In Shanghai Magazine Interview with Zhang Yixing in regards to “Oh My God”
In Shanghai Magazine Interview with Zhang Yixing in regards to “Oh My God”
Q: Are there any immediate mountains (obstacles) you need to jump over/surpass right now?
A: I always have to surpass myself. Yesterday’s me, no matter what good things happen, I forget them and want to do great things again. Instead of materialistic or physical outcomes, I want to spend time personally accepting and understanding myself. Activities are fun and make me happy, but I’m also happy seeing myself grow day by day. I would like the today’s me to sing better and dance better than yesterday’s me.
DANCING BALLERINO, KAI
After watching a performance of “The Nutcracker”, 10 year old Kai dreamed of becoming a ballerino. Nine years later, he’s standing on stage receiving compliments of “the best dancer” as EXO’s Kai. Even though it’s not a ballet stage, he was happy. Twenty-one year old Kai returns to childhood and submits his body to classical music. Kai’s body begins to move along the (body) lines he makes. At least for today, he’s a ballerino.
KAI, FALLEN FOR DANCE
Not too long ago, the one who learned ballet in his childhood, after watching the movie “Billy Elliot” was thinking that he’d like to learn ballet again. The Celebrity requested a meeting on behalf of Kai with the ballerino Lee Jae Woo, who gladly accepted. “Stretching out to one side with your foot while collecting yourself with breathing, lift your hand above and pull straight through.” Top ballerino, Lee Jae Woo of the National Ballet Company, methodically explained while holding Kai’s body and moving. Copying the movements of ballerino Lee Jae Woo, Kai’s motion was uncommon. The two of them were sweating and matching their bodies to the music having forgotten about the filming. “It’s been so long that the movements are harder than I remember. But I’m so happy that this chance to do ballet like this again.” While looking at Kai, Lee Jae Woo said “I had heard that he learned ballet when he was younger, I was surprised to see that his lines survived after all this time. Even though he’s been dancing all this time, maintaining the body line isn’t easy.” No others can be called the best dancers (?). “I think because I learned ballet, I’m able to quickly grasp dancing while maintaining the feeling of it.” In the movie “Billy Elliot”, Billy was happy while chasing his dreams and like Billy, he wants to have the confidence and to run toward achieving my dreams. Kai and Lee Jae Woo danced to classical music and danced ballet to EXO’s music. Like they had danced together, the two of them were quite well matched. It was as if the meaning of the word “beautiful” was meant for these two men.
LIKE MICHAEL JACKSON
Even though it was only for half a day, meeting ballerino Lee Jae Woo was a time for healing for Kai. “We’re going to meet up soon to talk about ballet dance. This is the first time I’ve asked for anyone’s contact information first. (laughs).” He learns and dances ballet, of course, and also jazz dance, hip hop, popping, as long as it’s dancing, it doesn’t matter the genre. Talking about dancing, Kai’s eye’s brightly sparkle. He is someone that watched his eternal idol Michael Jackson’s concert video, 100 times 1000 times while practicing the steps to master them. Kai’s father, seeing his face full of passion, personally recorded him dancing ballet to create an opportunity to audition, he’s achieved the dream of standing on the stage as an artist as EXO’s Kai showing great performances. “If EXO-K dances like a military dance capturing every angle, then EXO-M dances more according to their emotions and when EXO-K and EXO-M stand on the stage together, there seems to be a much cooler synergy that happens.” When asked about EXO members’ dance styles, his answer seemed to imply back to EXO as a whole being the best dancers. World renowned choreographers collaborate with EXO to successfully create great performances, if the chance arises, he want’s to try his hand at choreographing a great dance for their music. For that day, Kai is also dancing today. Without regard to the genre of the dance, he’s developing his dance as if illiterate to the genre of music. “Dancing to fast tempo dance music has limits. I think there can be fantastic dances for ballads, rock, folk, and traditional Korean music.” Kai spoke to me of lowering his pride and putting a lot of effort into this point of view. And I’m looking forward to someday seeing a wonderful performance like that of Michael Jackson. “To inspire a new crop of juniors to dream from my future stages, and to face those dreams with passion. Like I watched Michael Jackson is what I’m saying.”
Kai dreamed of becoming a ballerino after seeing a production of “The Nutcracker” when he was ten years old. After nine years, EXO’s Kai stood on stage bearing the title ‘Best Dancer.’ Though it was not the stage of a ballerino he had always dreamed of, he was happy nonetheless. Now, twenty-year-old Kai revisits his childhood as one who studied classical dance. The lines and slopes of Kai’s body begin to move. Today, he is a dancing ballerino.
