Former street-racing biker Ho Kai-en (何凱恩) has ditched his biking past and made it his mission to transform Greater Taichung into an “international city of hip-hop dance” by staging international dance events.
One of his dreams was realized on Saturday when more than 1,000 people showed up from Taiwan and abroad to compete in his initiative to develop Taichung’s hip-hop scene: the first “Funkzilla Game Popping Battle.”
The 33-year-old Ho, sporting dyed blonde hair, said he was very rebellious during his teenage years.
When he was 19, he joined a street-racing motorcycle gang. One day, Ho’s gang got into a fight with another group who were hip-hop dancers, he said.
From that encounter, he said he got to know about street dance and wanted to learn the craft from the best.
After finishing his two-year stint of military service, the Taichung native went to Japan to learn from renowned hip-hop teachers.
After several years of working and training hard, Ho made a name for himself by scoring a spot among the final 16 contestants of “Dance@Live,” a big hip-hop competition in Japan, and has dedicated himself to the style of dance ever since.
Now, with more than a decade of experience under his belt, Ho is one of Taiwan’s top hip-hop dance instructors.
To promote his passion and get more people involved, Ho said he has begun to save his earnings to organize a big international hip-hop dance competition in Taiwan.
“The movement started in the US in the 1970s. When superstar Michael Jackson did the ‘moonwalk,’ that was a form of hip-hop dancing,” Ho said.
“In Taiwan, we got introduced to the style in the 1980s. Even though we don’t have too many hip-hop enthusiasts yet, a lot of good talent is being nurtured. They can compete against professional hip-hop dancers from around the world and that’s why I wanted to establish an international competition in Taiwan,” he added.
Ho used his savings to invite well-known hip-hop dancers from France, South Korea, Japan and other countries, and aimed to attract a 1,000-plus crowd to the event to showcase the nation’s talent for the dance style.
“The largest international competitions in hip-hop dance are Dance@Live in Japan, Juste Debout in France and Keep on Dancing in China,” Ho said
A crowd of more than 1,000 people filled the venue on Saturday and cheered loudly for each contestant, while enjoying the high-energy music and the freestyle dance moves.
Ho said he was happy to see so many people attending the event, adding that he will strive to make it into an annual event.
“Through this event, I want to make Greater Taichung a world-renowned hip-hop dancing city,” he said.