Editor's Note: The third SCNU English writing contest, themed "Telling China's Story", ended with 422 entries from 33 different schools. We congratulate all prize winners on their outstanding performance. Awarded winners have been announced (see results), and all winning entries will be published in this column.


By Li Jingxuan

Now I am looking at her, a shy girl trying very hard to move her body to music, with a pair of innocent eyes staring at me hesitantly——in order to learn how to dance.

It's a cloudless night of my freshly unfolding sophomore year, when I am presenting my first class as a non-proficient newly appointed captain of our street dance club, in fear and stress. Through mirrors, I see those questioning faces and clumsy steps, including her, a freshman girl totally without experience of dance. Why did I let her in? I ask myself, slightly unwilling to walk beside her to teach her with my own disposition to diffidence, yet at the same time, being flooded by those stories evoked by her familiar timid eyes.

Exactly a year ago, I stepped into this place with the same pair of hesitant eyes, at the instructions of my parents to "find some ways to do exercise". Wearing clothes of military training, damp with perspiration, bringing nothing but a little experience of radio-broadcast gymnastics, I chose a corner to stand unconfidently, but then gradually, fully immersed in the passionate atmosphere aroused by the leading girl: Through rows of people, I saw her, the fashionable pink-haired captain, bouncing to the drumbeats of music, shouting aloud to depict the sensation of steps, and her body grooving with every feeling of comfort. Following her teaching, I found it so wonderful that I forgot all my fear and sorrow enjoying controlling my body, as if I could manage anything. Infected by her glamour, I savored the passion of dance for the first time, determined to join this club.

That's the story of my first sight of our street dance club, all about passion. 

Rewinding back to the current life, I see the freshman girl awkwardly mimicking me, dropping her head, eyes shadowed with shame.


Our first performance, a simple but wonderful dance designed by three captains for us amateurs.

A similar shame struck me during Halloween last year. As a novice of dance for less than two months, I rushed to the party after a boring conference, only to find myself in an embarrassing situation of battling with a dancing veteran, using my limited technique. The outcome was doubtless: I lost, disgracefully. The veteran girl whipped a series of maneuvers of jazz dance, receiving applause from all people, while I just simply stood there, recalling nothing but one or two scattered actions, waiting for the endless 30 seconds to finish. After that, the judge asked the audience to point out the winner they reckoned. I stood beside her, blushing with my lowered head and soaked in pure shame. As anticipated, nearly all of the audience pointed out the girl——except for the former captain, who taught us in absence of our current captain for a whole year, even during her internship. She reached out her arms, pointing straight to me with a smiling face, saying, "Yes, it is embarrassing, but at least you have the courage!", which she, and the winning veteran girl indeed said to me later.

That's the second memory about our crew, a story of care.

The freshman girl drags my attention back. She is a little discouraged, yet still striving to dance with as big movements as she can, as I requested, which recalls another story.

I think of those days when we were training for a forthcoming performance, when I was trying that hard to meet captains' requirements. Under the urgency, the 3 brothers and sisters spent 3 days designing a dance suitable for us, one of whom even stayed up for a whole night, for we were too amateur to learn sophisticated techniques. They could have given a performance of high skills, which was totally what they liked, but they chose to perform with us, to bring us onstage, even though that meant they had to use more time yielding a moderate effect. Maybe, I thought, it was for responsibility.

Responsibility...yes, I remember. Last semester, when the former captain was struggling with her internship and graduation thesis, she once came here in fatigue, saying "I don't want to teach, but just want to chat with you guys". She mentioned how she had been nervous when appointed as a captain, how she endeavored to practice dancing for a whole summer holiday since she was not proficient enough to teach, and how much she wanted to dance with us were it not for her incoming graduation. She said: "I know it's hard that you beginners have to teach other beginners. But it's your responsibility once you choose to stay, to pass down the passion for dance. Don't be afraid, all of us have gone through this process."

Those are another two stories about our crew, stories of responsibility.

Passion, care, and responsibility. More and more stories about our street dance crew started to pass in and close before my eyes. I remember how strict and patient those elders were when preparing a performance with us, and the scene where our former captain stopped to wait for the one who was walking alone in unfamiliarity with crew members. I remember how my teammates and captains encouraged me when I posted some depressed words, and how relieved I felt when we gathered to have a meal, even if it was just McDonald's......


We were delighted chatting randomly with all members of the freshmen, captains and former captains.

These are stories about dancing, but not just about dancing. They are about everything: passion, care, responsibility, warmth, relief, and every other feeling beyond words. All these stories unfold and close, composing our dear little street dance club, just as in other associations of hundreds, as at South China Normal University.

Back to the question I asked at the beginning, "Why did I let her in", now I am sure that's because it's my duty to continue those stories, to inherit and pass down the passion for dance as the former captain said, the care for every people of our crew, and the responsibility itself as a dancer or a leader, and everything related to friendship and belief, everything worth relishing. And just like in our club, though myriads of alumni have receded into the memories, as long as we, our generation shoulder the responsibility to inherit, to go through the lonely and nervous process all alumni members have been through, our stories of South China Normal University, of our country, will never come to an end. As the sentence in A Tale of Two Cities, it's time for our generation to conduct our Greatnesses and myriads of small people along the roads that lie before us.

Reveries over, back to the cloudless night, my first class. I walk to the inexperienced yet myself-similar freshman girl, defeating my character of diffidence, to teach her the point of every step. I know that in SCNU, in this small yet meaningful place of an ordinary street dance club, a new story begins.

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