How Three Guys In Neon Jumpsuits Helped Me Discover My True Passion
As a avid arts and culture lover (in addition to being an anime and K-pop nerd), I’ve definitely seen some ‘weird’ things. I, of course, find it all quite fascinating, but when I go into a show-and-tell with friends and family (when I just can’t keep it in any longer), you can tell that they’re really struggling against their instincts so that my feelings don’t get hurt: “Uh, yeah, it’s really cool that you like that stuff. How very open-minded of you”.
Anyways, one day, a few months ago, I was recommended a video by YouTube. In the thumbnail, I could see three people in neon jumpsuits, black masks and strawhats. Hmm… interesting. The moment this Thai song by Yinglee began, I was like, “Aleesha, this is weird. What are you doing?! You could be doing so many other things right now”. However, there was something about these three dancers in their neon jumpsuits. I could not resist smiling at the amazing fluidity, synchronicity and incredibly detailed movements of their choreography. Also, their interpretation of the song just made me so HAPPY!
This group is called the Dancing Strawhats. You must remember at this point that I had no idea what they looked like because their concept involves fully-covering black masks. Thus, the curiosity gap was created. I was sufficiently intrigued. I wanted more, so I went on a hunt of all the material I could find, putting my oh-so-resourceful research skills to work. I couldn’t find as much as I’d have liked, but I found a Facebook page and Instagram account. Both of these told me that they were based in Japan and I immediately thought, “Ah, makes perfect sense, must be my subconscious anime-senses kicking in. Maybe that’s why I liked them”. (Random fact: my first straw hat idol was Luffy from One Piece which is incidentally the first anime I ever watched).
While this train of thought continued, I discovered another group on YouTube called Quick Style. They were dancing to a song called ‘You Know’ by Jay Park and Okasian. As I mentioned earlier, I love K-pop and Jay Park is amazing, so it didn’t take much to get me to click on it. After just a few seconds of watching, I was shook: “No way! They’re Norwegian! One looks Thai/Indonesian/maybe Malay? and the other two look like they have South Asian background*. They’re dancing to a Korean song and filming in China. Plus, their choreography is LIT and they’re so in sync dammit. How cool can you get?!”.
*No offense intended, I just didn’t know much about Norway. I myself am Kenyan with an Indian background so I always find identity interesting.
Plot twist: I figured out that the Dancing Strawhats and Quick Style were the SAME 3 guys. Oh my goodness, you should have seen me go crazy trying to figure all this out. I finally found this awesome article about them on Neocha, Shanghai-based arts and culture magazine and creative agency, which gave me some background on Quick Style and explained that the Dancing Strawhats is one of their concepts. Everything now fit together perfectly. I was so proud of myself for knowing this information and for digging until I was able to figure it out. (And yes, this is how I entertain myself, just in case you were wondering).
Now, as far as YouTube wormholes go, this is quite a common series of events: I went from “Wow, this looks interesting” to being 20 videos in, knowing their names, following them on all social media platforms possible, and every time I hear a song they danced to, I think of their brilliant choreography (TBH this is how I got into K-pop in the first place. Amirite ARMY?!). However, what was the best thing about all of this is that it helped me reach a breakthrough in my ever-continuing quest to figure out my passion and purpose in life.
Like most people, I’m always asking myself what my purpose is. There’s an amazing quote by Mark Twain which goes, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”. I am someone who has a ton of interests and whose life is scattered with unfinished projects because I jump enthusiastically to another brilliant idea, a newfound love. This has sometimes left me feeling sad when I think about people who get really good at something because they’re super passionate about that one thing and grow through it and can thus contribute to the world in a more meaningful way.
As I watched more Quick Style videos and learnt more about their philosophy and vision, I thought, I’d love to work with people like this. They believe that everyone is capable of using dance to express themselves and that everyone has a unique style that should be nurtured. After all, a dance move in one culture could be considered strange in another context, but it’s all about being creative and developing confidence in yourself. Keep in mind that I’m someone who’s incredibly uncoordinated and too self-conscious to dance in public. Singing of course, is another matter. That is also nerve-wracking, but that I can deal with.
I think the main reason I was drawn to them is that one of their goals is so much in line with mine: they want to use dance to raise awareness about other cultures. I am fascinated by the power of the cultural arts to bring people together and if I had to think of a passion that has remained unwavering despite all the other interests, it has to be this. This began with my passion for singing as a child to being part of a 3-person rock band in high school to starting an organization called Artists for Change while at university. I want to provide a platform for socially-conscious artists from different genres and art backgrounds to have a wider reach through creative marketing and form new connections to expand and strengthen their existing projects while coming up with ideas for new ones.
With Quick Style, this incredible power to connect people is so apparent in the way they relate to anyone they work or interact with, the connections are deep, genuine and create a beautiful constellation, connecting souls across borders and seas. After much consideration, my future goal is to specialize in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy which I think, combined with my undergraduate degree in Foreign Service, will best place me for the kind of work I’d like to engage with in the near future. And more importantly, hopefully let me interact with and further the work of brilliant, socially-conscious artists like Quick Style.