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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

The Paw Print

AOTI: Poly’s hip-hop expert Ellie Kim


Senior Ellie Kim paints the stage with finesse and power. Dancing since she was 12, Kim is a force to be reckoned with under the spotlight.
An integral part of Poly’s artistic community, Kim took Dance 3 as a freshman and Dance 4 ever since, participating every year in Poly’s annual dance concert. In 2022, she began choreographing for the concert. Kim enjoys choreographing as a form of self expression. “It gives me the power to create and speak my mind without saying anything.”
Sophomore Catherine McFarlane, who danced in Kim’s piece, “Want U,” said, “I love Ellie. She made the whole experience so fun and gave us the space to experiment with this new style most of us have never seen before.”
Performing Arts teacher Danielle Pigneri said of Kim, “She’s a dynamic choreographer. So just watching her growth has been spectacular, to say the least.” Pigneri added that Kim is often the first person in and last person out of the dance studio, setting a dedicated tone for the underclassmen. “She is a great leader, and she is willing to share her knowledge, choreography and feedback with others in the kindest, most gentle way all the time.”
This year, Kim will perform in Poly’s spring musical, “Cinderella” acting not only as Dream Topher but also as a dance captain within the dance ensemble.
Outside of Poly, Kim performed on Elements Dance Space’s team, Junior Hitlist, before moving to Hitlist, the older team. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim switched companies to Future Shock Los Angeles (FSLA), a non-profit organization that taught hip-hop culture, history and techniques. Kim also recently joined the Young Generation Dance Crew (YGDC), a competition team.
Kim’s love for dancing was ignited in middle school when she discovered a YouTube video of a young girl breakdancing. Kim said, “I was still looking for my passion and my interests, and when I saw that little girl breaking, she just had this confidence and self-assurance. She looked really cool, so I gave it a try.” Soon enough, Kim visited a local dance studio and began her journey on stage.
Because Kim discovered breaking first, it naturally became her preferred style. However, as she developed as an artist, Kim also picked up on other hip-hop styles, such as house and locking.
In a dream world, Kim wishes to one day choreograph for a celebrity artist or in the K-pop scene. But moving forward in daily life, she wants to continue sharing hip-hop with others.
She explained, “Because its roots are from minority communities, it’s often overlooked or ignored because part of its history is very upsetting and not necessarily something we want to share. Still, I think it’s important to recognize why the movement started, where it comes from, and why it’s important to these communities.”
As graduation looms, Kim hopes to be remembered as an advocate for hip-hop within the Poly community representing its history and culture through her dancing.

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