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GDCrew was interviewed in the 12th issue of COSTOP magazine, which to my understanding is a fairly well-known fashion/cosplay magazine in mainland China. (You can see that Ukrainian cosplayer/cosplay photographer kirawinter was featured in this magazine too, doing an interview on cosplay culture in Ukraine.)

GDCrew's interview had a little more to do with their One Piece skit last year than their Gintama skit this year, I felt, but it also has a lot of insight into how the team works. Translated text with photos below the cut!

GDCrew Interview
"The Fervent Reaction of Dreams and Love"

Leader's Message*:
Actually, everything I have to say I have been saying to everyone every day.
Maybe in the future, we'll all go our separate ways.
But no one can erase the beautiful memories of our time together.

* These are Lie's words of course

In March of 2009, Lie returned from Beijing to his hometown of Tonghua in Jilin Province, a city that had never previously known cosplay. Together with his friends Daqiang and KEY (T/N: Gintoki and Hattori respectively in this year's Gintama skit), he formed GDCrew, a cosplay team founded in friendship and dauntlessness. These young people, brought together by a reaction of dreams and passion, would one day take that energy to the national stage.

Team Leader Introduction:
Lie, from Tonghua, Jilin, Senior Cosplayer
Began cosplaying in Beijing in 2004, returned to the Northeast to continue his cosplaying career in 2009. In the past 7 years, he has won CJ COVER COSER's award for Best Male Cosplayer, OACC's Best Performance Award, 2010 Junma Cup Gold Medal for Individual Performance, among other distinctions. He has led GDCrew to nationals for 3 consecutive years, winning the Best Action/Choreography category each year. His signature cosplays include Byakuya Kuchiki (Bleach), Itachi (Naruto), Kyo Kusanagi (The King of Fighters), Sol (Guilty Gear).

Q: Team Leader Lie, where does the team name GDC come from? Is there a special meaning?
A: Before coming in contact with cosplay, GDC was a bboy dance crew from 2004-2008. The Chinese name was "神舞阁", literally "God Dance Crew" in English, so GDC was an acronym derived from that. Founding member KING (T/N: this year's Madao cosplayer) came up with the name. Afterwards in 2009, we turned to cosplay, and GDC underwent a substantial change in meaning — Great Dreamer Crew. Of course, if you want to take it to mean "勾搭团" (T/N: I'm not up to snuff on the slang Chinese kids use these days, is this like saying they're a "gang"? lol) that's fine, too.

Q: GDCrew always has this distinct style blending choreography and acting that sets your performances apart. How did this come to be?
A: Choreography and acting is GDCrew's calling card, and this has a lot to do with the personal strengths of GDCrew's leaders. We started out in 2009 with a bunch of dance teachers and student athletes, and that year at CJ Cosplay nationals we won in the Best Action/Choreography category (T/N: In 2009 GDC put on a Bust A Groove routine). In 2010, our recruiting standards of course had this kind of inclination, and our new members were all very athletic kids who loved to perform. In the writing of the script (T/N: In 2010 GDC did a One Piece skit), Daqiang and KEY were in charge of choreographing all of the dance portions, and going along with the athletic abilities of the members we increased the difficulty level of the action choreography. This is really how GDCrew established our style.

Q: Watching GDCrew perform, one really gets the feeling that GDCrew members are extremely talented individuals. Is this the result of your training regime? Or is talent one of your specific recruiting standards?
A: To be honest, there are only two requirements for GDCrew members: first, to love cosplay; second, to love GDCrew. The impression that everyone has of GDCrew members all being dancers and martial artists is the result of a lot of hard work. Of course, when recruiting new members, we look for healthy, athletic individuals who will be able to keep up with our training. The main difference between our rehearsals when compared to other cosplay teams is that we spend much more time on ours. Really most teams rehearse up to like 2 months before going to compete, while we take from 3 to 4 months, rehearsing 3 to 4 days every week. For the first two months we don't even touch the script, it's all strictly training: working out, coordinating action, poses, expressions, moving, blocking, etc., basically learning to use the stage. If one can't physically keep up with all this, it's difficult to perform with GDC.

Q: When talking about GDCrew, it's impossible not to bring up the adorable little child cosplayers. Care to share with us who they are?
A: Actually, all those kids are our Daqiang's dance students. Daqiang is a professional dance instructor. In our remote little town, it's extremely rare to get the opportunity to perform on a national level, so their parents were all very supportive. When rehearsals got into crunch time, the kids would come straight to the studio from school, carrying their schoolbags, and do their homework during breaks in rehearsal. These kids were so dedicated, whether on or offstage, they really brought a spark to GDCrew.

