Artist of Life: Dance Teacher & Choreographer Sorah Yang
Sorah Yang is an international hip hop dance teacher, choreographer, and singer from the Bay Area. Ever since I’ve known Sorah, she’s always been a little fireball – tiny but mighty. This girl is strong, smart, and so empowering. I’m so excited to share her journey and lessons with you all.
Follow Sorah Yang
- web | www.sorahyang.com
- instagram | instagram.com/sorahyang
- twitter | twitter.com/sorahyang
- “like a boy” choreography | bit.ly/2mbldr9
Watch More | Artist of Life Series Playlist ▸ bit.ly/2dB9duZ
Hey everyone! Welcome back to Lavendaire. Today’s video is an episode of Artist of Life,
a series where we feature real people who are actively creating their dream life.
So we explore how they got to where they are and what they’ve learned in their journey
that you can apply to your life. My name’s Aileen and I’m so excited to introduce
the lovely, the talented, and the very fierce Sorah Yang.
Aileen: So Sorah Yang is a dance teacher, choreographer, and singer from the Bay Area,
currently living in LA. And she is like a ball of energy. She’s a beam of light.
I love her so much. She’s super inspiring.
So a little backstory: we actually went to USC together and we danced
on a hip hop team together, and it’s just so amazing to see how far she’s come.
So I’m so excited to have you here.
S: I’m excited to be here.
A: I’m so excited!
S: Thank you for having me.
A: Thank you for being-yeah, see?
S: Okay, yep. Yep, that’s going to be the whole time.
A: You want to leave that?
S: Yeah, why not? Yeah.
A: Let’s talk about your story a little bit, because I know you went to school for business.
A: But you’ve been dancing since high school, and ever since I’ve met you,
you’ve been an amazing dancer so can you talk about your path,
how you decided to take dance more seriously?
S: My motive was just to have fun. I was still really serious about basketball. I was playing
since I was a little girl and still super into it, playing in high school. And then my friend and I
were like, “Let’s just do something extra, that’s fun, together.” And we just found
a local dance studio, and we signed up for a beginning hip hop class once a week.
I started dancing once a week and just pretty soon realized that I could kind of dance.
It was like, “Okay, I’m not terrible at this.” There’s some-yeah,
anyway I really just fell in love with it instantly.
Fast forward: I moved down to LA for school, not for dance, to go to USC.
And I was really serious about pursuing this business career and wanted to be marketing-
you know, executive, blah blah blah. And then I joined GRV. Still loved dancing,
but I still saw my career and my education as kind of my priority
and that’s the direction I was still headed.
A: And you were working, right?
A: So you had a job, plus you were doing GRV.
S: Yeah, I had a work-study job all throughout college, like 20 hours a week?
It was an office job. I had GRV which was-we didn’t have a curfew at that time
so regular rehearsals would run til like 3:00 or 4:00 AM consistently.
A: Crazy, yeah.
S: And I had 18 units a semester because I wanted to graduate early.
A: Oh my god.
S: So I was juggling-still, and so I finished school. I graduated and I went straight
into a marketing job. All throughout this journey: yes, dance, I was really passionate
and I loved it. My passion and love for it motivated me to train and to grow and get better,
but it was never because I wanted to become a traveling choreographer.
S: It was just because I loved to dance.
A: It was just for fun.
S: Yeah, for fun and for the love of it.
A: And you happen to be really good at it, and a lot of people saw you, right?
S: Well, I guess, yeah. So I graduated, went to a full time marketing job and within-
I think it took like two months-two months, I was just really not happy. Super miserable,
driving in traffic like-like in the rain, crying. The most dramatic situation, those days.
And I would-at work, I would just look at the clock and be like, “Oh, I can’t wait til work is over
so I can go take class.” And I would often drive-because I worked out at Torrance-
and it would take me sometimes two, two and a half hours to drive to NoHo in rush hour
to take the classes I wanted to take.
A: Oh man.
S: Yeah I was just, yeah, thinking about dance all day,
really miserable at work. Know that, having this feeling that I wasn’t doing
what I was supposed to be doing because I was just not-it didn’t feel right.
And then, ironically, one of the responsibilities I had at my job was as a social media-
well, one of the aspects was managing the social media accounts.
