justDANCE! Abe Chan
Interview by Alan Ng and Patrick Giang
Words by Alan Ng
Photography by Patrick Giang
Location: Vancouver[Show Text Only Version][Hide Text Only Version]
have been holding it down for the Vancouver popping scene for quite some time. Being one of the curators of the event Last One Stands and bringing popping legends into our city, Abe is determined to bring the funk scene to the next level. Recently joined the Groovy Gs dance crew, Abe finds the perfect group to affiliate with. He finds dancing a form of expression and believes that as long you are at it, whether you are good or bad, you are still apart of the movement. The justalilhype! Crew caught up with Abe to talk about his recent life, his influences from Asia, and his goals in the near future as a popper.
Please start off by introducing yourself to our readers.
My name is Abe. When I first came to the dance scene, people called me “Boogaloo Abraham”, but as I learn the dance more, I discovered that I don’t boogaloo, I just pop.
Tell us about your dance style and how you got into the dance scene.
My dance style is popping. 7 years ago, I saw this movie from Hong Kong about dancing. I saw the film and thought it was really cool. I asked some of my friends from my town in China to find me dance instructors because I wanted to learn. They helped me find a few guys and I started to learn dancing from them. They were teaching me how to do the robot wave style at first, and eventually I picked up popping.
Out of all the other different dance styles, why did you choose popping above the rest?
Actually, I wanted to be a b-boy at first. The problem was that I couldn’t even do the handstand after two weeks of training. I couldn’t do it for two weeks! All of my friends was able to, so I quit.
I don’t think popping is easier but I feel good and comfortable doing it. I enjoy the music for popping more.
Tell us some of the people that you dance with, and what dance crews you are part of?
I am currently with Groovy Gs. I joined this crew not too long ago. Before I joined this crew, I was actually in another crew called Funk Master Flex, but then that crew didn’t work out, so we broke apart. Although I am in this group, I don’t do much performance with them. I think I only did one show with them, and that was even before when I joined the crew. I just feel like comfortable hanging out with them. It feels like family and we don’t actually train together. We see each other at least once a week. The last time we practice together was a year ago. We just feel like a family together. Before I joined the crew, I was already hanging out with them a lot.
You been quite active in the Vancouver popping scene and were in charge of hosting events in the past. Tell us about the events you have curated.
The event that I have curated is called Last One Stands with my partner Dennis Lee. The reason why we hosted this event is because we saw some of the events in China and they have some very high-level contestants. We don’t see that a lot in North America, not even Vancouver. We thought that we could bring some world-class dancers to enter the event so people that watch the event can learn from it. More people from the community will then be able to benefit from it, and grow from it.
What future projects do you have ahead?
I am going to have the event Last One Stands volume two with Dennis in October 22 this year. We are going to bring people from China, people from Japan, and judges from the states.
Since you are originally from Asia, how do you compare the dance scene between Canada and China?
Maybe because of the humble mentality in China, there are a lot of worshippers there. They respect their teacher so much that they treat them like superstars. Here, the community is pretty small, but we are pretty tight with each other. In China, you wouldn’t even have the chance to talk to China- there’s too many people.
Since your style of dance is less prominent in the city, how do you think you can help the popping scene grow in Vancouver?
I think the only way is to bring the really established dancers to town and allow them to share their knowledge. I think it is growing a lot more than before now. When I first came here. There was not much people dancing popping. As far as I know, there was only Groovy Gs and Funk Master Flex- that was it! Now, we have a lot of other crews.
What do you have to say to the upcoming poppers right now?
They are good. I think I am pretty young too. Yesterday, I went to this jam at UBC—World of Dance. I didn’t enter the contest, I watched the whole thing and it was the first time that I thought that it isn’t easy to pass the preliminaries in Vancouver. I saw some new faces, and they are learning really fast.
A lot of people have big debates about the popping and locking genre, and even mixing it with the contemporary style. How would you define the style of popping?
The argument is that some people say that they created that, and some people say they created that. I just want to say that we are not from that generation so we could not tell who’s who. You can’t have your own opinion because you are not from that era. You don’t have evidence as well. It’s hard to find evidence. Personally, I don’t care about that crap. All that stuff is all under the umbrella term funk style. It’s different individual styles and they are all under the umbrella term of funk style. I personally respect all styles, they are all dance styles to me- there isn’t any better ones or weaker ones. I personally like popping.
What is HYPE?
HYPE is funk!