Our Raving Anteaters

Nathan Duong | New University

Nathan Duong | New University

Electronic dance music is a genre of music that has recently surged in popularity across the nation and around the world with international festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival and smaller ones like Identity. The UC Irvine campus is certainly no exception to this growing trend, as evidenced by the enormous growth and passion of two new clubs on campus which emphasize and value electronic dance music: Electric Dance Union (EDU) and Ambience.

Electronic Dance Union, although focused on electronic dance music (EDM), is a club of various genres of music that  ultimately revolve around disc jockeying, also known as DJing.

“I initially joined EDU because I was interested in EDM,”  Dexter Fang, a third-year student, said. “After joining the club I learned that it was a hub for DJs. It’s nice because it’s not only a place where people can share ideas about DJing but where you could also learn how to DJ if you don’t already know how.”

While Fang does not know how to DJ, he does plan on learning. His interest was sparked by the fact that his two best friends are disc jockeys and by how intriguing DJing seems to appear.

Last year sophomore Andy Ong discovered that there was a group for gloving. Gloving, the act of using LED light-attached gloves to perform light shows in the dark, is a relatively new phenomena that is rising alongside EDM. Ong’s appreciation for gloving led him to search online for a campus club that revolved around the art, which was how he stumbled across Ambience. Ambience, a sister club of Electronic Dance Union, is all about gloving.

Ong makes note of the fact that his passion and appreciation for the art of gloving is so strong that he would have been more than willing to create a club of his own had he not come across Ambience.

As a former dancer, Ong appreciates gloving for the uniqueness, artistic nature and freedom it represents, akin to his former passion of dance.

Andy’s passion for the art is rooted in his early childhood as electronic dance music has been something which he has listened to from a very early age.

While contemporary music is often able to frame a narrative through lyrics, the wordless rhyme of electronic music lacks the same ability to tell a story by itself. The difficulty for electronic dance music to paint a real picture is where gloving is able to complement the genre of music.

More importantly, gloving provides people with an outlet to express themselves through EDM. Gloving contains several different concepts and techniques and possesses a variety of intricacies.

Ambience founder and senior Vincent Xu puts it this way: “essentially your hands are the paint brushes and your imagination is your canvas.”

This form of self-expression is unlike any other dance, which is perfect for people that are better with their hands than with their feet.”

Sophomore and first-year member Marco Sanchez calls Ambience a “really social, really cool group.”

Sanchez joined Ambience this past year, making time for the club from his first year when he had been too busy for it.

While initially attracted by the eye-catching lights, theatrics and performance of it all, Sanchez has come to recognize Ambience as a place like home, a place where he feels “welcomed in like family.”

While the club has mainly worked toward unifying individuals interested in gloving, the club also serves as a forum through which members may share and exchange light shows and other interests.

Although the idea of gloving carries certain negative connotations with it since it is known to be associated with the rave scene that often goes hand in hand with drugs, it also possesses the potential as an unconventional art form and medium of expression. One of the aims of Xu for Ambience is to pioneer a new direction for gloving as an art-form and continually push out the association of drugs.

Xu can recall one individual he met while boothing for Ambience at Anteater Involvement Day Fair  during fall quarter who is a testament to the fact that Ambience has steered in this new direction. In learning more about this individual, Xu realized something quite profound:

“Throughout his whole life he … was never able to dance, let alone walk. He always had a love for music but never had a way to use physical motions to express what he felt. Upon coming to UC Irvine, he experienced a miracle and is now barely able to walk. Discovering this form of dance has given him an avenue for self-expression that he never had before. Ambience changed his life.”

Electronic dance music, while at times tied to a controversial scene, possesses the ability to truly empower people — in a way we cannot intuitively foresee.

The presence of new clubs on campus like EDU and Ambience attests to the positive potential of today’s rising star in music.

EDM is inclusive, uplifting and creatively expressive. And in spite of the scene of night clubs, raves and drugs that our culture associates with the genre, one cannot simply ignore the real sense of enrichment and empowerment the presence of EDM has been able to provide to Anteaters.