Ellen Kim is a striving dancer and choreographer from the Bay Area, training independently in dancing and choreographing for over 9 years. She began dancing with City Shock SF under the direction of Darnell Carroll when she was a sophomore in high school. After dancing with City Shock for five years, she later became a dance captain and contributing choreographer for the group.
Ellen has also danced with other groups such as No Label (Yusef Nasir), Khaotic (David Collier), Culture Shock Oakland (Kim Batiste), Khamai (Leelee Brewster) , and Funkanometry San Francisco (Emerson Aquino). After joining Funkanometry SF in 2004, Ellen’s passion for dance, as well as her amazing performance abilities, earned her a spot on the Funks SF Artistic Circle as one of their leading Dance Principals. She has since choreographed many pieces for the company, and continues to inspire and set a high standard for her fellow company members through her leadership and dance talent. In 2008, she was motivated to start her own company with Kyle Hanagami called the Lost Kids. Six individuals from the Bay has come together to use their love for dancing to help out their communities by holding workshops to raise money for different charities.
Ellen Kim has been blessed to share her passion for dancing with people from all parts of the world covering cities from the Bay Area, East Coast, Australia, UK, and all the way to Oslo, Norway. These amazing opportunities to share her love for dancing and choreographing keeps her motivated and very inspired. Teaching and spreading her passion for dancing to all different kinds of dancers keeps her going strong!! Being able to share something so fun and special with others is all Ellen wants to do!!! LIVE IT UP!! God Bless!!
Could you tell me a little bit about how you got into dancing?
Ever since I was a little girl I’d always been running around and being active. I really only got into dancing through watching my Mum’s Madonna Live Tour VHS: she would never let me watch it, but, whenever she went out I would put it in and watch her perform. I know alot of people were massively influenced by Michael Jackson but, for me, it was Madonna. Which is a bit wierd as she’s not really a hip hop act. She was really creative though, and, watching her was when I knew I really wanted to dance.
You frequently travel around the world to teach; are there any countries you particularly enjoy?
I really like Holland; I just came fom Holand- They’re amazing because, not only do they really want to learn hip hop, Youtube style dancing, they also want to learn girly choreography, they want to learn contemporary, they want to learn anything and they’re so hungry. I respect that because they’re only interested in one style. I also love coming to Sunshine and Manchester, I’ve seen them grow since I’ve been coming here, 2008.
Hip Hop dancing is popular with young people all over the world, why do you think it’s so appealing?
I think its almost a cult. It’s a really healthy way to express yourself. It releases tension, it releases you emotion. You don’t have to say anything to dance but people still understand what you’re talking about. The feeling you get when you’re dancing is a feeling you can’t get anywhere else. I teach around the world so a lot of people can’t understand me but everyone has a sense of rhythm, dance really is a universal language
You’re involved in Movement Lifestyle, could you tell me a little bit about it?
Well it was created by Shaun Evaristo and its an agency company; they have alot of choreographers, they help us manage our bookings. Shaun recently opened up a studio so we’re all teaching there and its amazing; the vibe there is great.
Could you tell us about your move to LA?
I moved there in February this year. I had lived there before, 5 years ago, but I moved back home: San Francisco. I clearly wasn’t ready then to join the highly competitive dancing world. But, after moving there this year I’ve found the competition really inspiring and encouraging. In LA the pace is much faster, I would say that, in LA, I improve as much within a month as I did within a year in San Francisco. Because the pace is so fast if you don’t step up your game you will be left behind.
In your experience how has the internet and particulary sites like youtube helped you promote yourself as a dancer/choreographer?
Youtube, I think, made dancing even bigger and even more acceptable. There are pros and cons to Youtube though. Obviously for networking or marketing its great, its also great for kids that wouldn’t normally have access to dance culture. For kids in a country with little dance culture they can watch Youtube and get influence and inspiration. But this has a downside as many people that copy the routines aren’t properly trained and don’t have an understanding of what goes into creating a routine. So there are definitely pros and cons but it certainly changed the game. A new development is the professionalism and production values in modern dance videos: they’re beginning to look more like short films.
Would you say that your video ‘You’ve got the Love’ would fit into this category? And do you have any more projects like that?
Yeah, I’ve just shot my first concept video with this guy named X, he’s from San Diego. So hopefully that’s coming out in January. I’ve go a lot of other projects in the works now, so you’ll see all of it. ‘You’ve got the Love’ was just the beginning. It’s something that I saw in my head when I was listening to the song and, whether people liked it or not, I loved it. It was different, I wanted to do something different and show people my artistic side. I feel like, right now, I really want to tell a story. Or I really want t be creative in what I do, I don’t want to be stuck in this one realm of dance, and this mindset of dancing. I’d rather tap into different arts by thinking outside of the box.
By Ryan Hartfield