Part of a series in which we interview our teachers and staff to learn more about them and get their insights into the world of performance. This week’s interview is with Eric Pung, who is a choreographer for PAA, most recently choreographing “High School Musical Jr.” this past summer.
EP: 2 years, both of which were Summer Intensive programs
How many years have you been working in the performing arts?
EP: I have been working professionally for around 10 years
What is your performance background?
EP: My strongest discipline is dance. I’ve been dancing and doing gymnastics since I was 2. I began acting in children’s shows around age 8 and then went onto musical theatre in high school.
What is your favorite role or production you’ve been involved in?
EP: My favorite role was Don in A Chorus Line—it’s my favorite show!
What is your top piece of advice for aspiring performers?
EP: It’s important to train everything! Even if you don’t consider yourself a “dancer” you still need to be able to move. If you’re a dancer, you’re still going to be asked to sing. It’s important that you have at least a basic understanding of everything as well as being spectacular in your specialty.
What do you think makes PAA special or unique?
EP: There are two things: the intensity and the community building. PAA doesn’t just focus on craft, they also focus on becoming a better human being, which is important. However, the intensity does allow students to pick up/learn their craft at an exponential rate. It is a great blend of the two ends of the spectrum.
What is your most embarrassing performing arts moment?
EP: I was backstage during a show, setting my costume for the next stage. On stage was one of the cast members doing a super serious, emotional monologue. Right at the peak moment I fell down the staircase that was right off stage and made a huge crash that could be heard through the entire house. It was both hilarious and mortifying at the same time.
What is your favorite quote?
EP: “It is extremely arrogant and very foolish to think that you can ever outwit your audience” –Twyla Tharp