SURREY â€” The next time you see Clarence Tang on the stage, he’ll have changed enormously since you last saw him dance.
The former Surrey dancer boogied into his dance career in 2010, paid by the city to dance on the Surrey Celebration Dance Team. The group was a city-backed initiative to have performers at Surrey’s 2010 Olympic Games’ celebration site at Holland Park.
Now, five years later, Tang will be hitting the stage, pulling a different kind of move: he’ll be in drag.
"It’s the first time (I’ll be doing drag) in this kind of context," the 23-yearold dancer admitted, who will perform in the Small Stage point 5 dance show that will run for four days over Valentine’s weekend at Vancouver’s The Emerald.
The variety show pairs dancers with musicians in a multi-genre performance. Notable team-ups include singer-songwriter Louise Burns with burlesque dancer Burgundy Brixx, and Delhi 2 Dublin DJ/producer Tarun ‘Tspoon’ Nayar with Odissi classical Indian dancer Scheherazaad Cooper.
As for Tang and his partner’s performance?
"My partner just wanted to blind people with glitter and sparkles and fabulousness. That’s his goal," Tang said with a laugh.
Though it’s been quite a few years since Tang has danced for Surrey’s Celebration Dance Team, he said he still reveres the experience as one of his greatest.
"It wasn’t my first experience but I feel like, especially with Surrey Celebration Dance Team, it was probably one of the best," he told the Now.
"I remember when the site had just opened. I remember performing in front of this sea of endless people that were watching us, how many people come out for their community events. That’s something Surrey has an abundance of: community support."
Tang, whose street-dance style specialty is waacking (pronounced "whacking"), said the most determined dancers he knows hail from Surrey.
"I meet so many dancers from Surrey and I feel like they’re so passionate about what they do, especially the ones who don’t have much; they make the most of what they have."
And for Tang’s upcoming performance, he’ll be using the most of what he has: an experience enriched by his time on the Surrey Celebration Dance Team and his love for waacking.
"(Waacking) is about expressing who you are, whatever that means to you. If you have a lot of masculine energy, you can use that or even a lot of feminine energy, you can use that, too," he said.
"You can do anything with it and you can just express yourself. I find the weirder you are in it, the better. It’s not about looking like everyone else."
Small Stage point 5 kicks off tonight (Feb. 12) and runs until Feb. 15 at The Emerald (555 Gore Ave., Vancouver). Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 at Emeraldsupperclub.com.
See video of Surrey Celebration Dance Team in action during the 2010 Games: