Founded in 2014, Wuzee is a Chinese fusion dance group which strikes a balance between traditional Chinese dance styles and more western contemporary styles. Her dances range “from very traditional Chinese/ethnic dances to ballet and hip-hop ccomponents”, said senior and co-captain Claire Liu.
Liu explained that Wuzee’s fusion of different styles results in a celebration of culture and modernity, which is evident in the band. the story.
In the past six years, Wuzee became a versatile and popular band. This welcomed his first showcase in 2017 entitled “on the other side of the mirrorwhich is inspired by English author The series “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll (1865-1871). Since then, the group has performed at events like the IParade of the Nation of International Clubss and the Tufts Ballroom Team Winter Showcase.
“We had a showcase every year,” said senior and co-captain Zihan Yu, “and we had dance practices where each dance group met and practiced once a week at less.”
At Wuzee social aspect resembles many other Tufts clubs. Liu, who was social chairman, explained that the group “[tries] have whole team bonds” to build a community among members. She described a few events, including the group’s gift exchange of white elephants in December.
Wuzee also attempted a family structure in the group to bond among the members, but the group noticed bonding activities in the dance worked better. “The members meet their dances and have a great opportunity to get to know them better,” Liu added.
The group has enjoyed strong membership and participation since becoming a subgroup of the Tufts Chinese Student Association in 2016 – especially in the past academic year. “We had 10 to 15 students,” Yu explained, “and last year we doubled that.”
At Wuzee the growing popularity could be attributed to many things – including increased visibility at campus showcases and performances – but it’s really a testament to their dedication to welcoming dancers of all backgrounds and experiences.
“We are very open and we do not organize auditions. And we encourage anyone who is interested to join the group, so you don’t need to be Chinese or have any dance experience,” Liu explained. She says most of the current Wuzee members don’t have major dance experience and are taught by senior members, captains, and other more experienced dancers.
The dances themselves vary in size, so there are plenty of opportunities for new members to get noticed and for senior members to show off. “Our big group dances, which the whole team usually does together, are led by coaches who choreograph them,” Liu said.
And as with the smaller dances, the leaders are responsible for teaching the choreography to the team. As the team learns and practices, other members seek costumes, music, design and other to make performances refined and exciting. But it is ultimately a collaborative process to create and presentyou the five to eight dances that Wuzee performs in his display cases.
At Wuzee the collaborative spirit is not only felt in its creative process; the group regularly carried out at other events and has other bands play at its own showcases. “It’s usually other cultural performance groups,” Yu said. “We had Spirit of the Creative, Sarabande, Middle Eastern Dance, and Full Sound, the Chinese a cappella group.”
Sure, Wuzee’s in-person work has changed due to COVID-19. “All of our dances were uploaded,” Yu said, “and we held a virtual community meeting.” As in previous years, members Register for the dances they want to participate in. But learning the dances — some of which are from last year — involves asynchronous instructional videos and office hours for members to work on the dances individually.
Wuzee is also hosting a showcase this year, but it’s unclear whether or not that will happen in person or virtually. “We would probably do a synchronous online screening and involve people watching it and then giving feedback,” she added.
At Wuzee resilience to keep the group popular and engaging throughout the CCOVID-19 is certainly admirable. The group’s goal is to best adapt to current times and maintain the group’s presence as an important crossroads of cultural and artistic expression. “It’s a really welcoming group and such a place where we can have a really supportive and great community,” Liu said.