Interview with Jaewoo Jung

Feb 15, 2017

Ahead of Bereishit Dance Company's debut performance at Northrop on Feb 28, we took some time to chat with dancer Jaewoo Jung about what life is like with the Seoul-based contemporary company.

First, a little bit about Jaewoo:

Jaewoo studied contemporary dance at Hansung University and joined Bereishit Dance Company in 2013. Jung has participated in the Seoul Dance Festival, HANPAC Rising Stars, Attakkalari India Biennale, Dance Salad Festival, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, and other international festivals. Jung has won several awards including the title of Grand-prix at the Competition of Korean Contemporary Dance Association, 1st place at the 14th International Dance Competition in Greece, and a Gold Medal at the International Contemporary Dance Competition in Korea.

Why do you dance?

I dance for the pleasure I get from expressing myself through dance and because of the sense of accomplishment after performances

What do you do to get ready for a show?

First, I take a shower one hour before the performance. This has become an important performance ritual for me now, so showering before the show is kind of a superstition of mine. Just before the performance, I sit calmly in a dark place backstage. When I stay in a dark place, it calms and relaxes me.  

What does a typical day in your life look like?

I teach students during the day and practice for our performances in the evening. So, when I have some free time because there isn’t a performance for a while, I feel emptiness. My life has been filled with performance practice and teaching so I almost forget what to do when I have free time! 

If you weren’t a dancer, what would you be?

I wished to be a service person when I was a child, but I’m not quite sure what I’d want to be now if I weren’t a dancer. Maybe I would work in a role where I could use my body, as I love to use my body and perform movements.

Who inspires you?

I’m normally not inspired by people, but rather from small experiences in everyday life. If I had to pick a person though, it would be Buster Keaton. I often watch his films. 

What is life like with Bereishit Dance Company? What is it like working with/for Soon-ho Park?

I spent most of my 20s with Bereishit Dance Company. Bereishit is the biggest part of my life now. That is why I feel emptiness when I do not have performance practice.

Soon-ho is very persistent, so working with him can be quite stressful. However, through this I gain something much bigger than the hardship. That is the reason I continue to work with him.

What is your role(s) in Bow-control and/or Balance and Imbalance? Why are these pieces so special/unique?

I am a main dancer in both pieces. We spend a long time with the same dance partners so the pieces really illustrate our efforts in the time we spend together. That makes the pieces so special to me.

What is your biggest challenge in performing these pieces? What is your favorite moment in the show?

Researching archery and learning the ways in which to use a bow as an object was the biggest challenge. My favorite moment is when it’s just the musicians playing the drums in Balance & Imbalance.

What is your favorite part of the dance creation process?

Doing improvisation or researching is my favorite part. 

Where is the most beautiful place you’ve ever been? 

The Acropolis in Greece.


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