Senior succeeds in dance industry

In chasing her passion for dancing, Diamond Bar High School senior Rachel Kim went so far as to switch high schools. Her persistence has led her to many professional opportunities, such as working with a celebrity.

Kim said she was inspired to start dancing after watching a school talent show in fifth grade. Following her enthusiasm for dance, Kim transferred to DBHS from South Hills High School starting her sophomore year solely to participate in the DBHS Dance Company.

“I heard about the dance team, and I watched YouTube videos of their performances. I wanted to be a part of them,” Kim said.

Of the nine groups, Kim participates in Small Female Hip Hop, Medium Co-ed Hip Hop, Small Co-ed and Small Contemporary. It was through the DBHS dance program that she was able to learn about gigs outside of school.

DBHS All Male and Co-ed team coach Jason Lin introduced Kim to an opportunity to perform with rapper Jackson Wang. In July 2019, Kim joined eight others to prepare for the concert at the “Head In The Clouds II” music festival in Los Angeles, learning the choreography to “Fendiman,” “Okay,” “Papillon” and “Face.” Because  she was initially worried about her skills, Kim said that she worked hard to keep up.

“[My coach] basically got an opportunity to work with them and asked me if I wanted to work with them as well,” Kim said. “At first, I didn’t know it was going to be with Jackson Wang. I really didn’t want to disappoint any of the artists or the team or my coach.”

Unfortunately, Wang pulled out of the 88Rising festival amidst tensions over the Hong Kong protests. Though Kim never got to perform at the concert, she said she was grateful for the opportunity to attend rehearsals and to “get to know him and the choreography.”

“It was very fast-paced because my coach had to teach us, finish the choreo within two weeks. [Jackson] also has his own style of performing. So he was asking us to party, have fun and even splash water on the audience,” Kim said. “It was really fun, and it was also tough because I had to match and follow what they wanted.”

Another opportunity came through Eileen Kim, the coach for All Female and Small Co-ed. The coach introduced Kim to a hair fashion show held in October with the company J Beverly Hills. While wearing hair pieces by hair stylist Nikola Pavlickova, Kim performed Blackpink’s “DDU-DU DDU-DU” and “Kill This Love.”

Kim plans to continue dancing in college and professionally. Besides performing and creating choreography, Kim said that she wants to lead a team, possibly someday at DBHS.

“I feel joy when I work with other people and when I direct them and guide them,” Kim said.