Gene Kim (Communication ’22) knew he had always wanted to incorporate his interpretation of the Christian faith into his creative endeavors. When he noticed the lack of gospel-related dance performances, he decided to choreograph and edit confessional dance videos for Instagram.
His three-part project is posted on his Instagram account, @thegenekim. He has uploaded two episodes so far: “Fellowship” and “The essence of sin”. Both have casts made up entirely of college students from the North West and aim to appeal to both Christian and non-Christian audiences.
“I thought (the faith-based dance space) was limited because it wasn’t as relatable or as enjoyable for people who weren’t part of the faith,” Kim said. “I wanted to make a series that was more applicable to everyone.”
He conceptualized the ideas for each of the episodes over the summer, but said he didn’t have the resources to begin before the school year began. Once he overcame scheduling difficulties, he would rehearse several times with the cast before filming the first episode.
Weinberg junior Michelle Lee, who is not a Christian, said she appreciated how Kim explained the backstory of her choreography. As a choreographer herself, she said she finds inspiration in the way he incorporates different narratives.
“My choreography was basically dancing, but for him it was a lot of storytelling, which I think is really cool,” Lee said.
Kim said the messages behind her videos stem from her belief that people don’t know much about Christianity beyond the basics of heaven, hell and the existence of God.
Throughout his faith journey, he finds insights in the gospel that everyone can relate to, regardless of religious background, he said.
“The gospel really enters into the human condition, the human psyche. It’s more than, ‘You need to be saved,'” Kim said. “Even if you don’t believe, I hope this gives some better insights into how humanity is.”
Although most of her cast are non-Christians, Kim believes the essence of Christianity is about inclusiveness and letting people come as they are to learn about faith.
Kim said he was initially concerned about the outside reception of the videos, but he said the series was received much better than expected. He said he found people were more willing to have a conversation about faith than he expected.
Weinberg’s junior Katherine Tu, who is not a Christian, said she considers Kim an inspiration both creatively and in the way he treats people.
“Gene is a very inspiring person in the way after every rehearsal starts, he makes sure everyone feels welcome and happy to start dancing,” Tu said.
Lee said the dance style was new to her, but Kim created an incredibly friendly environment for everyone. She said Kim is one of the most inspiring people she knows.
She recalled how he worked at the front desk of a dance studio in exchange for free dance lessons as an example of this trend.
“He has the courage, the determination and the passion to put a lot of effort and time into things that people don’t usually do,” Lee said. “He sacrifices all the time normal people would waste and puts all that time together into something he thinks will improve and something he’s passionate about.”
Kim aims to wrap up the third and final episode of her video series soon. Until then, he said he spent his time choreographing new moves and working on videography projects for various organizations on campus.
Once he moves to Los Angeles, California this summer, he said he hopes to incorporate faith more into his creative pursuits.
“The area where faith, dance and videography intersect is so small,” Kim said. “I really want to inspire others to be able to do more of this kind of work.”
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