And so I had to post empowering messages every day, and it was really-
you know, like “Follow your dreams!”, “Do what’s in your heart!”, and I would be sitting-
A: When you’re at this job that you don’t like.
S: At the office like, I…am not doing these things. But you know, posting them every day,
I finally came across one-and I never say this correctly, but it was along the lines of:
If you want to know where your heart is, follow your mind when it wanders.
A: Okay, yeah.
S: I thought about it, and I was like, “I’m thinking about dance all the time.”
So that was kind of like the symbolic start of it. From there, this number
started popping up everywhere. I don’t want to share the exact number,
but it’s a really weird combination of numbers.
A: Okay, that’s so creepy. What do you mean?
S: It started popping up everywhere, like receipts; license plates I would be driving behind;
the queue if I was in line to get food, they’d be like, “Number blah blah blah”;
everything, the price of things I was paying for.
A: How many digits was this number?
S: It’s only two.
A: Oh, okay.
S: But it’s like-it’s just the fact that I saw it EVERYWHERE, to the point where-
you know sometimes, when you’re looking for things, you just see them more?
To the point where you’re in traffic and you look up, and the license plate, it ends-
A: Like, “Again??”
S: Again, and then you go eat and you see that’s your number. And just everything-
the number of likes. I know this sounds so silly, but the number of likes on posts
and just everything was this number like for, I would say, at least a month.
And it was freaking me out. And I finally Googled it. I was like,
“Maybe there’s some symbolic meaning behind this, like even if it’s not really valid
or from a credible source, it’ll give me some type of answer.” I found one
really discreet website, and it talked about this Angel Number [that].
A: I’ve heard of these Angel Number things.
S: Yeah, so an Angel Number [what my number was]. And the message said that,
basically, whatever you want, however you want to manifest yourself-it used manifest
as the word-yourself to the world, whatever you want to become, it will take care of you.
A: Oh, that’s nice.
S: I think the biggest thing for me that was holding me back from taking the leap of faith
into dance was just pure, 100% financial. Like how would I make this work?
I just graduated from a crazily expensive university. And I’m in debt. How am I-
paying my rent. You know, how am I going to make all this work?
So that was my fear. That’s kind of what held me back. That, along with not believing
I was good enough to begin with. And then all these things combined,
not being happy at work, this sign that kept coming up, and then finally researching.
The angel was just like the cherry on top, like, “Okay, finally!” I read that
and I was like, “You know what? Yeah, I need to do this.” And I will say, simultaneously,
a lot of choreographers that I really respected and looked up to started handing-
not handing me opportunities, but reaching out to me and bringing me in
to video shoots and rehearsals and projects and things like that. So they were showing
a belief in me that I didn’t have in myself at the time. You know?
So that helped me a lot. These people I respect are telling me-giving me kind of a green light.
A: Yeah, they believe in you.
S: Encouraging me, yeah. And I thought, okay-I think the final, just to conclude my life story,
the final thing that I kind of realized in making that final jump into quitting my full time
and figuring how to make dance work, was deciding that it wasn’t about being good enough.
Because I always used that as an excuse, that I’m not good-I’m never going to be
this choreographer. I would look at the top choreographers and be like,
“I’m not at that level. I’ll never be there. I can’t do what they do.” Making excuses like,
“I started too late. I didn’t have all the training.”
S: Then I realized, “Yeah, I’m not where those people are and maybe I’m not good enough
right now, but that doesn’t mean that if I don’t put in the work, that I won’t become there.”
You know? I won’t get to that level that allows me to do those things,
and to live out those dreams, you know?
Once I decided like, “Yes Sorah, you might suck right now,” being overly harsh,
“but that doesn’t mean you need to-but that doesn’t prevent you from becoming great.”
A: From trying.
S: Yeah, trying. And yeah you’re going to have to put in so much work,
but I just decided it’s not about being good enough, but about wanting it bad enough,
wanting to be good enough, badly enough.
A: I love it. So you decided that you wanted it more than not even trying. Right?
S: Yeah, I just, I knew that I wasn’t where I needed to be to be like an international teacher.
A: Yeah, but nobody starts out that way
A: There’s no way!
S: Comparison, when we compare ourselves to successful people, we look at them in the light.
