Over the course of his extensive dance career, Jay Kim has choreographed and danced with stars such as Luhan (former member of EXO), Taemin from SHINEE and Jay Park. Some may recognise him for his choreography work at 1Million Dance Studio and Loen Entertainment Dance Studio, but these are only the tip of the iceberg of what he has accomplished over the course of his acclaimed dance career.
As a dancer who’s made his mark around the world, Jay Kim has shown why dance is recognised as a universal language. Through his determination and talent, Jay has been teaching dance across 100 cities in 50 countries, spreading his love for dance through his workshops. As he prepares to be on the judge panel of a K-POP dance competition in London this December, Jay Kim sat with SOKOLLAB to answer some of our questions!
SOKOLLAB: Hi Jay Kim! Could you tell us about how you got started in dance, and what made you want to become a choreographer in the first place?
I started b-boying/breakdancing at the age of 14, however, I was more interested in working with movement to create something. Additionally, I was interested in classical dance, such as contemporary dance (as I never learned contemporary dance), but I preferred creating choreography because I was more independent and felt free to express myself.
SOKOLLAB: In what ways have your experiences as a dance teacher shaped your approach to choreography and performance?
I pay close attention to expression during choreography so that my students will feel the emotions I want to emphasise. This is because when you dance for a long time, you often express movements or emotions artificially.
SOKOLLAB: Having taught dance in 50 countries, you have encountered dancers of all levels. How do you adapt your methods when working with students whose style of dance differs from your own?
Actually, I don't think style is a big issue. What's more important is whether you have your own style. It is because dancers with their own styles can perform any style of dance in their own way. Moreover, these days, it is pointless to distinguish between genres, since the important parts of all dances are actually the basics, so teaching students with different dance styles does not pose any difficulty.
SOKOLLAB: Where do you find inspiration when creating choreography?
When I spend time with family and friends, I get the most inspiration. Then I create choreography based on the mood, emotions, and memories of that moment.
SOKOLLAB: What have been some of your favourite countries you've been to and are there any you'd like to host a dance workshop in that you haven't yet visited?
A few of the places I liked and remembered were South Africa, Hungary, and Switzerland in Europe, Canada in America, and Colombia and Brazil in South America.
I would like to host a dance workshop in New York.
SOKOLLAB: Which dancers or choreographers do you admire and hope to collaborate with in the future?
My respect goes out to choreographers and dancers who have walked this path for many years. If I have the chance, I would like to collaborate with Kyle Hanagami from LA.
SOKOLLAB: Could you share some of your most memorable moments from your extensive dance career?
When everyone hugged me after my dance at a dance workshop in Mexico, I was most moved. The reason for this is that I found my own reason for dancing at that time.
SOKOLLAB: And finally, are there any words of advice you would give to someone wishing to follow in your footsteps and pursue a dance career?
First of all, I would like to tell you to be yourself. Each of us has our own talents, so it's important not to be impatient, but to consider what you are able to contribute to the world, and follow your own path.
Catch Jay Kim on the panel of judges for the UK K-POP Competition on December 3. Click here for more information about the event
(Responses have been translated to English from Korean)