One-on-One with Franklin Yu: Chinese-American choreographer talks about street dance and culture
And we also sat down with Franklin Yu, who took second place in "Street Dance of China." Let's hear what he has to say about the show, his performances and more.
When he was a student at UCLA, Franklin Yu majored in materials engineering. However, his love for street dance and choreography led him to become a choreographer.
Although he's only 24-years-old, the Chinese-American choreographer has taught workshops around the world. And he choreographs for top Chinese stars such as Jackson Yee and Lu Han.
This May, Franklin participated in season two of the talent reality show "Street Dance of China". His performance won the hearts of many viewers and fans. In the final episode of the show, which aired last Saturday, he claimed second place.
Q: What does it feel like winning the second place of the show?
A: I never expected to get to this far. To me, it's just crazy. I came here a couple of months ago, not knowing how far I would go, because the show is so unpredictable.
Q: Why did you want to take part in the show in the first place?
A: I came to the show to choreograph for Jackson Yee (Franklin's team leader on the show Street Dance of China and a member of Chinese boy band TFboys). But before the show started they asked me if I'm interested in participating. At first, I was like no way, I'm not gonna do that. But you know, there's not many Chinese-Americans that are given the chance to take part in the show like this. It will be a unique experience for me. And I want to help Jackson,
Q: What were you thinking when you were battling as a choreographer?
A: Every time I go up to battle on the show, I think, OK, this could be my last moment on the show. It's not because that choreographers don't freestyle, actually choreographers freestyle all the time. It's more about the environment you freestyling. When you freestyle by yourself, it's a very personal thing, it's very experimental. But when you battling somebody, the energy and the environment are different, that's what we're not used to.
Q: You've combined traditional Chinese dance with street dance, what was it like?
A: (That piece) combined with the song that my partner dancer chose, it's just the way I liked to move, and it just made a lot of sense. It felt really good. Taichi-inspired movements and wushu-inspired movements match really well with the way I like to move. So it just felt very natural.
Q: What does the show mean for a dancer like you?
A: The most valuable thing that I gained from the show was the friends that I met during the process. But in terms of experience, the most meaningful thing is that as a Chinese-American, I can bring what we do back at home over to this stage and show so many people how we like to dance.
Q: What does it mean for street dance?
A: The show is unique in the way it portrays street dance. The show tries really hard to stay true to what street dance is. But at the same time, it encourages certain term of freedom like, street dance can be like this, and street dance can be like this. And what the show serves for the culture is kind of like a great platform for dancers to share their individuality and their connection to street dance itself. So that more people can see it, more people can understand it and be interested in it, and also spread the culture in that way.