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Taiwan's martial-arts breakdancer turns from fights to dance

2021-09-15
Focus Taiwan
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Taiwan's martial-arts breakdancer turns from fights to dance
Taiwan's martial-arts breakdancer turns from fights to dance

Taipei, Sept. 14 (CNA) From ritual performer to gang member, Taiwanese breakdancer Chen Bo-jin  has defied the odds over the years, turning from a life of fighting to dancing, and he has now been named as one of five winners of the 11th Presidential Culture Awards in Taiwan.

For Chen, who is also known as Bboy Bojin, the prestigious Presidential award that is given to some of the best on Taiwan's cultural scene is the culmination of a long journey to turn around his life.

"This is big recognition for me," the 39-year-old Chen said. "While there are a lot of people involved in the art of breakdancing, we are still not the mainstream."

Before becoming an influential figure on Taiwan's breakdancing stage, he was a ritualistic "Ba-Jia-Jiang" folk performer for temple activities and a gang member.

Ba Jia Jiang (Eight Generals) dancers, known for their colorful costumes and intricately painted faces, depict local temple and deity guardians who offer mystical protection, during religious ceremonies and events.

Born in Yilan, Chen was heavily inspired as a youth to learn martial arts, as he liked to watch films featuring the late action movie star Bruce Lee and read Japanese manga such as "Dragon Ball." The agile movements performed by Lee had arguably called to the already nimble Chen.

Around the age of 10, Chen made his foray into breakdancing when he was exposed to L.A. Boyz, Taiwan's first hip hop group.

The cool attitude displayed by the now disbanded trio in their performances introduced the young Chen to street athletics and urban clothing, and he was soon motivated to start practicing breakdancing and skateboarding.

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