Q: What's the criteria for choosing a cosplay subject for GDCrew as a team?
A: Whatever suits us best. Sometimes what you like the most might not be the most important factor, the most important thing is finding the perfect subject for the entire group. When a member finds the perfect cosplay, it's really like a chemical reaction: substance A meets substance B resulting in substance C. It's the same principle when a cosplay team brings a subject that they can all put their passion behind. That's how you put on a performance that ignites the audience.

Greetings from Individual Members

"Hey everyone, I'm GDCrew's Daqiang. I'm really just a no-name newbie cosplayer. Lie dragged me into cosplaying three years ago (wait, do I still count as a noob in that case? lol), but I've yet to do a quality cosplay because I've been so busy with stage performances. After One Piece and Gintama, I promise not only to work harder on bettering our performances but to also improve my individual cosplay and maybe have a decent cover cosplay to show for the future. (T/N: I'm not sure what we call "cover cosers", which is how the chinese refer to not the skit performances but just cosplay with a focus on the models and the costumes...) I'm really glad COSTOP took notice of us, and I hope that there will be more friends who anticipate and support GDC!!"

"Hey everyone~ I'm GDCrew's Toki-wen I'm so happy to meet COSTOP's readers~ This is my very first time appearing in this magazine~ This has been a really enriching year. To be able to compete alongside everyone in GDCrew is the one thing I look forward to the most every year; it's the one thing that brings me the most joy! I came to know cosplay through 2010's One Piece skit and had the opportunity to get even more involved through 2011's Gintama skit. After the competition was over, I had to apply for college~ But I never intend to give up cosplay, and in the future, I'll continue to do new cosplays in Beijing~! Please keep supporting GDCrew, everyone~"

"Hello to all of COSTOP's readers! I am GDCrew's Shinpachi (T/N: Oops, my bad.) Meiya. I joined the crew in 2010. Prior to that, I was just one huge One Piece fan. After seeing GDCrew's 2010 One Piece skit, I was like, do or die, I gotta join the GDCrew family! Man, I've only been cosplaying for just a year, haven't I? My cosplay idols are 岚陵萧萧声 and Lie! In this year's Gintama skit, I played Shimura Shinpachi, and I hope everyone was satisfied with my performance!"

"My first time in COSTOP magazine! I'm so honored. I am GDCrew's Wai, and although now I'm away at school in Didu, my heart is still tightly connected to the folks back home. I came to love cosplay through 2010's One Piece skit. That year I was Tashigi, while this year in the Gintama skit I played Sarutobi Ayame. Right now (T/N: There really is no way in English to say "the me at the present" is there? ;n;) I really miss those times I spent practicing and living with everybody! Even now I will continue to try my hardest for GDCrew. Everyone in GDCrew, do your best!"

"Hey everyone, I'm KEY. In the blink of an eye, GDCrew is already 3 years old. From that day in 2009 when Lie came back from Beijing, a greenhorn cosplay team with dreams in our hearts bravely took our first step. We have grown from our experiences, and little by little, Chinese cosplayers have grown familiar with our little town. No matter what hardships we may face in the future, as long as we all stick together, GDCrew will keep walking forward with our backs straight!"


Links you'll want to check out:

GDCrew's One Piece skit (unsubbed) on youtube.

kularock's flickr set has over a hundred high quality photos from GDCrew's One Piece performance at nationals last year!

My GDCrew appreciation post has ~70 photos from this year's Gintama skit. (I have saved over 700 photos of GDCrew, and I don't even know what to do with them, so if there's anything you'd like to see, I do take requests. I have sent countless pictures to ppl via email, skype, etc. So just let me know what you want!)

The #gdcrew tag on my tumblr is updated much more frequently with photos than my blog here.

Date: 2011-12-03 09:32 am (UTC)
ext_40256: (Zhou- Gan Ning)
From: [identity profile]

I've known about One Piece for ages, and I seriously hate the art style. haaaaaaaaaate My ex in college started getting obsessed with it, and was all, omggg you'll love the story, etc, but I don't care because if I hate looking at it, why would I ever care about it? ughghghggh (I think it also replies heavily on humor stuff, which honestly I'm not a big fan of)

I love it when people are dedicated!


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