UBC K-Wave wins first place for dance performance at the Vancouver Bubble Tea Festival

UBC's K-Wave dance team recently won first place at the talent show at the Vancouver Bubble Tea Festival, which took place at Swangard Stadium in Burnaby on July 22 and 23. The festival celebrated the growing popularity of bubble tea, which has become a common treat in Vancouver.

UBC Taiwanese Association (TA) co-hosted the festival, which was organized by the Canadian Community Action and Restorative Empowerment Society (C-CARES).

Bubble tea originated in Taiwan in the 1980s, and caught on in China, Vietnam and North America in the 1990s. Posters at the festival described how in Taiwan, bubble tea is not merely a food but a symbol for the island’s culture.

On July 22, the sky was gray, but no rain splattered during the beginning of this festival. The sky turned sunny around 2 p.m. to shine on the community organizations which supplemented the festival programming.

The Chinese Cultural Inheritance Association helped festival attendees to make paper lanterns and tapioca balls. The boba-making procedure is quite simple because the ingredients are easily accessible: tapioca powder, brown sugar and water. The Buddhist Tzu-chi Foundation also handed out brochures and fortune-telling cards to attendees to Vancouver Bubble Tea Festival.

The highlight of the festival, the Tai Ke Rock talent show, took place the next day. The stakes were high, as the performers competed for $3,000 plus a round trip from Vancouver to Taipei.

Following a band called Crimson Tea, the nine members of UBC K-Wave started dancing around 1:50 p.m. They danced to "Maniac" by Stray Kids, "Sorry Sorry" by Super Junior and ""Play" by Chung Ha. The choreography was based on the original music videos, but adapted to K-Wave's capacity abilities.

“We change formations depending on the number of people and to ensure everyone gets some spotlight in the centre," said third-year computer science student and K-Wave co-captain Adam Chen.

The tone of their dancing moved from excited and uptempo to mild and graceful, creating an engaging contrast between each song. The K-pop dancers kicked their legs and waved their arms, jumped and slid on the stage, and occasionally came together and dispersed in a wave of highly organized and choreographed chaos.

When the Tai Ke Rock Show was finished, festival organizer Eric Yang announced that the UBC K-Wave won first prize for the rock show. The entire dance team celebrated enthusiastically onstage.

"We were so honoured to place first at the bubble tea festival," wrote Chen afterwards in a message to The Ubyssey. "With the money, besides celebrating with the team, we're excited to really amp up our club's equipment."

They hope to buy lights, mirrors for practicing and potentially a boom box.

"As for the trip to Taipei, one of our member's mothers has been wanting to go to Taiwan for awhile, so we've decided as a team to gift her the ticket!" wrote Chen.

With files from Tova Gaster