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Apr 14, 2008
English News Writing
Feature Story I: Personal Profile
R96342011 Lo Yu-chia
In a rehearsal room, following the background music, with closed eyes, Antony Huang stretched his thighs and legs. He posed like a statue, but moved slowly in the gently shed lights.
Formerly, Huang was a postgraduate from the Institute of Polymer Science and Engineering, National Taiwan University, but gave up the laboratory works before obtaining his master’s degree. Nowadays, Huang is an intern dancer in Legend Lin Dance Theater(無垢舞蹈劇場).
What drove him to make the decision of changing the path of life?
“It was a long way of trial and error,” Huang said. “I realize that people cannot do what they don’t feel enthusiasm in as lifetime careers.”
Huang graduated from Chien-kuo Senior High School, the best high school in Taipei. Acknowledging that he had some talents on managing basic science, like physics, chemistry, and mathematics, Huang chose to study in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, NTU.
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As statistics showed, about 80 percent among all Chien-kuo Senior High School graduates take sciences and technology courses in universities; Huang’s decision is indeed a relatively “main-stream” one. Huang said that there was an atmosphere that boys should study science or technology if they have the ability to do so.
“Those who chose literature and social science would be seen as ‘the inferior’,” Huang said.
However, Huang confessed that at that time he hadn’t had any exact idea on his career plan. His decision was to obey the social expectation. His capability on academic subjects confined his freedom of choosing. He went to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering only because they offer a cross-course program, which meant Huang could determine what he does after graduation.
“But the path always indicated to be an engineer,” Huang said, with a bitter smile, “the only difference is the precise field I work in.”
When he kept going on, Huang gradually noticed that his capability of managing experiments and his school accomplishments did not guarantee the joy and achievement of life. Spending most of time on textbooks started to bore him. Wanting to escape from the laboratory, the “real school life”, Huang joined the modern dance club in NTU.
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Dancing opened another window for Huang. The training program he took in the modern dance club not only exercised his body but also cultivated his sense of art, and generated happiness after a long day of studying.
At that time, the idea of being a dancer hadn’t come to Huang’s mind yet.
“It’s about social expectation,” Huang explained. “Both high school and college students don’t have much imagination of future life – traditionally, to be an engineer, a lawyer, a doctor, or so on seemed a safer way of earning a life. I just thought I could make it.”
However, when Huang went to the graduate institute for further academic training program, he faced the real turning point of life. A series of experiment failure drove him depressed and despondent. Laboratory works took him 10 hours a day, and almost seven days a week. But all were in vain.
Huang began to shirk. He spent more time on dancing, and choreographed his first piece in 2006.
“In the process working with my team in the theater, I had the control,” Huang said and laughed. “On the contrary, I felt nothingness and powerlessness while reading my experimental reports. Suddenly I realize that I didn’t really want to be an engineer, which is what the society always expected boys to be.”
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Dancing was not only a harbor of refuge now, but also an option for career.
Chances occurred when Huang made the first step. He participated in music production with Lindance Company(林向秀舞團), and the success of the performance revealed the possibility of committing an art-related career. It was a totally different way of life – at least unimaginable when Huang kept striving toward gaining experimental data.
“We’re used to evaluating the ‘productiveness’ when we think of a ‘career’, which is only a ‘job’,” Huang said. “But art, particularly performing art, cannot be evaluated that way.”
The process of evaluating career options is difficult. But in Huang’s point of view, it’s simple: being economically poor but mentally rich, or reverse. Huang assumed that the key point is whether the subject brings happiness.
When in the laboratory, which he tried to flee from, Huang only gave out 20 percent endeavors. But in the rehearsal room, where he could set himself free, he might put up to “150 percent” striving on what he likes most.
“I’m no longer confused,” Huang said. “I’m free from the stereotype of being an engineer or a dancer. It’s my life. I don’t have to take care of others’ reaction. It’s not my responsibility.”
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Performing art gave Huang courage to start over. He spent almost six years in academy, on subjects he was utterly not interested in. After wandering a long way of trial and error, Huang thought he found the inner power of living from dancing. And he will brandish like a fluttering butterfly when the light sheds on the stage.
“Productiveness relates to price,” Huang added. “But don’t’ forget – just because you cannot value art nor ‘life’ by price, they are priceless.”