S: And when they’re in the light, it’s because they’ve succeeded, you know?
They kind of reached that level of greatness. And I think just deciding,
“I can’t use that.” I can use that as my motivation but not as something to discourage me
because I’m not close to that.
A: Yeah, yeah. I mean there’s a saying like, “Don’t compare your Chapter 1
to someone else’s Chapter 20.”
A: Because you don’t know how many steps they’ve taken to get there.
So it’s all about, just start where you are.
S: Totally. And even the way that people get to similar destinations is so different.
I think not making excuses because of where you come from, or how much money you have,
or the mentors you may or may not have. Those things should never stand in your way
because you can still become successful. You know?
S: Because you can find a way to become successful.
S: And it will happen the way that it’s meant for you.
A: You can find a way.
S: Yes, you can find a way.
A: Okay, next question I want to ask is: since you’ve taken that leap of faith,
what has been the biggest challenge in becoming an artist or,
you know what I mean, pursuing your dreams?
S: I think-I got this question a lot in, towards the beginning of doing dance full time.
And in the beginning, the number one answer was finances. It’s just,
when you decide to leave a very stable, paying job, for something very unstable,
very uncertain, not guaranteed, it’s “How do you stay afloat?”. Especially when-
you know, if you’re pursuing art, you’re going to have to invest.
You start out by investing, investing, investing in yourself, in your growth,
and putting yourself out there. I just didn’t have the luxury of having a lot of money
to propel me in that way, you know? In the beginning, I was juggling so many part time jobs,
just to get extra money every week. Every week would be different. I think there was one year,
I forget, maybe it was 2013, I think I counted and I listed all of the different random jobs I did.
A: Can you give an example of what kind of weird jobs you had?
S: Yeah, well-so one of them, I was a personal assistant. And it ranged from
doing the very typical filing, paperwork, organizing office spaces…to going grocery shopping
at Trader Joe’s for people, or taking care of their parents. You know, kind of elderly care?
S: And I always was a tutor, an academic tutor, which is not my forte in terms of-
not academics not being my forte, but just being patient with people, sitting next to them.
But I tutored a lot. I did really random, I did random acting things through my agency
but I’m the worst actor ever so don’t look those up anywhere online.
A: Everyone’s gonna look them up now.
S: Awful, I know. But I’m just telling you: I’m terrible. So I apologize. But that was the, what else?
Oh, I was a PR Assistant. I worked for this startup PR agency for a little bit.
So that was a lot of writing. Just a lot, a lot of different things. I just found ways
to make money in-yeah, I just found ways. That was just stressful because every week,
you’re searching, you’re applying. You’re going-driving all over the place
just to get an extra 200 bucks a week for whatever expenses, for food, gas.
So that was-yeah, the initial struggle was financially staying afloat and supporting myself,
all the while investing and making myself, you know, get to the level
that I mentioned that I wanted to be at.
A: So you invested in taking class.
S: Taking class and also, you know when you’re starting out as a dancer, it’s really important
that you create work. Start to build a portfolio, a presence, and that requires a lot of investment.
A: That’s true.
S: With making videos and stuff. If you’re, you know, scraping by to make rent and stuff,
you’re not thinking about paying hundreds-not hundreds, but a couple hundred dollars
to make videos and stuff. Even that, that was difficult.
But fast forward to a couple years later, I’m doing okay.
S: Thank you. I’m just less stressed about every single juice I buy at the store, whatever.
I would say, moving forward, the greatest challenge is-I think it’s like aligning who I am
and what means a lot to me with what I do. And making sure that, as I move forward,
I’m fulfilling 1000% of my gift and my potential. Just because it’s so uncertain.
And as a freelance artist, you have to decide things for yourself and move forward.
There’s no boss telling you what to do, where to go, what direction to head in,
how you should spend your time, how you should express yourself, what methods or outlets
you should be focusing on. I think it’s always just that overriding, existential purpose.
A: Like does this align with me?
S: Yeah, what’s the point? I think that’s been a huge question with everything I do,
and it’s always challenging to find the most effective way to use my voice and my gift
and whatever opportunities I’m given to maximize, you know, that.
A: That’s what I appreciate about you, because you really care about your voice
and the energy you put out. And you can tell by everything you post on social media,
it’s always positive. And I watched that video-I want to put a clip of it here-
where you told that girl, “I am strong.” Remember?
