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Huan Ying To Wuhan!
Posted on Aug 6
My amazing journey continues to the warm and friendly city of Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei Province. The NBA CREW greeted me at the Airport with a tour guide ready to introduce me to this magnificent city. This modern metropolis city has unlimited possibilities, is situated in the heart of CHINA, and is a subtropical and humid city. I could feel the thickness of the air the moment I arrived. It was an hour long ride to the hotel.
The “Dance Passion Show” is really starting to flow and each stop becomes more and more familiar with all the costuming and music selections. After a series of meetings (and comfort food), it was time to relax with a good book and a soft pillow, and get some much needed SHUT EYE to prepare me for an early morning schedule.
Our next (rise and shine) day started very early, since the facility for the training camp was about an hour away from the hotel. The ride was so beautiful. We traveled to the venue along side the world's third longest river, the giant Yangtse River (Chang Jiang), and we could actually see where the Han River passes through the city.
Having famous scientific, technological and educational institutions in Wuhan, it was ideal to have our training camps and tapings at the WUHAN UNIVERSITY. What an intellectual city! It was interesting to chat with a professor from the university about culture and the educational system.
Several hours of dancing, teaching, talking about the life of an NBA dancer, and conducting interviews then back to the hotel to get ready for the evening taping.
Kicking off the Wuhan Stop was a large event in the middle of the mall. What a surprise to see this big WALMART in this CHINA MALL.
Upon arrival, I signed the WALL OF FAME, then taped many interviews with the local media. It was stage time again; The STAGE PERFORMANCE was in the atrium of the mall in front of levels of FANS. Crowds were so loud but supportive. What an Event!
Back to the hotel, grab a bite to eat, get some more rest, and prepare for another early morning.
The following morning (early) was back to the training facility for more dancing.
After several hours of review and doing a few interviews on the side, we quickly packed up our things and headed out in search for a place to watch the airing of the Xiamen show. In the remote area of Wuhan, where the University is located, no restaurants had a Television for viewing. After several stops, we took in a few sights along the shore. The shores of East Lake are filled with gardens of flowers, especially the famous LOTUS FLOWER. We couldn’t help but stop and smell the lotus!
In the afternoon we had more meetings with CCTV and updates on the schedule for the big show tomorrow.
We took time to relax at one of my favorite local places “Pizza Hut.” Not Chicago style, but it does have a 20 page menu from Pizza to Sushi.
Much DO REST was next on the agenda.
The final day of TAPING began with a dress rehearsal and run through of the show in the morning. Watching and observing the girls, it was obvious they had really practiced over the past few days to get ready for the big day. This is rewarding to me as a coach, for I always stress to the dancers that their dedication of time and practice will bring out much improvement.
After our run through of entrances and exits as well as all the lighting for all performances, we headed back to the hotel.
On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at one of the many venders on the side of the lake and picked up some LOTUS SEEDS to snack on. What a treat. Kinda crunchy with a light refreshing flavor, they were interesting to pull apart, but a delight to eat. We also tried the local delight of Water Chestnuts. We then stopped for the Wuhan specialty snack, “JINDWU duck neck.” I was told that JINGWU duck neck chain stores pop up all over China, but the duck neck available in WUHAN is rated as the most authentic, so I had to try it! Very Spicy, but Very Favorable.
Arriving at the venue, Ms. Yan Xu, Vice President and President-Marketing of Tsingtao Brewery, requested a brief meeting with me (our first meeting was in Shenyang) to catch up and chat about the last few cities we had taped.
More interviews and photo shoots with local media.
Ms. Yan Xu is a wonderful woman with such class and sophistication but also loves to have some fun. I even taught her how to poise like a dancer and eagerly showed her a few dance moves.
It was SHOW TIME. I performed the opening number with the girls. judged throughout the show, demonstrated some 8 counts, and performed my SOLO. Much fun, time passed fast, the taping was finished, and then it was time for me to be on stage and vote for my favorite dancer.
On the show, I am given overall choice to vote for my favorite to advance to the semifinals. Such Pressure!!! As they announced the winners, fireworks exploded around the stage, confetti fell, and tears of joy were seen on the contestants’ faces. It is such an exciting and emotional rollercoaster for these girls. Their dreams are to dance on the court of an NBA game, and this is their first step towards that goal. I am loving this.
Always after the shows, more pictures and autographs to sign. Feeling somewhat exhausted and ready for a good night rest, the evening was not over yet. Ms. Yan Xu invited me to accompany her and many of the Tsingtao Executives along with the producers of the show to a dinner at a beautiful local restaurant. We had a delicious meal of Wuhan specialties, delightful conversation, and many toasts with Tsingtao Beer.
Late evening! Early Morning! Whichever one might call it, it is all worth it. An early morning flight took me back to Hong Kong to prepare for the next CHINA ADVENTURE.
Signing Off For Now.
Until Next Time,