So You Think You Can Dance Australia: Interview With Choreographer Supple
In Season 1 hip hop choreographer Supple blew Australian audiences away with some of his fantastic choreography on So You Think You Can Dance Australia . This week he is back again to share his unique choreography style. To remind yourself how great his routines were last year check out the You Tube clip above.
Last week Supple gracious enough to take the time from his busy schedule to answer a few of my questions.
First I had to get to the bottom of his rather unusual accent he revealed his parents are Korean, but he was born in South America and raised in Australia, and has been based in London since 2000.
In Australia he was granted a scholarship in Year 11 to go MacDonald College in Sydney but prior to that he was a self taught dancer. He represented Australia in Hip hop world championships and after that he ended up basing himself in London where there were more dance opportunities for his unique style of dancing.
How did he get the name Supple? He revealed at a high school disco he was dancing in a bendy and windy way. People would say to you the ‘dancer that dances like a rubber band’ which he hated. But his sister said you are supple and she started calling him that. “Pretty much 90 per cent of people I know, know me as Supple.” he said.
Supple’s Singing in the Rain routine was one of the people’s favourite routine from Season One SYTYCDA. He revealed he had previously choreographed a routine to an advertisement which used the same music. The commercial won three awards at Cannes Film Festival. When the producers of SYTYCDA were looking at his body of work they really liked the commercial, and asked him to choreograph a routine to this song.
Supple said he was reluctant to do so at first. However he said, “I did it and thankfully it turned out great.”.
When he is working on SYTYCDA. He gets two days with the dancers, “Those two days are pretty limited….maybe four hours, three hours each day.”
First day he shows them the routine where “hopefully they pick up everything.”
The second day is refining it. He said on the second day “I make sure it looks good and if they cannot do what I have asked them to do I will work out their strengths so they do not look bad.”
“I believe as a choreographer, just like a leader you have got to bring out the best of the people around you.”
“It does not make sense for me to get dancers to do things they cannot do, as it represents my piece. And if they don’t represent my piece very well people will think Supple’s work is not great.” he said.
He also turns up to the dress rehearsals of the show to ensure his vision is realised.
He said the producers basically gives him as much creative freedom as they can. They do however have to approve the song choice.
Supple said by being on the show last year further career opportunities emerged. “At first I was only meant to do two routines.” . However after these the producers wanted him to stay to do more routines. “I was very flattered.” he said.
“A production company called Dion and Randall snatched me up to choreograph and stage direct one of their productions called Gypsy Moon in Korea.”
On being asked if there was going to be any opportunity to choreograph on the US version of So You Think You Can Dance he said “They actually asked me last year… but unfortunately because of my timetable it did not work out, but this year fingers crossed if they ask me I guess I will be more prepared.”
Bonnie Lythgoe gave great feedback to the US producers of the show which helped them take notice of his work.
When I asked him who his favourite choreographers were he was a little overwhelmed ” There are so many I love… I love choreographers that challenge. I love Mia Michaels work, also Marty Kudelka (who choreographs Justin Timberlake.) and Richard Tone. I loved the work that Wade Robson did for Brittany Spear’s Circus.” But he summed it up as ” I love choreographers work, and I love choreographer who are willing to take risks.”.
After he leaves Australia he will continue to work on a production using Shakespeare’s words in a hip hop forum. He is doing this with the music composer Ilan Eshkeri who wrote the music score for the movie The Duchess.
While he is in Australia Supple is doing some workshops. There are still some places left, however get in quick as the numbers are limited.
He says “The workshops cater for all different styles from beginners to advanced.”
He has a very zen outlook on life he said he would rather do “Not so great work and have a great time, rather than doing great work and having a miserable time.”
Details of the workshops below:
Saturday 18th April 2009
12.00pm = Open Level
2.00pm = Intermediate to Advanced Level
@ Latin Motion Dance Studios
47-51 Unwins Bridge Rd, Sydenham (corner Railway Rd)
* Book now by ringing 9557-7751 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday 19th April 2009
4.30pm = Special Tricks with Popping & Breakdancing
6.30pm = Open Jam Session
Studio 11 Dance Studios
1/2 Harford St, Jamisontown NSW in Penrith
* Book now by ringing 0405-776799 and 0404-601675 or email email@example.com
Tuesday 21st April 2009
8.30pm = Intermediate Level
Wednesday 22nd April 2009
8.00pm = Advanced/Professional Level
@ Salsa Republic Studios
42 Kensington Street Chippendale very close to Central/Broadway. Opposite UTS.
Just off from the corner of Harris Street and George Street (Chippendale for those that use GPS in the car)
* Book now by ringing 0404-885787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information can be found out about the workshops and Supple at www.thedancescientist.com