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Please introduce yourself to the “Bling” readers.
I’m Kim Young Woo a.k.a Monster Woo. I don’t know what to say when I try to introduce myself. I’m someone who does things? I like dancing, I like (fine) arts, I like alcohol (laughs) I like coffee and I like carrot cake.
You’ve probably introduced yourself as a dancer in many interviews since the beginning.
It came out naturally back then, but I don’t know what to say recently. My way of thinking changed a lot. Should I say my standards/values change? I’m changing quickly with each day passing by. It was a coincidence that I came across this fine art called dancing. I genuinely loved it, so I began to do it with a “I must work hard at it” mindset. Two months after getting into dancing, I won the second competition I participated in. This fine art called dancing is something I started when I was about 24/25 which is much later than usual. I totally dedicated myself to practicing and it worked. Of course, the jealousy and envy of those who’ve been dancing for a long time came along. That’s why I think I developed this “I need to prove myself” mindset. However, this was a lot of to handle for a very long time. I realized that getting this recognition from others is really tiring for my mind and my body.
Your body went through a lot because you were young at that time and thougt you could do it.
True. My body got really messed up. It still hurts when I go too hard on some movements. Right now, I feel like I’m back to when I just began dancing and I liked it. I’m not inexperienced. As time goes by, I think things pile up too. I mean, my knowledge about my own body rhythm or my dancing. Now I just want to own it and express something new. It’s something I think about a lot and make plans for. Let’s talk about it in a fun way. When I was young, I could go out and ride my motorcycle even on a cold day like today, but now I would never go out. (laughs)
I did think you’d keep researching endlessly on your own. What do you think is the most important thing when dancing?
Basic skills are basic, so it’s only fair that it’s important to have basic skills. Because it’s necessary in order to be able to move your body in a natural way. I think music is important. The emotion I feel inside of me when I listen to the music. There are various things. According to the space I’m in, the emotion I feel may be different. To put it simply, it’s about using my body to show my energy. Even more these days.
I’m curious about how it began.
It all began when I was working at Club NB. I was in the cleaning crew. The managers saw how I looked and kept saying I should be a dancer. Many professional dancers (mostly hip-hop dancers; standing dancers) chilled at NB. Back then, things were definitely more analog than now, so there weren’t many ways to learn. Besides, I thought over which kind of dancing would be a good match for me. Isn’t it funny for someone with my looks and my vibe to suddenly do a “robot dance”? A Krump dancer from the US came to the club one day and his dancing was really charismatic. I began learning how to dance as I watch a DVD he gave me.
Right. When people say “Monster Woo”, isn’t there also the recognition that you made Krumping known in Korea?
There were people who were like “what the hell is that?” when they first saw me krumping. Clubs now are different from back then. There used to be more professional dancers in clubs. Sometimes dance teams were created just organically likehrough a circle for instance. A hyung who saw me dancing at the club came to me and offered me to prepare a dance competition with him.
Is there also a difference between your Krumping style back then and the current krumping style?
I think there’s almost no difference. I think what’s different is the people. To be honest, most of the Krump style today is stuff I taught. I’m not either the type to constantly look around right now. What you can express through the same rhythm is restricted and what I create is something that can’t be defined with one thing. It’s like a baby who knows absolutely nothing but seems to dance when he/she hears music. It’s like your body moving after putting on music when you’re at home.
Dancers are getting more and more attention these days. Uploading dance videos is no big deal now. Isn’t it something that has changed compared to before?
Maybe it’s because I don’t look up this stuff, but I don’t really know if dancers are put in the spotlight now. Considering I’ve been dancing for 10 years more or so. There are times when I think the way young dancers dance now is how we all used to dance back in the day. There are times when I think it’s outdated. However, this is suddenly getting attention now? For us, there are times when we’re looking for something new, there are times when what we consider old gets popular, and it is hard sometimes to fill the gap between the two extremes. For instance, it’s exactly like asking me to show you how krumping was 5 years ago.
