Caili Quan Shares How Her Family Influenced Her Love of Performing

August 17, 2023

Ever since I was little, I had manic energy. Before I attended preschool, my mom would take me with her everywhere. Whether it was climbing the filing cabinets during her office hours at the University of Guam or listening to Haddaway’s “What Is Love” while watching her step-aerobics class, I was desperate to move and loved listening to music.

That love came directly from my family. Fiestas and family gatherings would center around connection and laughter. Every party started with food and finished with a relative picking up an instrument and my whole family breaking into song. No one was formally trained, but it didn’t matter. Everyone played and sang from their gut. Eyes closed and heart opened, you could physically feel the joy in my house. The love of performing runs deep in my blood.

From the moment I stepped foot into BodyArts, my first dance studio, it was over for me. I became obsessed. I was hungry to get back in the studio and work on my pirouettes even though I could barely make fifth position. With the desperation to move and the deep love of music, I didn’t want to do anything else but dance. I felt a constant pull.

Whenever I dance, I get the same sweeping feeling. My heart is brimming. I feel euphoric and fulfilled. But it is really the connection onstage with other artists that gives my joy meaning. I was very fortunate to dance with some of my closest friends at BalletX. We toured, experienced life, developed as dancers and as people.

When I choreograph, I love being able to create a physical conversation for other artists to experience, to share, to contribute to. It brings me back to the family parties at my house where you could feel the air shift with commitment, joy, and music, everyone singing with a full heart and sharing this finite time together. Dance always brings me home.