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Founder Hee Ra Yoo

Innovative Dance Educator

I am an artist who believes artwork can change our social structure. As an immigrant and person of color, I appreciate the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

My work tells the stories of my ancestors, my culture, and myself trying to bridge between cultures, and bringing people together. 


My choreography draws from many sources, from ancient Korean Royal Court dances to the 21st Century Gaga movement. Korean dance portrays a timeless calm, as the body moves with great weight. Gymnastics and ballet, by contrast, focus on weightlessness. When I choreograph, I enjoy finding the moment’s origin and then experimenting with breath, shape, and background ideas to recreate something new. I seek to transcend the divide between the East and the West using ritualism and the incorporation of high-energy modernist ideas. I make use of space and time, turning it into a theatrical melting pot with kinetic dance movements.


Every culture creates a form of dance to express itself. I create works that attempt to highlight the essence of a culture, its sensibilities, and beauty, filled with hybrid movements, dance lineages, and interdisciplinary collaborations.


International choreographer Hee Ra Yoo founded the New York contemporary dance company “Yoo and Dancers” in 2009 after completing the MFA program at NYU Tisch. Before moving to New York City in 2007, Hee Ra Yoo danced with the Korean National Ballet, the California Ballet, the San Diego City Ballet, and the Canberra Dance Theatre in Australia. Hee Ra Yoo has taught dance at Tulane University, Georgian Court University, SUNY Brockport New York, in NYC at Steps on Broadway, the Joffrey Ballet School, Gibney Dance Center (DNA), and Peridance. Before moving to the U.S. in 2000, She coached the Australian and Korean Olympic Gymnastics Teams. 

Hee Ra Yoo is currently teaching at the University of Hawaii.

"Hee Ra's work is dramatic, theatrical, and challenging. Her most recent piece, “One Hundred Sixty Miles,” reveals all of these qualities."
- Linda Tarnay, Dance Professor Emeritus, New York University
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