Grace Joo

“Honestly, I would just love to marry the journey of life and be a ‘Gypsy traveler’ forever. But we all need to make money, and I want to enjoy doing it.”

Interface. Interaction. Intercultural. All of these sorts of experiences have sometimes surprising—almost mystical—ways of popping up on any given day at SMC. This could hardly be expressed any more beautifully than through a story that Grace Joo relates. “Yeah, I was playing my ukulele in a stairwell, and this guy walks up to me, and I thought, ‘Hmm, maybe he’s a professor.’ And then he dropped his dry-eraser marker, and I knew he was. And then he recommended me to an Australian banjo player, though he couldn’t remember his name. And he left,” said Grace. “But later, when I was going to class, he’s like, ‘There you are! I printed out the YouTube link to that guy,’ and he gave it to me. And now that banjo picker is one of my favorite musicians, and I thought at the time, ‘What an awesome thing for a professor to do—even though I didn’t know him.’ ” And that’s just the way things work at SMC. Learning—sometimes just through chance encounters—can send you off into nearly unimaginable new directions.

But it’s Dance that has propelled Grace to SMC. “I would love to be a freelance choreographer and teach at different studios, companies, and schools, and then I’d like to collaborate with other dancers and perform. In dance, you need to always be exploring new creative areas.”

Grace adds, “I’ve always thought of dance as a complete ‘language,’ and it’s something that I’ve done for most of my life. It’s an art where you express emotions through an understanding of your body, and by being aware of what your muscles and nerves are doing at any given moment. Through dance, you develop a kind of ‘kinetic intelligence,’ and I hope to be sharing this with other dancers worldwide.” Grace? Don’t ever give up on that ‘Gypsy traveler’ dream!

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.​