A: Remember the girl, and you told her to repeat? That was so cute.
Sorah: Amy, what did you learn today?
Amy: I am strong!
Sorah + Amy: [Cheering]
A: Things like that, I think it’s really important and it shows that you are an artist,
which is really cool. I want to ask about that. Where does that positivity or that side come from?
And how do you stay connected with that when you’re going through a tough time?
S: Oh, gosh.
A: Because I know it’s not easy. You know?
S: I don’t-I can’t pinpoint it to one source or one explanation. I just feel like
I’ve always been a fiery person.
A: Were you raised like that? Did your parents support your-?
S: Yeah, my parents have always just been like, “You can do anything you want. No limit.”
A: That’s so great.
S: Yeah, they’re the best. They’re super supportive, never held back any belief in me
or anything like that, with anything that I wanted to do. And I think, yeah,
that has a lot to do with…I just-growing up I always have been this loud,
wanted to be, you know, the leader and spread-
A: The president, right?
A: Of all years.
S: Class president in high school, yeah. But, I don’t know where it comes from.
I just feel like I’ve always had this-I’ve felt this responsibility, like a moral obligation,
but deeper than an obligation, a responsibility to make the world better.
Before I had X amount of followers and subscribers. Even when no one knew who I was,
I still felt like, “How can I make this world better?” I feel like people who-
there are people, most people that I meet kind of align with this type of feeling.
It’s just a matter of taking action on it, you know? I’ve just always,
I’ve always felt that way, wanting to make the world better. I think I’m a really,
maybe sensitive? I’m super sensitive, super emotional, hugest crybaby.
And when other people are in pain and sadness, I feel it really deeply.
A: Empathy, a lot of empathy.
S: Empathy, or slash, I’ll say mirror neurons. Like I can’t watch Grey’s Anatomy-
when someone gets a cut-
A: Oh, same! Same.
S: I’m like, “Ow!”
S: I just feel like I have a lot of feelings. And it comes from being really intense.
A: It’s like compassion.
S: I guess you can call it-I’m making really complicated. Compassion, empathy.
I just feel really strongly.
A: I think a lot of us can relate to that though.
S: Yeah, totally. What was the question?
A: It was like where does this come from? But you answered the question.
S: I don’t know!
A: You answered it perfectly. But also, when Sorah Yang’s having a bad day,
what does that look like? Do you snap yourself out of it, or do you just rage?
S: Ah, I have a lot of bad days, to be honest. I mean, I think my bad days come from-
they always stem from not being productive. I’m such a-I feel like I get a lot of fulfillment
and happiness from creating things and accomplishing things. When I feel like
I’m not maximizing that day, my potential that day-I know this sounds really extreme,
but I feel really wasteful?
A: No, I get it.
S: I just hate not being productive and that’s-I’m get into, yeah, phases of feeling down.
Like, “You’re wasting your life, Sorah. What are you doing?” You know, I’m really bad
at just chilling. I’m really bad at it and it’s not a good thing.
A: It’s not necessarily a weakness because it’s good, but you’re productive,
you could learn to not be so hard on yourself. Right?
S: Definitely that. I need to not be hard on myself for sure. But I am, just naturally.
And I think, the way I get out of it is-I love to just draw things out.
I love planning. And so I just-you know, even when I’m having a down day,
I’ll just develop a plan like, “How do I get out of this? What things do you want to create?
What steps do you need to take?” Blah blah blah. And in terms of staying positive,
I use Twitter a lot. Everyone makes fun of me for it because I’m just a serial tweeter.
But a lot of the things I tweet about are things that I realize, myself,
when I get in moods that aren’t so great and they’re just reminders to myself or things
that I’ve learned that help me get out of those states. You know?
That are empowering and encouraging and kind of grounding.
Always, when I’m tweeting, it’s like “Note to Self”, but also, if this helps anyone else
get out of whatever state you’re in, then that’s great, you know?
A: So you talk yourself out of your bad mood.
S: A little bit.
A: You’re like your own motivational coach.
S: Yeah, it’s just perspective, right? When you’re in a down mood, oftentimes-
you know sometimes we can’t control those things, but you can control how you choose
to look at things and I think, yeah, I do talk myself out of it.
