I was just an ordinary girl who liked to dance. Even before I understood the concept of dance as an art form, dance came naturally to me as a way to express my feelings and communicate. In my perspective, there is no need of language when dance itself is a natural way to explain and communicate through movements. Also, dance is closely connected with humanity and its everyday life. It has been intimately reflected in the personal, historical, and cultural characteristics of each age. For example, when I first learned African dance in America, I could not understand English well at that time. However, I was able to learn the dance movements without knowing the language. Moreover, I was able to learn its key elements and culture simultaneously. Each movement of dance explains and contains a unique and significant cultural contribution in relation to communication.
As a first step towards my dream, I moved to the United States from South Korea in 2005 for a better education. Of course, it was a very hard time for me because of a language barrier, cultural differences, and struggling to adapt to the new surroundings. Moreover, shortly after I entered high school, I received an incomplete grade in my literature class because my English comprehension level was not in any condition to be graded. However, I did not give up and kept studying English every day by doing homework and reading books until late at night. I remember I even studied and memorized vocabulary in the bus during the commute to school. Soon after that, my strong desire to learn and dance in America led me to learn and speak the new language and enabled me to have an excellent academic record through the rest of the high school and my college years.
As I entered the University of Georgia in 2009, my family was faced with financial hardship. I have a younger sister and a younger brother who were attending college at the same time. Even though we were all enrolled in different colleges, having three people in college and paying tuition and other related expenses was very difficult for my parents. During this time, gas prices and living expenses had been going up. Also, when my father retired after 24 years in the United States Army, the reduced income from retirement was unexpected and became a major problem for us continuing school. Therefore, money had become a significant factor in our family’s lives. However, I never gave up and overcame this hardship by working part-time jobs, such as marketing for the Korean Election of 2012 at the Korean Embassy and as a receptionist on weekends. I was also able to receive help through scholarships. I was awarded numerous scholarships based on dance and academic performance, which continued until my graduation in 2013. These scholarships came from the Lucy Lampkin Dance Scholarship, UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship, Hope Scholarship by GA government, and the Korean American Scholarship Foundation awarded by the Korean Embassy. After completing a great education with 60 credits of core curriculum along with 60 credits of dance related classes during my college career, I graduated on schedule and earned my Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts in dance, cum laude. Through these times, I overcame difficulties that many others normally do not experience in early age and have been successful in my schooling. I learned I have enough strength in me to manage and get through challenges with consistent effort, without relying on chance.
My undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia was the introductory phase of learning fundamental material that allows me to pursue my future career goals. My ultimate career goal is to be a dance professor. Before I become one, I believe it is first necessary to build a solid foundation as a unique dancer and a creative choreographer. I would like to engage a more international perspective and incorporate it with contemporary movement as a dancer and as a choreographer. This will further my goal to be a better professor in the future by integrating knowledge and experience into teachings that I have gained from South Korea and the United States. In addition to this, I would like to introduce new and different dance techniques using creative skills based on my perspective of dance knowledge, bringing that experience to other passionate people. It would not only help others discover their own artistry as a strong dancer, but also help me discover new and creative ways as an artist and share it with the world through continued learning by revisiting dance-related matters.
As my desire towards dance became aroused, it also established my own areas of interest and the school where I would like to further my study. Of all the potential fields, I am interested in the fact that dance becomes more diverse with time and how it interacts with other performance art and its elements to form a new genre of dance, such as aerial dance. I believe aerial dance has a lot of potential because it engages more perspective and incorporates circus arts movements in different apparatus, such as aerial hoop and aerial silk, with contemporary movements. Furthermore, I am especially interested on how it affects people in various ways to be aware of space in their bodies and how it allows to explore space on stage in three dimensions as well.
For my career goals and research, I have had relevant experiences at University of Georgia that provided me a strong foundation to develop my choreographic work and performance skills. My solo was selected for the Young Choreographers Series in 2010 and additionally I choreographed and performed in 2011 and 2012. I was involved in the Department of Dance as a member and a president of the Core Concert Dance Company, under the direction of Bala Sarasvati, since 2010. I have performed contemporary and aerial dance in numerous concerts and events, including a featured performance for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE III) Annual Conference in Georgia, for LIMS Mosaic @ Crossing Boundaries in New York, and internationally for World Dance Alliance in Vancouver. I also had the opportunity to work with choreographers such as Meaghan Muller of Cirque du Soleil, JoAnna Mendl-Shaw of The Equus Projects, and Charlotte-Boye Christensen of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company. In my present position as a guest performer with the Core Concert Dance Company, I currently develop my artistry through the movements with or without different apparatus, such as aerial hoop, aerial silks, and aerial slings.