Kai, Falling in Love with Dance
Kai studied ballet when he was a child and just recently wished to go back to ballet after watching the movie <Billy Elliot>. <The Celebrity Magazine> wished to arrange a meeting with Kai and ballerino Lee Jaewoo, and the latter graciously accepted the request. “Stretch your arms forward to help steady and refine your breathing, then lift your hands upwards,” Lee Jaewoo of the National Ballet Company instructs Kai, grasping his body and guiding him step by step. Kai follows ballerino Lee Jaewoo’s motions effortlessly. The two of them forget about the photoshoot completely, sweating and losing themselves to the music. “It’s been such a long time since I last danced like this, so it has become quite difficult for me. Even so, I’m really happy and thankful that I have the opportunity to dance like this again. If I weren’t an EXO member, who knows? Maybe I would’ve been Jaewoo Hyung’s apprentice (laughs). He and I bonded quickly because we have such similar interests. If the opportunity were to present itself, I’d love to continue studying ballet under Jaewoo Hyung.” Ballerino Lee Jaewoo, who listens at the side, nods and says, “Sure, anytime.” Kai refers to Lee Jaewoo, three years his senior, as his Hyung with easy familiarity.
They spend their time stretching, posing, and jumping to their favorite music. As Lee Jaewoo watched Kai, he comments, “I heard he learned ballet when he was younger. I’m surprised at how much he’s retained. Even though he’s a dancer, maintaining the body lines and motions necessary for ballet is not easy.” Kai isn’t considered the best dancer for nothing. “It seems as though he has a quick understanding of the mechanics of dance due to the extent of his previous ballet studies. Ballet sets the foundation for other styles of dance such as jazz, which leads to a range of possibilities.” The movie <Billy Elliot> having inspired him to be just Billy himself, Kai wants to find happiness by fulfilling his dream. They truly look like two people who have been dancing together for a long time. “Beautiful” seems to be the only word capable of describing these two extraordinary men.
Like Michael Jackson
Though it was only for half a day, the time Kai spent with Lee Jaewoo was quality healing time. “Jaewoo Hyung and I are planning on meeting to talk again. It’s the first time I’ve ever asked someone for their number (laughs).” No matter what genre, Kai has managed to learn it all — jazz, hip hop, and popping/locking in addition to ballet. Kai’s eyes shine brightly as he talks about dance. He has watched the concert tapes of his eternal idol, Michael Jackson, over a hundred times; enough times to have mastered all the dance moves. Aware of his son’s passion for dance, Kai’s father presented him with many audition opportunities and continually supported him. Kai is willing to take on the challenge of any genre. “There’s a significant lack of urban dance these days. That kind of dance allows for a mixture of different dance styles, which accurately represents music through motion,” he says, demonstrating with his hand.
“While EXO-K and EXO-M have different overall styles of dancing, we create the most wonderful synergy when we all come together on stage.” As expected, when asked about the other EXO members’ dancing styles, Kai only has great things to say. They’ve worked with world-renowned choreographers to make their performances spectacular and the opportunity to work behind the scenes of the amazing music and choreography is a once-in-a-lifetime chance.
That day is dedicated to Kai and his dancing as well. He studies all music and all dances, despite the disparities in genre. “There are limits that accompany dancing only to fast-paced music. It would be great if we could experiment with ballads, rocks, folk, classic, and traditional music.” The manner in which Kai speaks overflows with respect. The world ought to look forward to the day Kai offers us a performance worthy of Michael Jackson. “Going beyond my dream of performing on stage, I want to be the inspiration and source of passion for someone younger than myself. I want to be to someone else what Michael Jackson is to me.”
❝In situations where I cannot dance, I simply listen to various genres of music and imagine how I would dance. I close my eyes and fall deeper and deeper into the music. Though I love dancing and always dreamed of becoming a singer, music is the one thing that has truly become my life.❞ — Kai
source: the celebrity magazine | trans: fy-exo
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The EXO members tend to joke around when talking about music, but also know when it’s time to be serious. “We’ve really received a lot of love. And to return that love, we’re aware of how hard we have to work.” And seeing what EXO has accomplished in the past year, that is no exaggeration. Two years after their debut, the sheer power of the idols cannot be denied. Baekhyun says, “When we hear our songs playing in the streets, and when we see the news referring to EXO, we truly realize just how much we’ve grown” and says that he won’t forget any of the moments he experienced when he was a rookie.
