There is a first for everything. This tends to be a popular phrase for pretty much anything and everything. Today is a first for us – an interview with an established hip-hop dance choreographer from South Korea. Please allow us to introduce you to the ever-talented, super cool and very chill dancer known as Jiyoung Youn!
Jiyoung Youn is a South Korean hip-hop dance choreographer, known primarily for her work with the world famous 1MILLION Dance Studio, as well as working with Urban Play and Alive Dance Studio. Spending time between teaching and training, Jiyoung has recently been doing personal training in Los Angeles and also made her way up to Ottawa, Canada to teach her first ever workshop there. In between her schedules in Ottawa, we had the chance to talk to her about dance and about her passions and goals.
For those who aren’t familiar with who you are, please briefly introduce yourself.
Hello, my name is Jiyoung Youn. I’m a Korean dance choreographer who works with 1MILLION Dance Studios, Urban Play and Alive. I also teach abroad. It’s nice to meet you.
Welcome to Ottawa! Is this your first time here?
You flew here from LA right? What have you been up to in LA?
I’ve been doing some personal dance training and studying while in LA. I hope to take what I’ve learned in LA back to Korea to help me be a more improved teacher and choreographer.
How long have you been dancing for?
I started dancing when I was around seven years old, starting with ballet and traditional Korean dance. When I was in grade 10, that’s when I went into professional dancing and choreography.
What style suits you most in terms of songs you choreograph to?
I prefer male artists’ music, especially those with a lot of swagger.
Is there any artist whom you would like to choreograph a dance to as their official choreographer if you have a chance?
Definitely Chris Brown! I love his music.
You teach at three studios in Korea currently – 1MILLION, Urban Play and Alive. You’re most well known for your work with 1MILLION though. How did you get involved with 1MILLION originally?
Before I got involved with 1MILLION, I was at a dance studio called Brain. One of my friends there knew someone from 1MILLION who came to the studio, and one thing led to another!
Out of all the choreographers at 1MILLION, who has given you the most advice and/or inspiration?
I would say probably Hyojin Choi!
What’s your training schedule normally like?
I usually train about 35 hours a week, from midnight to 5AM each day.
Who are your favourite foreign choreographers right now? Any notable pieces that stand out in your memory?
I’m a big fan of Willdabeast’s work. While I’ve been in LA, I got to take a class with him, it was really cool.
So now I will ask some more fun questions to help my readers get to know you more. Whose music are you listening to these days?
Honestly, since I’m mostly listening to what I choreograph to, one song that sticks out in my mind is Chris Brown’s ‘Hood Go Crazy’.
When you’re not teaching or training, what do you do in your spare time to relax?
Either watching dance videos on YouTube, listening to music or working on choreography pieces.
What is your current obsession?
Name one thing that fans might not know about you.
I’m a big foodie!
Among the K-pop idols who are known to dance really well, is there anyone that has caught your eye that you would like to work with?
Probably BIGBANG. They’re kind of different from most male K-pop artists, and they have really good dancing skills.
Any advice for those that want to pursue dancing more full-time and even choreograph like you do?
There’s lots of choreography workshops that you can attend, no matter where you’re based. Attend as many as you can, be open to learning, get advice from the teachers and your peers.
Any additional words for the readers?
People might think I’m kinda weird because I have a very unique choreographing style that’s not common in Korea. I want to say to everyone – be open and generous to different styles of choreographing, don’t be quick to put labels and stereotypes because of how different a style might be. I will continue to improve as a dancer and bring a fresh style to my work. Thank you!
Big thanks to Jiyoung for taking the time to speak with us. Also many thanks to Sarah @ Inspirin8 Studio for putting this all together, and to Jaein for acting as our translator! Until next time, this has been a rhythm.connection exclusive!