A: No, I love that! Because I journal a lot too, and when I feel bad, I’m always like,
“Why this?” And I journal through it, and at the end it’s always at a positive note.
S: Right. And it also helps that dance is so therapeutic. So it’s the one thing that I love is-
not the one thing I love, the only thing I love-but a thing I love so much
and it’s such a huge part of my life is always the thing that ends up uplifting me anyway,
you know? It’s kind of awesome. Even if dance is a source of stress or sadness or frustration,
it always dance that gets me out of it too, you know?
A: You can’t stay mad and dance right? You just can’t.
S: It just gets it all out. Yeah, for sure.
A: So at this point, you traveled to so many places around the world to teach dance.
I want to ask: what has been the most memorable or impactful moment from all of those?
S: One was in Hong Kong. The first time I went to Hong Kong, it was during a time
where I was travelling a lot internationally. I had just started travelling a lot internationally,
and I felt very directionless or just kind of didn’t understand the-
what the point of what I was doing. I just felt kind of lost in what I was doing.
Yes, I was travelling. On the surface level, it looked like I was being, you know, successful.
But I just didn’t feel quite right, fulfilled. I just felt like everything was about social media
and everything was like, “Famous this, famous that.” And I just felt really turned off by it.
And then I-so I wasn’t feeling good. I wasn’t feeling good about where I was ability-wise,
just down on myself. It was just a period of time where I was down on myself
and a little bit lost and not fully confident in what I was doing. Then I went to Hong Kong
and I taught a class, blah blah blah. Then afterwards, students will come say thank you,
take pictures, talk to me. There was this one girl. She was fifteen, thirteen or fifteen,
a young teen. And she told me that, “Because of you, I want to be strong.
And I know that I can be strong too, because you’re small like me
and I didn’t think someone like you could be strong.” She said it way more to the point.
A: Oh my god.
S: It was that message for me, it was that moment where I realized what I do
has greater implications beyond dance. You know, it’s like, when people come to class,
they’re learning lessons that will hopefully stay with them, you know, in their lives forever.
It’s not just about a step and mastering a step and whatever. This girl, you know, in Asia-
I’ve traveled to many different countries in Asia. It’s still very patriarchal, so very
“Women are secretaries, women are the wives.” And to be able to travel to a-
and you know, see a young, small Asian girl say, “You know what, I’ve seen you.
You could be so strong. I want to be strong too.” It’s just…
A: That’s so-I would cry.
S: I was going-I’m trying not to cry talking about it, but it was during a time
where I just felt so lost and then all I did was teach a piece and for that to impact her
the way that it did? It was like, “Yo, she’s going to be a boss one day now.”
A: I know!
S: You know? CEO or whatever she wants to be. A biologist, a coder.
S: Anything, a singer. She’s gonna-the fact that I kind of helped her believe
she can be as strong and as big as she wants to be, through a piece.
Through a dance, a routine. It was so, ahh.
A: I love that. That’s so empowering.
S: So that was like, “F yeah, I’m gonna keep going. This is why, this is why
I was given this weird way that I move. This is why I’m short.”
A: It all comes together. It’s all used up.
S: So that was super defining and kind of just-I think about it every time I feel a little lost
or purposely directionless. You know what, this is reaching people I don’t know beyond
my own acknowledgement. I can’t, I don’t know who this could be reaching, I guess,
is what I should say. And because of that, I should keep going you know. That was one.
A: If you get that-you see the results and the rewards of your work,
how can you stop doing what you’re doing?
S: Right, it’s just-
A: You just gotta keep going. And keep spreading the love.
Now let’s switch over to-let’s talk about your dance pieces. I want to know:
what is your favorite piece you’ve choreographed, and why?
S: Ohh, this is a hard question because I feel like every week I make one that I feel like is best.
A: You make one a week?
S: Well, no, I don’t make one a week. But I just feel like I’m constantly training
outside of just teaching choreography to get better overall as a dancer/choreographer.
So every time I create I feel like it’s better than my last.
A: Oh yeah. That’s great!
