Today I'm super-psyched to share an interview with artist and dancer Hok Konishi. Well-known from two huge dance competitions (Season 3 Winner with Quest Crew on MTV's America's Best Dance Crew and Season 3 Top 20 on So You Think you Can Dance) Hok is known as an amazingly innovative dancer and choreographer. If you ever get the opportunity to see Hok or Quest Crew perform, please take it! Arnold and I dragged our friends from Colombia to see them at the Monsters of Hip Hop Dance Convention last year and were blown away by their performance. Our friend Andres whose English is quite limited said it best... he turned to me after seeing them dance and said "Emily, now I understand what the word awesome means." Please welcome Hok to the blog!
1) The person who kicked off this series was your dance partner from “So You Think You Can Dance” Jaimie Goodwin. When I asked her if she knew ahead of time that the Hummingbird would become huge she told us she had no idea. What was going through your head when you first learned that routine?
the concept, style, the approach was all so new to me that it felt extremely foreign. but once i was able to get into it it really seemed like i was in a different world. i really had no idea the piece would win an emmy tho!
2) If I remember correctly you didn’t have any formal training in dance? Did you like trying out other dance styles? Are there any that you still use or do they influence your current style in any way?
i took jazz classes for like 3 months after i was done with school and was getting ready for auditions. compared to the people who majored dance in school, or grew up with studios or conventions i was nothing close to them in terms of training though. i wish i had grown up with that kind of resource. i would eventually love to pick up a new style so i will be able to dance with my wife when i become an old man.
3) You’ve done really well on two big national TV shows (SYTYCD and ABDC). How did those experiences change you as an artist and as a person?
it really made me realize that there are no limits to possibilities. i came from a foreign country and did 2 big competitions... if i can do it, anyone can.
4) For many dancers either of those experiences would be a dream come true. For you, what goals and dreams do you have for your career now? What is your definition of personal and professional success?
i would love to go to new countries and cities that i haven't been yet... i LOVE traveling!! i would love to see new places, meet new people, and eat new food... as a dancer i am still a student and there is so much i have to work on. there are so many good dancers out there nowadays! i would also like to expand the horizons of "expression' by combining dance, art, and music... all that will be done with QUEST CREW:)
5) One of the things I loved about you from the beginning as a dancer is that your musicality is so creative. Many dancers have amazing technique but lack the artistry to choreograph. How do you choreograph? Do you visually see in your head what you want to do when you hear music? Do you think it out beforehand? Or do you just play the song, stand up and work it out physically?
it is very different every time. sometimes i come up with the concept first, and other times i hear the music then feel something that comes from the inside.
6) A lot of dancing involves partnership: in your opinion what makes for a great dance partner? Or in the case of a crew, partners?
i am no professional in terms of partnering, but as in crews and working with other people, chemistry is definitely important (...unless you are gifted with extreme talent to cover it). how you get along as people, and respecting each other. understanding how each other work.
7) Many creative people express themselves in various outlets. What other creative outlets do you enjoy? How do you find dance and other creative outlets to be similar or different?
Drawing, Painting and cooking. all are pretty much the same but some mediums are easier to express certain things than the other. its like explaining things using different languages.
Note from MLE: I LOVE this metaphor! I'm going to start using it everyday.
8) I saw that you have a regularly updated blog! Blogging is the medium that encouraged me to be a more creative person. What draws you to blogging?
2 big reasons. one is for my grandparents. they haven't seen half the world i have so if i can share the experience through the blog they can atleast see some of it with the food i eat, the pictures i take, the videos that i make, and the dance i dance. the second one is so that i can have something to look back on in 10 years or so. i am very bad at remembering things so i would want something to look back at.
9) Who are you inspirations as an artist (dance or non/dance)?
Salvador Dali (there are so many others but he has been my biggest inspiration)
10) What drives you as an artist?
Emotions and thoughts
11) Please finish the following sentence. “When I dance I feel…”
Thanks for sharing your thoughts Hok. We hope to see more of you!