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02/05/2018 Interview > Faculty


Founding the First Korean Dance Troupes Association

A professor and a ballet dancer, Moon Young-chul


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There is an old saying on unity, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’. It is important for people to cooperate and organize to raise their voice on issues and deliver their will more effectively. Professor Moon Young-chul, from the Department of Dance, has been a professional ballet dancer for over forty years and has always had the urge to bring dance troupes in Korea together for common goals. Thanks to his hard work, more than fifty organizations from three different fields of dance from – Korean dance, modern dance, and ballet – were able to cut the ribbons on July 13, 2017.
Although it was a Saturday, Moon came to school for practice. 

Voicing out issues

One of the many issues that Moon and the Korean Dance Troupes Association (tentative title) are interested in is the military issue of Korean male dancers. As dancing requires daily practice in a specific condition, male dancers in the nation are having a difficult time continuing their career while having to serve in the military for almost two years. There are very limited opportunities for exemption compared to other fields of art such as music. While there are more than 240 awards which are subject for the exemption annually, male dancers must win first prize from one of the four events to be exempt from military duty, which are the Dong-A Dance Competition, Seoul Dance Festival, Korea Dance Festival, and the Korea Newbie Dancer Competition. 

“Korean dancers are good, but the condition is harsh up to the point where foreign dance companies ‘import’ our dancers” lamented Moon. Moon plans to discuss such issues with the head of other dance troupes and bring them up to the table as much as he can. The association also aims to provide foundations for the member organizations to brand themselves, promoting Korea to the world. Moon’s MoonYoungChul Ballet Pomea contributes a lot in that sense.
As well as the media work and teaching,
Moon works hard to live up to another title of his, 'a ballet dancer'.
(Video courtesy of Moon)

Leading creative ballet in Korea

MoonYoungChul Ballet Poema was founded in 2003 by Moon when he started teaching in HYU. He brought Hanyang graduates and students together to perform creative ballet, scripts inspired from literature. ‘Poema’ means poet in Spanish. Moon named his organization as such because he believes ballet dancing is like a poet, literary and delicate. The organization performs once a year with original pieces. Moon organized his ballet group aiming to make the creative ballet group that represents the whole nation. In a sense, he has already achieved that goal. The MoonYoungChul Ballet Poema has won dozens of awards in Korea and has been invited to perform in Saint Petersburg, Russia for four years in a row. The most recent performance was titled <The Blue Bird>, from Maurice Maeterlinck’s script <The Blue Bird (1908)>.
A video clip from last year, The MoonYoungChul Ballet Poema performing  <The Blue Bird>
(Video courtesy of Moon)

Moon himself occasionally performed in the play although he does not plan to take the stage this year. When asked what motivated him so much from a young age to continue in ballet and constantly strive to dance, produce, and engage in backstage jobs, Moon replied that “ballet is like a drug to me. I just can’t live without it.” 

With the passion he has inside, he aspires to provide more stage for his students now. “Students need motivation to keep them practicing every day. I feel like it is my duty now to find and give as much opportunity to them,” smiled Moon. Recently appointed as the 17th president of the Dance Research Journal of Korea, Moon will be busier than ever. “Dance and procrastination never go along. The one who keeps working and keeping themselves busy will survive,” emphasized Moon. He wishes his students to participate more in the academic realm of ballet, as its importance is growing day by day.

Kim So-yun
Photos by Choi Min-ju
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