S: Not every single piece, but oftentimes, I just feel like, “Okay, I’ve grown in, as a mover,
so this new piece is better.” I would say, just in terms of one that means a lot to me,
is my “Like a Boy” piece because I made it for my teammate. So yeah, it just-
that one means a lot more and I think it’s going to be hard
until I make another piece dedicated for someone.
A: I guess you can’t compare in that sense, what’s better or what’s not better.
S: Other than that, I just feel like I’m trying to outdo myself all the time. And also,
once you-I feel like, once I create something, once I choreograph something, I’ll love it.
And then two months later, I’ll be like, “That’s whack.”
A: You’re over it.
A: That’s how I feel about videos. Every week, when I create a video, I’m like,
“This is the best. This is my best work.” And then a couple weeks later, I have a-
“Okay, I’m over it.” You just keep moving forward.
S: I think it’s growth.
S: It’s just when you grow and you get insight. Fresher insight, more informed, skilled.
Then you’re like, “Nah, that’s whack.”
A: Yeah, I love it. Do you have a favorite quote?
S: Aw, this is so hard because I love quotes!
A: Well, pick one.
S: Oh gosh, I love quotes so much. So hard. Okay, I think one is-I don’t even remember
who this is by. It’s “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope-“
I can’t even recite this verbatim. But, basically it’s like, when you get to the end of your life,
you would hope to say that you used every bit of the talent you were given,
like nothing went to waste. And I like it, not necessarily for the spiritual/religious aspect of it,
but for this idea that you’re given opportunities. You’re given talents.
You’re given gifts and thoughts and all these really nice, awesome things.
I think it is our responsibility to make the most out of it in a positive way. I think that one is top.
A: I love that. That aligns with what I believe in, like you should use everything that you have.
All your gifts and your life experience, nothing’s wasted. It’s all put to use.
S: And I just want to add, because I think I can complain about being at a disadvantage
to other successful people who had all these hookups and money and blah blah blah.
But I still have so much that I can work with. And because of that,
I have a responsibility to help make the world better.
A: And you have the responsibility to do it in your own way.
A: Because every voice is unique, and every voice is necessary.
A: Or it adds to the-you know, it brings something to the table.
S: I just read something about that. It’s another quote about how dimming someone’s light
doesn’t make you better, it just makes the world darker.
A: Yeah! I love that.
S: Everyone should contribute.
A: Everyone should just support each other and lift each other up. Because it’s not a race, right?
S: It’s so different.
A: It’s bringing everyone up.
S: Everyone’s so different and needs to-
A: I think that took a few years for me to learn though. Like when I was in college,
I would compare myself to other people, you know what I mean?
S: Oh, of course.
A: You’re competitive. But the older you get, the more you realize you’re in your own path.
No one needs to compare.
S: It’s even harder with girls.
A: Yeah, it is!
S: Because there are less girls at the top. So it gives females this idea
that there’s only X amount of spots for girls to thrive in whatever industry,
and as a result you need to compete with the next best. And I fall into that trap,
like in the beginning, you know. Just wanting to be the best and the only,
and I just realized, man, when you’re the only girl-and for me, when I’m traveling with ten dudes
and I’m the only girl, it sucks. I wish there were more girls with me.
A: I noticed that. You’re always with guys. Like where are the girls at?
S: Once I realized, I was like, “Dude, women are the best.” And I want to travel with more girls,
so once I realized that I can’t try to be the best-like I can try to be the best of myself,
but I need to bring other girls up, you know? And that’s what we should be doing for each other.
Not what happens oftentimes which is, you know, tearing people down
because you want to get up. But you know, if you’re a female and a leadership position,
it should be your responsibility to bring others up, not be the only girl up there, you know?
A: Yes, totally. I love it. So last question: do you have any advice for aspiring dancers or artists,
people who want to be like you?
S: Oh god. First of all, you don’t want to be like me; I’m a weirdo. I think for-
I’ll start really narrow with dancers and choreographers. I think you have to find who you are.
Figure that out, like really hard. Figure that out hard.
A: How would you do that?
S: I think it’s just-I mean, I’ve had so many different periods, patches of life crises
and soul-searching. I think everyone has a different way of discovering who they are.
But I don’t know, just doing things that make you happy and engaging yourself
in areas that you’re passionate about no matter how trivial or small or random they seem.
