Free spirit is top of pops

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 January, 2011, 12:00am

Name: Popper88
Born: Hong Kong
Zodiac: Pisces
Chinese zodiac: Pig

In middle school ... everyone was required to be really neat and tidy. Pretty much everyone had mushroom cuts. I had one too, and that's the way I looked. There used to be a television programme called [Good Luck Vampire], with a character named 88 [literally 'double eight']. He really looked like me. My face was really skinny then, so a lot of my classmates would call me Uncle 88. I didn't like uncle, so they said, OK then [we'll call you] 88. I added Popper to my nickname because I dance a style called popping. People who dance this style are often called poppers.

I never took ... formal dance or pop lessons. Back then we didn't have YouTube and there wasn't really anyone who could teach popping. I taught myself on the street. I was one of the first to go to the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and practise in front of a mirror outside the Space Museum. That was in 2000, around October.

In high school ... I was always worried about what I would end up doing. I've always loved dancing. I'd be at a restaurant eating and I'd still be dancing. I'm not kidding - like right now, sitting here holding a pen or having a drink, I can add popping to it. I'd pop all the time in my daily activities. Every movement and action I'd put it into dance. Now it's not so bad, but before I couldn't stop popping. I just kept dancing and got to where I am now. It's been a blessing, because this is what I want to do.

My signature move is ... putting a two-dollar coin on my stomach and making it flip over and over again, because I can make a wave with my stomach. I started doing this when I was really young. I never copied anybody, but others have done it too. When I first started performing, it was sort of my signature move, kind of my flavour then, but now I don't do it anymore.

I teach dance ... seven days a week. I even offer private lessons. People can check out my website and contact me. I can set up a personal course for them. I teach individuals, at middle schools, the IVE [Institute of Vocational Education], universities and at studios.

One of the most important things about dance is ... knowing how to freestyle. A lot of dances in Hong Kong are choreographed. People will listen to a song and create steps. A lot of teachers do that too. After the students learn a certain set of steps, they think they can dance. But even if you learn for 10 or even 20 years, when you hear another song you won't be able to dance to it, because you don't understand the concept of freestyle. Freestyle is spontaneous and never planned.