “Using digital promotion skills taught in the course, I will shoot a series of videos featuring Breaking in front of historic monuments and upload them onto social media platforms with descriptions of the buildings,” said Ping. “Combining Breaking with history and culture, the dance will exude a ‘local’ vibe, attracting people of all ages.”
Although his plan is temporarily held up by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ping has made good use of his time researching and choreographing dance routines so that he can realise his plan sooner. Looking ahead, he is about to graduate from IVE and plans to work in a heritage conservation organisation to earn experience and further his study. Ping hopes to learn more about heritage conservation and put his knowledge to practice, contributing in promoting Breaking.