Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park professor to unveil newest choreography at local ballet theatre

Photo by Christopher Duncan
Jae Man Joo, professor at the university, to debut new project this week with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater.


World-renowned choreographer and Assistant Professor of Dance Jae Man Joo is premiering his newest project, When Time Stands Still, at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre (PBT) Spring Mix April 5-7.


Known for his emotional and expressive ballet choreography, Joo’s newest work is a commissioned piece for Spring Mix, a showcase of ballet choreography alongside three other choreographed works. When Time Stands Still is a pas de deux piece (duet) featuring 20 ballet dancers from PBT.


Born and raised in Korea, Joo came to the United States in 1992 and has worked as a principal dancer, artistic director and ballet master at several companies, including Ballet Hispanico and Complexions Contemporary Ballet Company. Both companies are based in New York City. He was awarded the Princess Grace Award in 2009 for excellence in choreography, an extremely prestigious award in the art community. In fall of 2022, Joo accepted a position as an assistant professor of dance here at Point Park.


“Having him as a professor in my senior year was perfect because he focused on getting us into shape to go out in the real world,” said senior dance major Alyssa Alford. “It’s easy to feel defeated in a dance setting when you’re being pushed, but Jae Man was also very encouraging and made it clear he’s hard on us because he knows what we’re capable of. He’s an extremely passionate teacher and choreographer.”


Since then, he has choreographed his biggest piece to date. Entitled “DIVINE,” the piece premiered in Gwangju, the South Korean city where Joo was born and raised. Most recently, his choreography was featured during Point Park’s Faculty Choreolab in an emotional and intimate piece titled “Cry Me,” showcasing dancers from the COPA dance program.


“Every performance was another opportunity to transform emotionally and physically into what Jae Man Joo was asking of me, while trusting my technique and rehearsals,” said Amber Morgan, senior dance major. “Because this was a new work and my specific part in the piece was a duet, Jae Man Joo took every rehearsal as time to develop the choreography personal to us and our partnership with each other.”


As a professor, Joo encourages his students to push the boundaries with their artistry. Teaching ballet technique and pas de deux, he works with his students to create a welcoming environment where students can be comfortable to go all out.


“From working with Jae, the biggest thing I have learned is to not underestimate myself and what I am capable of,” said freshman dance major Bronson Dahmer. “He encourages us to dream big and is willing to help you in any way he can to make those dreams a possibility. Having him behind me this year has fostered so much growth in myself as a dancer and a human.”


So, if you would like to see the intensely emotional work of Jae Man Joo in motion, consider going out to see When Time Stands Still, the third and final act of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s Spring Mix next weekend. It will be at the Benedum Center from April 5-7. Tickets are available at pbt.org.

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