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K-Pop dancer and Pianist Hannah Huang

Written By: Ayala Tzadikario

Dancer, pianist, and Youtube sensation Hannah Huang started dancing at only four years old at Pacific Ballet Academy. “Dance has been a part of my life for so long it is crazy to try to think of my life without it,” Huang said.

Dancing, however, was not always a passion for Huang. “I used to want to quit ballet and I used to beg my mom to let me quit but with time I realized that I really enjoyed it, and I am really happy she didn’t let me quit,” Huang said. “As a little kid it felt hard trying to achieve what my teachers wanted, which is the mix of perfect technique and artistry. There is no way to really achieve that perfection so there were times when I wanted to just stop reaching for it.”

Huang believes that striving for improvement created a lot of challenges, but working to overcome those setbacks  also helped her grow as a person. “As a dancer, there are very hard physical demands that you have to meet to be able to advance in things like ballet,” she said. “I remember when I was younger I felt that I was not flexible enough, so I would stretch every single day to get more flexible. I also constantly work out outside of ballet class so I can improve my strength and do the really hard combinations.”

Last year, Huang started dancing in Youtube videos with Stanford dancers covering kpop groups;one of those videos has reached around 55 thousand views. “For the video, I had to learn the part of one of the people in the kpop group and then recreate it and perform it with the entire group,” Huang said. “Creating the video was not as stressful as I thought it would be because they are not just doing one take; [they] are doing multiple takes. Then you have practices beforehand and practices with the videographer so you feel really prepared.”

Huang also started playing the piano at age four, though unlike ballet, she was passionate about it from the very beginning. “My older sister played piano, and I always heard her playing and thought it was so cool,” Huang said. “I would go to the piano after she played and just bang on the keys, and then I begged my parents to give me piano lessons. The teacher originally didn’t want to take me, but he saw how much I wanted it so he started teaching me anyway.”

Huang believes she started to really love playing the piano when she got a new teacher that looked past the mechanics and made her delve further into the emotion and the complexity of the piece. “I think that I love playing the piano so much more now because expressing the music can be really challenging,” she said. “Just playing the notes or having good technique is one thing, but making sure that what I am playing sounds like music and not just notes is exciting.”

Similarly to dance, Huang decided that she wanted to share her work on the piano, so she started doing piano covers and uploading them to her Instagram at least once a week. “When I play a cover, I am mostly doing it by ear. I don’t have any sheet music in front of me,” she said. “Figuring out how to play some of my favorite songs is so entertaining that I can do it for hours on end.”

Huang believes that both dance and piano have made a significant impact on her life. “From dance I learned how hard you have to work to be able to advance in anything and piano has definitely taught me to listen to people and music in a totally different way,” she said. “I wouldn’t trade either of those for the world.”

 

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