When questioned about the most memorable stage of the previous year, all three members said the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards. “Though all of our stages mean a lot to us, all of the members exhibited a memorable performance at the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards. The fans enjoyed our performance as well, so we are all satisfied with that particular stage,” Sehun said. The EXO members urge their beloved fans to look forward to even more activitied in 2014.
Their schedule, up until the second half of the year, is alright busy with different activities. Korea, Japan, China, and other Asian countries should definitely anticipate more wonderful stages from EXO in the near future. This year, some EXO members are pursuing their own individual activies, as well. Baekhyun and Suho have become active MCs for SBS Inkigayo, and Chanyeol appeared Laws of the Jungle, receiving a lot of love from fans. “There are still many things I wish to improve, but it’d be nice if I could still come across as doing a good job.” This was Baekhyun’s sentiment after his first run as MC. “I want to appear regularly on programs like Infinity Challenge and Running Man” Tao said, almost burning with determination. “I can also work hard!” Sehun agreed. All of the EXO members wish to participate in various activities, and cheer for their future prospects. I asked the members what it is they want to do during brief rests in between their busy schedule. Baekhyun said he wants to go to the sea with all of the members. After hearing this, Tao said playfully, “I want to go alone!”
Their positive energy made every moment of the late-night interview very enjoyable. Stories of the twelve members as a whole were interspersed among the interviews held with the three members. Being able to share a warm friendship with twelve other people is something I envy. I would like to visit an EXO concert in 2014 to return to them as soon as possible. The concert stage of those twelve men is sure to hold a brilliant performance.
EXO and Tang Wei’s photoshoot was a day before the Seoul Music Awards. The shoot had to take place in between rehearsals and during their break times because their schedules were so tight. The staff was in chaos, worried about whether or not the rehearsal would let out on time. However, when it came time for them to show up at the studio, EXO’s Baekhyun, Tao, and Sehun strolled through the door. As soon as they said “Hello!” the worries of the staff melted away. It was finally time to start. With a little over an hour and a half to shoot ten pages of photos, the staff agreed to proceed right away. The movements of the photographer and editor became busy. The lighting was set, the costumes were checked, and minute by minute, Tang Wei and EXO touched us in a way that could not be neglected. “Cut, good! Next cut!” It only took a short while for Photography Jo Seon Hui to give the OK, which was an indication that the cut had been completed well. The joy was short-lived, however, because EXO’s Baekhyun, Tao, and Sehun, as well as Tang Wei, were forced to leave for the awards ceremony rehearsals. Though the briefness of the meeting was regrettable, we all had to say goodbye. A week later, we met again for the cover story and interview. When Tang Wei saw the photos of herself, she said “Oh, the ones with me came out very well!” “Look, it’s me!” she joked. At the year-end 2013 awards, EXO once again proved themselves to be the best K-pop stars. To meet those stars as well as another star, I was excited and nervous. “I really can’t believe I’m meeting such a famous actor, and that you’re here to shoot.”
At the end of the shoot, Baekhyun approached Tang Wei with an expression of excitement. “I really can’t believe it!” Bekhyun said, to which Sehun added, “I’m so honored that I’m shaking!” At that time, Tao and Tang Wei shot a scene so riveting, that it made the staff cheer. “To be honest, I shook a lot in that moment. Before the shoot, I really worried about how well I would do and my self-confidence was not high.”Whether or not it was due to the similarity in culture, Tang Wei and Tao looked very compatible and naturally conversed in between shoots. “As a matter of fact, even before we came to this shoot, Tao practiced and practiced. He took 1,000 selcas a day,” laughed Baekhyun. “If we have the chance to shoot with Tang Wei again, it would be nice to do it on Jeju Island. It would look good, don’t you think?” Tao said after such a short day of cuts.
“But aren’t Hyung and Tang Wei in a relationship where they can exchange back hugs?” Sehun shuddered (jokingly). “This time, it was only us three, but next time it’ll be all twelve members and I hope to do a nicer shoot,” said Baekhyun warmly. The three members seemed to have positive outlooks and prospects for future projects with The Celebrity team. These are photos that, when remembered, will make them feel good.
(to be continued.)
source: 魅力先生主编向未’s weibo
trans credit: amy @ exom-trans
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