In the past, China was known for its booming population, its amazing cuisines, and its technological progression. But its dancing scene? Not so much. With some help of a few celebrities, the art and various styles of dance have become the center of public attention.
Street Dance of China Season 3 began airing in mid-July and it immediately attracted over 32 billion views and 190 million posts from viewers, becoming viral among viewers of all ages and greatly promoting the street dance scene in China. Starting back in 2018, the reality show has become well-known for showcasing a variety of dancers, both amateurs and professionals, from all across China and a few other countries. The main concept revolves around 4 famous celebrities recruiting limited number of contestants to join their team through a series of tryouts, staged performances, and battles. This season, Chinese actor and singer Wallace Chung, Chinese K-pop star Yixing (Lay) Zhang, Chinese K-pop star Jackson Wang, and Chinese pop star Yibo Wang are chosen as the team leaders.
Wallace Chung debuted in 1993 as a a back-up dancer, became a huge Taiwan pop idol, and is now recognized for many of his drama and film roles. Yixing (Lay) Zhang debuted in 2011 as a member of K-pop boy-group EXO and is currently pursuing individual activities and promotions apart from EXO. Jackson Wang debuted in 2014 as a member of K-pop boy-group GOT7 and is simultaneously performing with Got7 while establishing his individual label Team Wang. Yibo Wang debuted in 2014 as a member of Chinese-South Korean boy-group UNIQ and has garnered many fans as he also appears on many television shows and dramas.
Team captains performed a dance piece beforehand, competing for small towels, which would dictate how many members they could have on their team. During the tryouts, each team leader in a different faction watched about 100 contestants perform a short piece they prepared and handed out a limited number of small towels to symbolize that the contestant made it onto the team. Dancers brought out a massive variation of dance routines, including hip-hop, wacking, popping, locking, breakdancing, contemporary, urban, and Chinese traditional dance. People who did not receive the small towel could not move on to the next rounds.
As the show progresses, the competitive stress piled on the team leaders and dancers. Contestants were separated into groups and were assigned to create a dance routine with others who had diverse dance styles in a short amount of time. Some challenges restricted dance styles or settings, while other challenges offered contestants full reign regarding their performances. Regardless of the requirements, dancers expressed brilliant creativity focusing on small details or their use of props. Occasionally, there would be dance battles between individuals who did not perform well in their group performances. At first, the team leaders were in charge of deciding which dancers could stay; however, to prevent bias, the audience later on took over that role.
Throughout every performance piece, the dancers worked through sweat, tears, sleepless nights, and injuries. They showed individual growth by being open to learn about and perform others’ dance genres and they gradually started to see one another more as family rather than as competitors. The hilarious chemistry and conversation shared between the team captains and dancers also served as an interesting part of the show. The interactions between the team members and contestants allowed true friendships, making it harder for team leaders to decide who to let go in later sections.
One-by-one, contestants were eliminated. In the last battle, Jackson Wang’s freestyle hip-hop dancer Xiao Chao competed against Yibo Wang’s Chengdu Star Space’s b-boy Keven Yang Kai. Xiao Chao’s powerful performances always left everyone in awe; Keven’s lengthy experience and gravity-defying moves continuously added to the lively atmosphere. After a grueling match, it was announced that Yibo Wang and Yang Kai were the winners of Street Dance of China Season 3.
Amidst the pandemic, the show was able to bring out people’s enthusiasm for dance and raise viewers’ spirits regardless of their previous knowledge or impression for street dance. This season demonstrated that China’s dance scene is expanding and we can look forward to a thriving community of dancers in the near future.