Like if it’s fishing, go fishing. I don’t know. That sounds so silly, but just invest yourself
in areas that you-that resonate with you, I guess, is how I would word it.
Having really awesome talks with friends, that’s always really eye-opening.
I think it’s-the reason why I say this, you have to know who you are,
is because if you don’t know who you are, or at least what you like
or have a general idea of that, it’s really hard to be your own artist. Because I think art
is such a reflection of the soul and the spirit or mentality, whatever.
So I think that’s why you see a lot of younger dancers and choreographers,
they come out with pieces that just look like other existing choreographers.
And it’s because they haven’t fully developed their own way of moving
and their own interpretation of music, and things like that. I think that comes from-
for dance specifically, you just need to train, a lot, with the people you really like,
the styles you really like, or with everyone to figure out what you like,
how you like to move. Commit to that no matter how weird it is, or how unpopular it is,
because that’s how you’re going to figure out who you are, and if you know who you are
as a mover and you really are in tune with that, then you’re going to be able to create things
that reflect that, reflect you. I think that’s the biggest thing that’s lacking, a lot of original-
S: Unique, original voices that are new.
A: It’s not easy. It comes with time.
S: That’s exactly what I was gonna say next. It takes so much time
and there’s always so [snapping] people want things to be so expedited.
A: Did you have a clicking point where you’re like, “Oh, this is me!”?
Was it when you started or a few years in?
S: I’ve, I’ve always hit hard. It’s always been my-it’s never been my effort thing.
I have always…interpretive dance like that and that’s just the way that-
when I feel empowered, when I dance like that. And I think when I was first transitioning
into professional-pursuing dance, a lot of teachers would mention, “Oh, don’t hit so hard.”
Or, “You’re a girl. You’re a woman. You don’t dance like a woman.”
A: Oh, shit.
S: Which basically means like move your hips and do body rolls. It does mean
more than that but for me, I was just so confused. I was like, “But I like dancing like this.
This is me.” For the longest time, I was really confused. People are telling me
what I’m doing is wrong but it feels like it’s me.
A: It feels right.
S: And then one day, I think I was just like, “F it.” I don’t know, I was like-
I just had an epiphany. I was like, “I-This is me. I don’t care. You can’t…first of all,
you can’t even confine-gender roles and norms are so prehistoric now, 1990-whatever.”
But I get there are differences, you know. And that there are beautiful feminine qualities
and beautiful masculine qualities, whatever. Yes, I agree all of those exist.
Then I just realized I’m gonna be me. I’m gonna dance like me. I’m gonna strengthen me.
I’m also going to learn all these other things so that when people are like,
“Dance like a woman,” I’ll be like, “Okay, fine. Here. I’ll move my hips.”
But then I would always go back to what I love and what’s true to me.
Once I realized I understand all the vocabulary and the terms and the variations
and I respect all of it, but you have to just do what feels-
A: Do you.
S: Do you, yeah.
A: So expand your vocabulary, go out and learn everything, but at the end of the day,
you still have to do you.
S: Yeah, I think appreciate-my way’s not the best way, and I know that. But it’s my way.
You know? It’s the way that I like to move, and once I realized it’s okay to,
exactly, learn everything else and have an appreciation for everything else
and understanding of everything else, it actually helps you. Since you’ve kind of
surveyed the field, it’s like, “Alright, well I’ve tried this. But this is what feels best for me,
you know?” And just sticking with that.
A: Yeah, and I think that can apply to not just dance but all other places of life.
Yeah, everything. Alright, that’s all for today.
A: Thank you so much. Honestly, I love you so much. You’re so sweet
and you’re so empowering.
S: You are!
A: I can’t wait to see the amazing things you do in life.
S: You too!
A: I’ll be following along.
S: You’re like the most skilled person I know, for real. Sometimes I’m like,
“I don’t know how to do this, I don’t know how to do this.”
But you know how to do everything, I feel.
A: Oh my gosh. I admire you. Everyone, make sure you check out Sorah Yang.
I have all her links in the description. Amazing, amazing person. Okay, make sure you watch
the next video. We have a video where Sorah shares her favorite things.
Also, comment below with your favorite takeaway from this video. So that’s it!
A: Thank you. This was Artist of Life by Lavendaire. See you next time.
How much do you really know about yourself?
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