Jae Man Joo

Music for contemporary ballet

Jae Man Joo’s route to professional dancer status in New York City is the stuff dreams and clichéd movie plots are made of. Only a month after moving to the city in 1996 from his native Korea, Joo was spotted in class by Complexions Contemporary Ballet artistic directors Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden and offered a spot in the company. When Joo retired from dancing in 2006, he became Complexions’ ballet master. In 2011, Richardson and Rhoden again approached him, this time asking him to be their associate artistic director. When he started choreographing for the company in 2007, it made perfect sense—he already knew every dancer’s strength and weakness.

Because his choreography can be both intricately nuanced and full-blown, Joo usually leans toward music with some space in it, as you’ll see in his music recommendations below. “I don’t like too many textures happening at once,” he says. “Clean music gives me more room to create the movement and focus on how the dancers move.” DT

 

Artist: Toru Takemitsu

Song: Adagio piano pieces

“His piano music is so beautiful—unique, and sometimes very silent. Because the music is so pure, I use it when I’m creating movement. It gives me a lot of room to experiment.

 

Artist: Keith Kenniff

Album: The Malady of Elegance

“He makes postmodern classical piano music. I use it for rehearsing, but I really wanted to use it for a piece and finally did—for my last Complexions piece, recur. I love it because it’s such tender music, with so much love in it. When I listen, it makes me think about where I came from, my past, my childhood.”

 

Artist: Johann Sebastian Bach

Album: Sonatas and Partitas for solo violin, as played by Vito Paternoster

“I guess everybody loves Bach, but I’m really crazy about his music. It’s so dance-friendly! It’s very deep, very soulful. You can listen to his music on a rainy day with a cup of coffee or use it for choreography—it makes everybody want to dance.”

 

Artist: Pietro Mascagni

Song: “Intermezzo,” from the opera Cavalleria Rusticana

“This is my favorite music of all time. I don’t think I can choreograph to it—everybody knows it—but I can always listen to it and feel amazing.”

 

 

 

Artist: Paul Giger

Album: Towards Silence

“It’s all about the power of the string. I want to choreograph to this music. I listen to the radio a lot, and I make sure to find out who the composer is if I like a piece. This music feels like it comes through my veins.”

 

Photo by Jin-Hwang, courtesy of Joo

 

Teacher Voices
Photo courtesy Rhee Gold Company

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there has been a shift in our community that is so impressive that the impact could last long into our future. Although required school closures have hit the dance education field hard, what if, when looking back on this time, we see that it's been an incredible renaissance for dance educators, studio owners and the young dancers in our charge?

How could that be, you ask?

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending
Photo by Yvonne M. Portra, courtesy Faulkner

It's a Wednesday in May, and 14 Stanford University advanced modern ­dance students are logged on to Zoom, each practicing a socially distanced duet with an imaginary person. "Think about the quality of their personality and the type of duet you might have," says their instructor Katie Faulkner, "but also their surface area and how you'd relate to them in space." Amid dorm rooms, living rooms, dining rooms and backyards, the dancers make do with cramped quarters and dodge furniture as they twist, curve, stretch and intertwine with their imaginary partners.

Keep reading... Show less
Music
Getty Images

Securing the correct music licensing for your studio is an important step in creating a financially sound business. "Music licensing is something studio owners seem to either embrace or ignore completely," says Clint Salter, CEO and founder of the Dance Studio Owners Association. While it may seem like it's a situation in which it's easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission—that is, to wait until you're approached by a music-rights organization before purchasing a license—Salter disagrees, citing Peloton, the exercise company that produces streaming at-home workouts. In February, Peloton settled a music-licensing suit with the National Music Publishers' Association out-of-court for an undisclosed amount. Originally, NMPA had sought $300 million in damages from Peloton. "It can get extremely expensive," says Salter. "It's not worth it for a studio to get caught up in that."

As you continue to explore a hybrid online/in-person version of your class schedule, it's crucial that your music licenses include coverage for livestreamed instruction—which comes with its own particular requirements. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about music licensing—in both normal times and COVID times—as well as some safe music bets that won't pose any issues.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.