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Design Project - Berlin Underground


Design Project - Berlin Underground

A lot of people ask what I'm doing in Berlin. Of course I'm not just traveling around and writing blog. I'm in a study abroad program held by Art Center College of Design and doing a project until Oct 30. There are 10 students in this program and most of them are from graphic design. Each of us has individual project and it has to related to Berlin underground (not main-stream culture, alternative). It's great coming back to school surrounded by creative kids and have so much freedom doing my own design project. (In my previous intern, clients had a lot of saying. )

It's not easy to see underground culture and figure it out what we want to do for our project in a week especially most of us came to the US as the first time. We don't speak any German either... We have German language (jaaa!) and culture class which the teacher, Michael, will take us around the city or into the museums. So we understand the Berlin history more than the average tourists. We also have Tuesday German movie night which made me very, very depressing because it was really messed up... 

To have our own perspective towards this special city, in the first week we were asked to explore as much as we could and gave a subjective presentation as group.

We use the cool website called "New hives" where you can mix and overlap the different media on one page. Check out our page (Michelle / Franco / me) -

At the beginning of the second week, each of us pitched three ideas and then decided one to work on. 

Normally I won't talk about my project until the final presentation because it changes all the time lol I'm pretty sure what I'm doing now and I've been here for a month so it's good time to take a record. Next week will be the midterm presentation so the concept is getting solid. 

Let me introduce the new experimental dancing studio - EMOSCHÖN

SCHÖN = Beautiful in German. So it's a kind of dance about emotion and beautiful. That's how much I can tell you now haha. Will keep it posted after organizing my research.

When I pitched the three ideas at the second week, apparently dancing was the strongest one because I love it. (Previous article about how I love dancing) Before I went to dancing studio when I wanted to take a break from the academic work or design projects. Now going to the dancing studio is also part of the research. How great is that! But I started to try different genres of dance that I never thought I would try such as modern dance technique, contemporary dance (gaga, contact improvisation). I still like street dance so I go to different dancing studios every week. Also see some dancing performance to get some inspiration. 

Here's the list of the dancing studios I've been:
Flying steps academy (the monopoly of street dance studio in Berlin. really nice studio)
Tanz Fabrik (contemporary)
Motion Tanz Berlin (contemporary / street dance)
DanceWorks (Modern / contemporary)

Some classes are taught in German and that was really..... challenging.... Seriously, German is so HARD!!! I really like to live in Berlin but I don't want to learn German...(I never practiced speaking German with Berliners because I don't think anyone will understand what I'm talking...)


Dance - Free the authentic you


Dance - Free the authentic you

I LOVE dancing especially street dance such as HIPHOP, HIPHOP Jazz, Burlesque Jazz, House and Dancehall (Reggae). I'm not a cool kid started practicing dancing since I could walk; I began to learn HIPHOP groove when I was studying in the university in Taiwan (NTHU). I don't have talent in dancing so it took me so much time to make my body move like "dancing". 

The main reason I liked about dancing at that time is that it freed me from the stress while focusing on body movement. My mind was occupied with the music rhythm and really paid attention to control different parts of body. I like HIPHOP because it expresses my inner intense emotion (anger? lol)

At school's dancing club, I mainly learned from the more experienced students in the same club. But I feel I learn and improve much more in professional dancing studio. People might think it must be expensive. Actually, it's quite affordable in most of the dancing studios I visited: USD $11-16/ class. I saved my meal fee for dancing class haha

You don't need to be good at dancing to enjoy it. It's also not good just trying to be cool showing off your skill. You have to LISTEN to the music. Really Listen. People can see if you're true to yourself and music while you're doing freestyle solo. That's also the reason why I like people in the dancing studio. They are real.

I sincerely respected all the dancing teachers I met no matter what style they teach. Somtimes they would tell us the history, spirit, development of a specific dancing style and share his/her experience. Dancing is also the process of finding yourself; fuse your style into the dance; use your body to express the emotion; share and communicate with your dancing buddies; act according to the music and choreography even though you're shy inside. Once I took the Burlesque Jazz in Debbie Reynolds in LA, we had to wear high heals and put on red lipstick. While practicing catwalk, the teacher stopped the music and looked at me. "Are you a shy person?" he asked. I answered timidly: "I guess so." He said no matter what kind of person I am, I should express sexy side of a woman. I come from the relative conservative culture which people usually repress emotion and sexy may refer to slutty. I was scared and insecure and not used to walk with high heels. After several classes of practice and his stimulation (he would say "give me your eyes! teasing me! teasing me!" when he passed by me), I gradually allowed myself being sexy and enjoyed the feminine dance. 


Last week I went to Illadelph Legends of Hip Hop Festival Bay Area 2015 held by Embodiment Project. I was meant to help a girl filming the event and interview with the teacher and join some classes. The opening on Jun 25 (Thu) was about introducing the purpose of the event, teachers who traveled from different places to SF, and the history of HIPHOP. I noticed they talked a lot about the topic of racism and also expressed in the dancing in the performance on Sat night in Zspace. I have to say that dancing performance was one of the best show I've ever seen!! It totally blew my mind. Fluent and stunning dance, powerful storyline, great acting, and professional visual presentation made everyone stand up and clap after 2-hr show. I didn't expect the girl danced with me as a partner earlier in the House class was also the performer on the stage!! (I was flattered)

Dancing is lots of fun! Learning dancing might be frustrating sometimes but it's probably not your problem. Some teachers prefer show fancy stuff which intimidates people have no fundamentals. Below is the list of dancing studios I've been and I highly recommend:

Broadway Dance Center in NY

Debbie Reynolds Dancing Studio  in LA

Taiwan: MM (I've never been there but my friends teach there), MIX, DanceSoul

Let's go dancing!! :-D


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