Young man dances into spotlight in China's Xinjiang

(Xinhua) 13:02, May 05, 2021

URUMQI, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Clad in a sweatshirt, baggy corduroy trousers and a grey woolen hat, Xirli Abudukirm draws the crowd's attention as he busts a move in the spotlight.

Xirli Abudukirm, 25, is a hip-pop dance instructor in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. In the eyes of many, he is a natural urban trendsetter. But the road to success has never been easy for him.

Born in rural Turpan, a prefecture-level city some 200 km away from Urumqi, he happened to see an electrifying hip-pop dance competition on TV at the age of 12, and was immediately drawn to the sport barely known among locals.

"It was just so cool," he said. "I was so eager to be one of them, and I began to imitate their moves at home."

However, with little access to actual dance training sessions, he could only study the dance numbers via online videos and practiced day and night in a small, slippery square nearby his home.

"Dancing with a roof overhead and in front of a full-length mirror was all I ever wanted," he said.

Despite training hard, he soon found his progress slow to a crawl.

"You know, it's just like wading across the river by feeling for stones," he said.

To make matters worse, his parents obstinately believed that hip-pop dancing was not a proper occupation, and that it could lead their child astray. They hoped Xirli Abudukirm could focus on his studies and lead a stable life as a teacher or doctor, or find other "stable jobs" in the future.

"I had my dream and I had to strive for it." Young as he was, Xirli Abudukirm possessed something that allowed him to continue to pursue his dream: bravery, resilience and perseverance.

"In fact, I was never good at moving to the beat of the music, so I often repeated a move a thousand times a day just to master it," he said. To win support and recognition from his parents, he practiced even harder and finally won a local dance competition. When he displayed the pair of sneakers he had won to his parents he felt that they began to gradually change their attitudes.

"Not many people have managed to turn their teenage dreams into a profession," he said. "I'm proud to be an exception, despite the many setbacks along the way."

Upon graduation, he made up his mind to become a professional dancer. Xirli Abudukirm currently works in a private dance studio with scores of other instructors in Urumqi. For him, it is a place where people of different ethnic groups work together for a common dream.

Every week, he sharpens his dance skills by comparing notes with his colleagues in a routinely held training session. He thinks his job provides him with a platform where he is able to enhance his competitiveness and work to become a top hip-pop dancer in Xinjiang and beyond.

These days, as a leading instructor in the studio, he earns a monthly income of 10,000 yuan (about 1,545 U.S. dollars).

"I have an awesome team, work in a promising industry, and I love dancing," he said. "I am so lucky to be able to chase my dream." 

(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)


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