Faby Shen, Brazilian Samba Dancer Lives Enthusiastic Dream in Taiwan

Faby Shen, a professional dancer who is dedicated to her work, gains popularity and promotion in the industry.
Faby Shen, a professional dancer who is dedicated to her work, gains popularity and promotion in the industry.
Taiwan Immigrants' Global News Network】Editor/ Tim Wu (吳宗翰)

“I must tell myself to think twice when I want to kiss or cuddle someone!”

Faby Shen, a Brazilian artist who has lived in Taiwan for 34 years, speaks Chinese fluently and clearly without a foreign accent. She is also capable of conversing in Taiwanese and local slang. Faby, a Brazilian with energy in her veins, cannot help but wonder if it's appropriate to be so affectionate with the more conservative Taiwanese.

45-year-old Faby Shen moved to Taiwan from Brazil with her stepfather and mother at the age of eleven, her heart still aches as she recalls the difficult jobs in the factory that she had to work in order to support the livelihood with her parents. Particularly the harsh lower life that Faby experienced when she was younger helped her to realize the value of treasure and diligence. So, when she became an artist and a dancer, she took as many cases as she could which once made her the favorite on variety shows due to her work ethic.

Faby Shen often attends variety shows. The photo of Faby Shen on “Kangsi Coming” with the hosts, Elephant Dee and Kevin Tsai was taken years ago.

“When other guests see me, they always say, ‘Here she comes, she’s talkative and draws attention with the feather costume’” Faby Shen said. When she attended variety shows, she recalled hearing numerous guests talk about her.

The start of Faby's entertainment career begins with Ximending. “There were scouts seeking attractive girls in Ximending and offerring to manage them, but they dodged from them. I was the only one who approached them first and perform to them. I even gave the calls every day to see if there were any performance to join!” Faby Shen laughs.

Faby's first manager was the person who she approached to first, but that manager could not stand that Faby had taken almost every case.

“Sometimes he told me that some cases were not suitable for me, and I said ‘If I go, this case is for me!’” Faby said. Even Ken Lin, the host of the variety show, told her this is not going to work.

Faby Shen performed beautiful dance on the event of “Night da Bahia” last year.

The fond of perform appears in Faby Shen’s very young age. “When I was little, I did not really want to go to school. But I would jump out of bed as long as my mother plays Samba music.” Faby Shen found her calling in dance as the classmates liked to tease her to dance in school. Thus, she started to study for profession in dance by learning dance from professional dancer once she returns to Brazil. Faby Shen gradually gains popularity in Taiwan in Taiwan and even runs a dance troupe.

In Faby's performing career, she will never forget the significant event in 2011 when many drummers and dancers from Brazil and Japan were invited to the performance by Chiang Jian-Chang, the leader of the Bloco Força percussion ensemble, who is dedicated to promoting Brazilian culture in Taiwan.

The experience of being far from home moves Faby Shen when she meets friends who truly understand her feelings: “It is not easy to catch up with the fellows in hometown, let alone meet them here in Taiwan! It was very heartfelt that I even cried with the Brazilian master and drummers.” Faby Shen says. “The fact that they come from miles away and perform in Taiwan is really exciting.”

The photo of Faby Shen with Brazilian teacher, Geraldo Marques (the second one from right), Japanese teacher (the second one from left), and Chiang Jian-Chang, the leader of the Bloco Força percussion ensemble (the first one from left).

Looking back at her own life in Taiwan, where she got married, had kids, and practiced her favorite activity—the Samba. Faby Shen understands that is not easy.

Faby Shen's biological father had vanished by the time she was born. She lived in the slum with her mother. Faby Shen claims that she used to be placed in a tub during the daytime while her mother left for work. “My mother used to put a little bit of water in the tub, in which I spent my whole day. We did not wall between neighbors but only separated with iron net. The black lady of the neighbor, who had nine children, took care of me out of compassion, and in a way, I became her tenth children.”

Faby Shen encountered people who helped her along the tough pathway of growing up. She and her mother finally got out of poverty as Faby’s mother got married with Taiwanese stepfather, who ran a restaurant in Brazil and afterwards settled in Taiwan. However, Adolescent Faby Shen turned rebellious because she can no longer endure her strict stepfather.

“My parents decided to return to Brazil when I was eighteen, and I was furious. I have always coordinated with my family, but never has anyone ever coordinated with me. So, I left on the day to take the plane.”

After two year, Faby Shen returned to Brazil and apologized to her stepfather, but her mother's anger remained.

The photo of Faby Shen and her husband with their children, and goddaughter on the right.

“I used to be jealousy when I see my mother cooks a whole table of delicacy, because it reminds me that I wasn’t treat like this when I was as little as my sister. Sometimes I treated my mother with bad attitude on the phone, but I can’t stop crying after hung up the phone.”

Faby Shen gave her mother and sister in Brazil with grandmother (mother of her stepfather) a video call in an interview. Seeing the beloved family in the call, centenarian grandmother broke down in tears. “We must think positively!” Faby Shen gave solace.

“I have lost lots of love by living in Taiwan.” Faby Shen admitted. “However, Taiwan has my back and gives me lots of love, too!” To promote Samba and Brazilian culture, she founds the BMG, Brazil Culture Mix Girls. Also, Faby Shen also set a challenging goal. “I want to integrate into Indigenous dance and open up more opportunities.”

Taiwan has transcribed Faby Shen’s life story, she hopes to offer back more Brazilian enthusiastic and liberated vitality to Taiwan. “I enjoy dancing and love my culture, and I want bring the passion to everyone.”

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