Let’s talk about you as the leader of the Woofam.
I created it between 2006 and 2007. I had been dancing for about 2 or 3 years. There were my friends Buckey and Young Star. They’re still in the Woofam. I had this vision in my mind as I looked at them. That’s why I asked them to join me. If it’s the time to brag, I want to brag about the two of them who are awesome and who are loyal.
As soon as you started talking about Woofam, your gaze changed. Your tenderness for them is oozing.
Instead of saying tenderness, I’d say it’s more about caring a lot. They’re like my kids.They’re awesome dancers, but I also handle everyday personal stuff like their dating life. (laughs)
I think there’s probably one thing only the Woo Fam can do.
All genre. They’re all good.
How long do you think you can go on stage as a dancer?
I should just go and stand on the stage I create for myself. Maybe up to my 70’s? I won’t be able to dance as fast as a computer character like in my younger days, though. I think I’ll move as much as my body will allow me to. Because I enjoy working out.
You haven’t been showing this image for a while, so there shouldn’t be a prejudice. You can be serious, but you show a lot that you also have this happy and playful side.
I always try to make life fun.
What do you do on a day off?
When I’m at home, I work out, even if it’s just briefly. When the weather is good, I go out and go for a ride on my motorcycle. It’s a hobby, just like I enjoy drinking a cup of coffee and eating sweet things. I don’t try to look up or to shoot artistic videos. I messed up too bad when I was a kid and my balance in life got broken to the point I couldn’t even live like a human being anymore. I like meeting people too. I’m talking about stuff like “hey you, how did it go with this woman?”. I also like walking around. I like listening to lectures.
Lectures? You’re talking about dance lectures?
No! I mean any kind of lectures you can watch on Youtube. It can be about any religion like Hindouism. It can be about anything helping me to organize my thoughts. When I work out or when I’m bored, I get glued to my iPhone. It gives me things worth to help me and I use them too sometimes.
Wow, did you say Hindouism? (laughs) When I look at your Instagram page, there are some comments saying you’re sexy or you’re stylish.
It’s the first social media profile I started. My nickname there is #DaddyWoo. In the US, a “daddy” is a macho man, someone who knows how to take care of women and kids. It’s a nickname my followers gave me. I think it does suit me at some extent. I think it’s a space where you can be free at some extent. I mean, my Instagram page. (laughs) It’s the kind of space where women just say whatever they want to say.
Tell us about your future goals.
To be a dancer who can help people whenever he can.
You’re currently helping me a lot.
Haha! I want to become someone who becomes help in other people’s lives in any shape or form. Through written words or choreography videos or through my Instagram profile. I think about it a lot these days. Things like expressing myself and my emotions were things I already did a lot when I was young. I participated in many competitions, so I won many prizes. This was something that was important back then and I think it helped me a lot in the end, but I want to become a dancer of good character. I like the artistic aspect of things, but I just want to live like a true human being. A dancer with a good balance between the artistic side of things and the human side of things.
Is there a difference between Dancer Monster Woo and Kim Young Woo?
I think they’re both a part of who I am. I think the dancer in me is about 20-30% of who I am. I’m not the “Dance is my life” type. I never said the words “I’m a Krump dancer” and I’ve been this way for more than six years now. I’m just someone who likes dancing and fine art. I think that’s the best way to describe me right now. And there’s also the part of me who is crazy about old school custom classic motorcycles. It’s a machine who makes me feel something in the life I lead as a man. That’s what riding a motorcycle is to me. Women, you surely have something that make you feel the same way. This feeling when I get to ride my bike when the weather allows is, words can’t express it.
How would you like people to remember Dancer Monster Woo?
As someone who likes fine arts and who likes good people. I wonder if “dancing” is several processes. Instead of being remembered as Dancer Monster Woo, I think I’d like it better if people remembered me as Kim Young Woo who tried his hardest for the people around him. That’s the way I should live.
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The Bling Magazine
Translation: @thesunnytown – thesunnytown.wordpress.com