With only 18 years old she arrived alone to Guangzhou to study psychology and since then she has been struggling to gain her independence. Elaine doesn’t have a good relationship with her parents, they have such terrible couple arguments that these provoked a depression on Elaine when she was still a teenager. The lessons she is learning in her studies are helping her to understand herself and overcoming some of the problems that were caused to her.
“My parents used to argue a lot, I felt I was a very unlucky girl”
Elaine grew-up in Shenzhen, a city in the south of the province of Canton, which means “deep trenches” because the area is crossed by rivers and there are deep trenches in the rice fields. A year ago she arrived to Canton, where she shares the dormitory with other eight people from the university, and she goes back home to visit when she has free time. She has got a very busy working agenda, her top goal is to gain money in order to be independent and demonstrate that she can support herself.
“My parents’ opinion is the only thing that matters to me”
When she gets on the stage of the club where she works, she moves her flexible body in a glamorous way under the spotlights, but for her that is not dancing, just moving, “everyday we do the same sexy dance wearing that type of clothing for the audience” she says facing the facts.
C+ Club, the place where she works, is located in the Panyu district and it is no ordinary night club, her dance is part of the show that alternates with very talented Dj’s and singers.
Elaine began to dance when she was a child forced by her mother, who considers that a woman has to grow up with elegance and a sense of taste. For this reason she was signed up for ballet classes, a classical dance that entails a long history of sacrifice and hard work that Elaine wasn’t prepared to endure, “ it hurt and I didn’t enjoy the music”. Extending the legs and forcing the movements is not the way how Elaine understands dancing, she enjoys it when she expresses her emotions.
When she grew-up she started with lyrical jazz, a dancing style created from the fusion of ballet and contemporary jazz techniques. She practices it almost daily, with her own coreographies of Rihanna and Cristina Aguilera, in a silent corner at the university before going to the club to dance.
“Dancing to me is like drinking or eating, it is my habit”
Dancing is something that Elaine carries in her blood, “ I can´t explain that sensation, when I hear the music I want to shout with my body and express it with my movements”. She started to dance when she was 2 years old and she can’t even imagine stop dancing one day “that can´t happen! that can´t happen”, she says covering her smile once again. “I have to accomplish my wishes and ambitions before arriving to my thirties and having a family”. Her aspect is important to do her job, “ everyone wants to see young spectacular girls on the stage, that is the reality”. She thinks that having a good body is also important to dance and she is worried about the way in which her weight could affect her movements, “I want the audience to enjoy all the atmosphere of the choreography, I am one of those persons who gain weight easily if I don´t take good care of myself”.
Elaine carries her diet in a very strict way and generally she doesn´t have anything for dinner in order not to neglect her figure.
During the day time she is always busy and she has almost no time to eat. Many times she has a quick bite in the metro while she goes from one job to the other. Once she fainted and she had to go to the hospital, “ I have to take shakes and vitamins to keep strong muscles so I can dance”.
Elaine is a multi-task woman, she dances in a night club, but during the day she pushes forward her psychology degree, works as an interpreter from Chinese Mandarin into English, works as ballet instructor and choreographer of photographic sessions with models. “ I have so little time off that sometimes I study in the club dressing room during the breaks”. Elaine is the way in which her chinese name Yilin Kong is pronounced and she has adopted it as her occidental name.
She has been a fighter since she was a child because her parents didn’t give her much attention and she had to manage to get ahead. Although she considers that her bad family relationship is an issue of new chinese generations that have communication problems because they don’t express their thoughts clearly. In the future she would love to have a family and correct the lack of attention that her parents had towards her.
“What I would like to tell my children is that I am going to be there to help them in everything they need, and that they have to try to be independent and fight for what they want”
Acknowledgements: Sergio Merino, David Esteban y C+ Club.