Philadelphia Citypaper – Dance-driven: Eun Jung Choi-Gonzalez

Friday, June 5th, 2009 at 1:15 pm
posted by carolyn huckabay
categories Arts, ArtsFlash

Eun Jung Choi-Gonzalez (right, with Guillermo Ortega Tanus) in BluePrint
Next up in our “four dancers, four questions” series is Eun Jung Choi-Gonzalez, whose BluePrint debuted Wednesday during opening night of the 2009 nEW Festival (which we’ve written about here, here and here).

Lucky for you, she and her Da-Da-Dance Project will perform tonight, as well. BluePrint, we’re told, “unveils our necessity for the isolation and distance we involuntarily construct in our daily lives.” Heavy. But, according to Choi-Gonzalez, the work is an organic process. “I was fascinated by body gestures that spoke even more strongly when our verbal language (human coding system) was removed from a conversation,” she says. “After playing with all these elements, the work created its own life, appending its own significance and meanings.”

For a sneak peek, watch the video below. And after the jump, read our Q&A with Choi-Gonzalez. We have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this choreographer — she tells us her company’s relocating to Philly in the fall to embark upon a three-year fellowship with Temple’s Dance MFA program.

BluePrint, Fri., June 5, 9 p.m., $15, UArts Dance Theater at the Drake, 1512 Spruce St., 215-359-7775,

City Paper: Tell us about your nEW Festival premiere. What drives the work, and what should the audience expect?
Eun Jung Choi-Gonzalez: I will be presenting a work, BluePrint, which was started out in the summer of 2007, with initial concepts of “deconstruction” and “physically intended bodily language” without imposing performer’s emotional responses to the movement. Also, I was fascinated by body gestures that spoke even strongly when our verbal language (human coding system) was removed from a conversation. After playing with all these elements, the work created its own life, appending its own significance and meanings. The theme of the final production of BluePrint subsequently unveiled our necessity for “isolation” and “distance” we involuntarily construct in our daily lives. The work will be danced to Alban Bailly’s fabulous original music score.
I don’t know if I would like to define what the audience would expect to see, rather I suggest that they witness and find their own magic if they feel related or/and connected. Come not prepared!

CP: Who’s your idol, and why? (It doesn’t have to be a dancer.)
EJCG: There are many artists that I greatly admire and respect. They have their own unique voices and artistic visions. People who inspire me the most are those who think outside the box and push even further beyond the limits of our rules and standarized ideas. I don’t know if I would call them my idols. The concept of “idol” seems a little too Hollywood man-made object for me.
Amongst many contemporary artists, I am fond of Ann Hamilton’s heartfelt installations. I am fascinated by James Turrell’s spiritual and mysterious light sculpture and installations, which give weight to the air and color it in the most profound way, shifting the definition of a physical threshold. I think it is incredibly innovative and beautiful concept. And he accomplished it! I like the way Christo and Jeanne-Claude think [about] our environments and nature as their canvas. I particularly love magical video installations of Pipilotti Rist, Tony Oursler, and Bill Viola. They bring another dimension and depth to their creations. I am certain that there are so many more inspiring artists who I missed out on, and I would come across in the future.
If I really have to use the word, “idol,” I would give that prize to my mother who devoted her life, creating something so magnificent with her patience, perseverance and much passion. This year, she turns 66 and she just started taking dance classes and plays a drum set in a church band, while working full-time, running a business and living as a single lady. I think that’s INSPIRING!

CP: If you couldn’t dance, what would you do instead?
EJCG: It is a funny question, because I already wear so many hats while I am dancing professionally (or not?). So it doens’t seem so significant to think what I would do if I couldn’t dance. I guess I am not at the stage of dancing full-time or dedicating myself solely on choreographing or running a company. It is not something that I would not like to do, but as an independent artist, I had to teach myself to survive, utilizing my skills in different areas, which after all influences my practice of art making. Currently I do work as a graphic/web designer. I also worked as an interaction designer, creating concept design for public installations. Sometime I become a stage manager or a videographer. Other times, I work as a Korean/English interpreter. Then this year, I got involved in several Audio Description projects. I work as a personal trainer. I have taught theater, musical theater, dance classes to kids, students, adult and senior citizens. In the end, I would like be a production or project manager. I feel like I have helpful knowledge in many areas, AND I like to organize, I like to coordinate, I like to create, I like to work with artists, I like challenges that are forth coming, I like to solve problems, and I like to help myself as well as others….

CP: What’s on the horizon?
EJCG: There are several exciting events coming up. Soon after nEW Festival, I will be teaching at the Governor’s School of North Carolina. Then, Da·Da·Dance Project (a duet repertory dance company, founded by Guillermo Ortega Tanus and myself) will have its debut season in New York City from July 30th through August 1st at Joyce SoHo, New York. In August, the company will have Stephanie Nugent, a guest artists from California, come to set a new duet work, “Meniscus,” as well as Rodger Belman restaging a short duet.
Da·Da·Dance Project will be relocating to Philadelphia in September 2009. I was awarded a three-year fellowship from Temple University Dance MFA program. So I hope that our work will be seen more in the Philadelphia area in upcoming years.

One thought

  1. Hey I am one of Eun Jun Choi-Gonzalez students at Governor’s School. I’m so excited!


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