Based on my intensive training in dance and performing experiences, I have the ability to transform my ideas into choreography, to learn and perform new styles of dance in a short amount of time, and to maneuver different apparatus and dance with it.
My Curriculum Vitae
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Dance lets me be truly alive and allows me to express my thoughts and feelings. As I continue to pursue my life with dance, I plan to keep performing and teaching to deepen my and even other people’s understanding of dance and continue to grow as an artist.
University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Dance August 2009 – May 2013
New York University (New York, New York)
Tisch School of the Arts – Master of Fine Arts, Dance September 2015 – May 2017
Aerial Dance – Lyra, Silks, Nets, Trapeze
Tap & Rhythmic Analysis
Applied Biomechanics & Kinesiology
World Dance History
Dance Sciences & LMA
Dance Education and Pedagogy
Dance Composition & Tech Interface
Da Lo Devotion September 2014
Bala Sarasvati, MOSAIC @ Crossing Boundaries, NYC
Flight Dreams (Soaring), Hailey’s Albedo
World Dance Alliance – Americas, Vancouver, BC August 2013
Council for Advancement and Support of Education Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA April 2013
Taking Flights March 2013
Bala Sarasvati, Charlotte Boye-Christensen (Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company)
CORE Concert Dance Company
Earth Changes October 2012
Meagan Mueller, Dance Athens
AWE-WAKENING March 2012
Bala Sarasvati, JoAnna Mendl-Shaw (The EQUSS Project), Meagan Mueller
CORE Concert Dance Company
A Tangled Tale November 2011
Chrystola Oseni, UGA Senior Choreographic Project
Journeys in to the Vortex March 2011
Bala Sarasvati, CORE Concert Dance Company
Take me to the Motherland November 2010
Chrystola Oseni, UGA Young Choreographer’s Series
Finding Sight November 2010
Toi Brown, UGA Young Choreographer’s Series
(,) November 2012
UGA Senior Exit Show
Panorama November 2012
UGA Young Choreographer’s Series
A Pursuer November 2011
UGA Young Choreographer’s Series
Awards and Honors
Dance Awards and Recognition:
Lucy Lampkin Dance Scholarship August 2009 – May 2010
University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia August 2011 – May 2013
Academic Awards and Recognition:
UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences Scholarship August 2011 – May 2013
HOPE Scholarship August 2009 – May 2013
The Korean American Scholarship Foundation August 2011 – May 2012
Southern Regional Chapter
Production Assignment April 2010, 2011
House Manager, Stage Crew November 2009, 2010
Ballet/Modern Dance August 2013 – June 2014
My Artistic Statement
Many people look at me with a slight frown when I tell them I eat french fries by dipping them in vanilla ice cream. Although they are familiar with both foods, it is hard for them to picture the french fries and the ice cream together. I am as fascinated watching the cold ice cream melt on the surface of the hot french fries as I am tasting them. After prevailing upon others to taste it, I see their eyes are opened up to the new discovery.
Similarly, my work is a fine integration of both aerial and contemporary dance into one combined work that anyone can enjoy. Instead of making a distinction between these two, I blur the borders by using contemporary dance movements to explore horizontal space, with various aerial apparatuses for highlighting vertical space. Both aerial and contemporary dance are essential in my work to investigate an invisible hierarchy in our community that exists along with the notion of gender, racial, cultural, and social stereotypes and discrimination. I emphasize heavy feelings of tension and suppression from stereotypes and discrimination through bounded and grounded contemporary dance movements, such as performing like you are trapped in a small box where you cannot straighten your spine or limbs. In opposition to this, I use aerial apparatus to simulate seemingly weightless and unrestrained movements which are full of radiant energy, such as spinning or swinging in ways that suggest there is less gravity. It articulates an uplifting moment for the audience to taste hope or freedom from stereotypes and discrimination. By harmonizing these two forms properly, I address the reality of stereotypes and discrimination through contemporary dance while creating a hopeful visualization through aerial dance.
People say they have no idea how to respond to my work of contemporary aerial performance, other than saying it is beautiful. However, just as with exploring unconventional juxtapositions of foods, I want to encourage, expose, and invite people into new discoveries and adventures in dance. I will keep challenging them to explore new perspectives and raise questions about stereotypes and discrimination in race, gender, culture, and socialization.
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