Inspirational Mover - Rhyn Cheung

March 09, 2020

Rhyn backbending over a railing along a pier

I met Rhyn in 2015 at PSO's Pacific Pole Championship when we competed in the same category. There was a judging snafu that year and he was awarded first place and myself second. The next morning we each woke to an email telling us they had missed the numbers for another dancer. Rhyn was awarded second and I was dropped to fourth. In any case, just like my experience with Candi Marie, watching Rhyn was an altogether otherworldly experience. His style, artistry, and subtle strength in motion leave you wishing there was a remote to stop time, rewind, and binge-watch ad nauseam. So I suppose it's good we have YouTube and you can simply watch things like this piece from APC where he was awarded Most Powerful Performer.

Rhyn dancing on an outdoor staircase

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I started seriously pursuing aerial dance since 2014 after finishing college in Los Angeles. I was first drawn to pole dance, later on picked up other aerial apparatus and slowly reconnected with contemporary style and other genres of dance.

What kind of mover are you?

I am an instinctual mover. I am largely guided by my emotion. My movements are heavily influenced by how I experience the surroundings.

What motivates you to move?

To release tension and reconnect with myself. I want to create interesting movements, but if I fixate excessively on certain goals, I may hinder myself from moving freely.

What are your go-to warm-up and cool down rituals?

I like to get on my hands for warm-up, usually a handstand against the wall to start the shoulders going. To cool down, I enjoy laying flat on the ground and let my body sink into the floor. I should spend more time doing proper cool down though.

Who has previously or is currently inspiring you in movement? And why?

I used to be inspired by a lot of the dancers on So You Think You Can Dance. I enjoy their techniques and storytelling capacity. But lately I am more interested in non-goal oriented movements, like urban dance, parkour, tricking, floor-based movement, where you are there to seize the moment and explore possibilities, simply to just live in the moment. My all-time inspiration is definitely Yvonne Smink, hands down.

Can you tell me about a favorite movement moment you experienced and what made that moment so special?

I was choreographing for my piece for Pole Art France 2018. I had a general idea of what I wanted the theme to be: it was about preying on something, more specifically an animal. But I wasn't married to the idea because something didn't feel right. During one of my run-throughs, I accidentally slapped my palm on the floor. Immediately it was apparent to me that this piece is about chasing after a mosquito. It was an accident, but it worked out perfectly because the topic itself is neutral. I didn't do another sad song. I ended up getting second place in the competition.

I never go to the studio without receptiveness...being able to appreciate movements and see the possibilities in them. -Rhyn CheungWhat is one thing you never go to the gym/studio without?

Receptiveness. Being able to appreciate movements and see the possibilities in them.

What does diversity and inclusion in your movement practice mean to you?

It means that I can freely command my body to act/react to different stimuli. If I have only one type of movement ability, chances are that my reaction to stimuli would be limited as well. That would make me a rather one-dimensional mover. I want to break the preconception that I can only move in a certain way. I want people to be surprised and on the edge of their seats when they see me perform. I am still working on that.


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