Sun, Mar 10, 2013 - Page 3 News List

Nuclear Power Debate: Young people give march a musical flavor

BRING THE NOISE:Backed by live performances, young people yesterday showed their concern for the nation’s pressing issues, a welcome change from previous years

By Kuo An-chia and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter, with Staff writer

Young people, some wearing Guy Fawkes masks, attend the demonstration against nuclear power in Greater Taichung yesterday.

Photo: Liao Yao-tung, Taipei Times

When the nation’s anti-nuclear campaign started about two decades ago, the fight was mostly carried out by environmental and social activist groups, with guidance from the Democratic Progressive Party.

However, more recently, young people have become more involved in the movement, as evidenced by the many young people — including hip hop dancers, bands and DJs — who took part in yesterday’s anti-nuclear demonstrations.

Thanks to their youthful energy and enthusiasm, the young people added a different kind of atmosphere from past anti-nuclear protests, with dancing and live music featuring heavily.

Peng Ying-lun (彭英倫),who played the leading role in Hip-Hop Storm, a Taiwanese documentary about the street dance movement, put out a call to arms for yesterday’s march in Taipei, and invited members of the Chinese Taipei Street Dance Association to take part.

They choreographed an anti-nuclear routine incorporating elements of hip-hop and other street dances, and performed at the march.

The dancers in the performance took on the roles of “nuclear terrorists” and “anti-nuclear warriors,” and enacted a dance duel, Peng said.

Hip-hop dancing featuring basketball-style moves were also on show and the performance ended with victory for the anti-nuclear warriors, he said.

Hip-hop music and dancing is intimately associated with social issues as it began with the breakdance craze in predominantly black neighborhoods of New York in the 1980s, Peng said.

Dancers performed on the streets and negotiated with local governments and the police over the use of public spaces for their dancing sessions, he added.

However, “in the past, hip-hop in Taiwan was almost never associated with social issues. The anti-nuclear march [yesterday] could be the first time,” Peng said.

“What we believe in is peace, love, unity and having fun,” added Peng, who has drawn together hip-hop dancers, musicians, DJs and graffiti artists to form the Hip-Hop Storm performance group, which aims to renew the determined spirit of struggle of the 1990s as well as taking an active interest in social issues.

Peng said he has met some resistance from other some street dancers who said: “You should just focus on dancing. Why join in the [anti-nuclear] march?”

Peng responded by saying: “My stance is different from yours,” adding that he welcomes with open arms all those who wish to participate and learn more about the anti-nuclear campaign.

Aside from the participation of hip-hop dancers, the “P.L.U.R.S. Techno Music Coalition against Nuclear Power” rented a flatbed truck that played techno and other electronic music at the march yesterday as well as setting up party tents at the march’s overnight protest on Ketagalan Bouldevard in Taipei.

The group screened a techno music documentary titled Retake the Streets at the protest last night.

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