Finis Jhung is Korean-Scottish-English and was born in Honolulu in 1937. He began dancing with Dorothy Hellis Moots when he was six years old. In 1959 he graduated with High Honors from the University of Utah where he majored in Ballet under Willam F. Christensen. In 1960, after six months in the National Guard, Finis performed with the Broadway and National Companies of the musical Flower Drum Song. Later that year, he joined The San Francisco Ballet. In 1961, he danced in the Hollywood version of Flower Drum Song.
In 1962, Finis joined The Joffrey Ballet and performed in Portugal, Syria, Jordan, Iran, Afghanistan, India, and Russia as well as at The White House and in countless cities across the USA. In 1964, he joined The Harkness Ballet of New York, where he became a principal dancer and performed in France, Italy, Monaco, Rumania, Germany, Greece, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, and more of the USA. Critics worldwide acclaimed his brilliance and elegance.
During his performing career, Finis studied with Valentina Pereyaslavec, Vera Volkova, Stanley Williams, Erik Bruhn, Rosella Hightower, and David Howard.
In 1972, Finis began teaching ballet in New York and in 1974 opened his own studio which became a haven for leading dancers of all the major dance companies. His life-long love of theatre and dance led him to reevaluate ballet teaching and create his own innovative teaching methods which brought new levels of technique and artistry to professional as well as amateur dancers.
In 1982 Finis became the founder, artistic director, and choreographer for Chamber Ballet USA. In 1988 he closed his studio, and began teaching at The Broadway Dance Center and eventually at all the major New York studios and schools as well as at workshops in the USA and Europe.
In 1995, Finis began creating instructional videos for ballet teachers and students and today his more than forty-five videos are used in studios and homes around the world. His book, The Finis Jhung Ballet Technique: A Guide for Teachers & Students was published in 2014. Finis has also produced eighteen music CDs—both orchestrated and piano—for the ballet class.
From 2008 to 2011, Finis trained the lead boys of Billy Elliot: The Musical and in 2013, he was profiled nationally on the television show CBS This Morning!
Currently, Finis teaches on-going ballet classes for adult beginners at The Ailey Extension in New York City and each summer offers Weekend Workshops for Teachers.
Finis in the News
|Finis was featured on the television show CBS This Morning! He discussed dancing well beyond retirement age and how he inspires dancers of every age.
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|Why Finis Jhung Thinks Teaching Ballet is Like Being a Great Cook: “Practice the correct mechanics of movement…Like following a good recipe when you cook, if you follow it to the letter, you are a great cook!”
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|“…I felt so good about going onstage because he made sure I was using my body correctly. When I finally retired in ’69, I didn’t have any regrets. With all that information and feedback from him, I was dancing at a high level.”—Finis Jhung on his teacher David Howard
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|Finis speaks to ConsumerMOJO about working with adult beginners: “They are people who love ballet. They have always wanted to learn and they work so hard. And they start to change.”Read the blogWatch the Video|
|“In Absolute Beginner Ballet there were no big moves across the floor but for a full 90 minutes, I felt graceful…”Read the blog||Christmastime Ballet: Finis Jhung on The Nutcracker and News at Paris Opera Ballet. Finis offers his insights and opinions on Bastille Opera Ballet Nutcracker and other Parisian ballet news.Read the article online|
|An interview in two parts with Emmy Award winning producer Christian Cudnik. First, Finis discusses his life and career. Then, in part two, he talks about his teaching philosophy.Listen to the interviews online||“Finis Jhung was one of many teachers with whom I studied back in the day. The place: New York. The time: the early 70s, which would have made him a relatively young man somewhere in his mid-thirties. He was phenomenal even then, having committed the single most astonishing physical feat I’ve ever seen a dance teacher perform.”Read the article online|
|“DanceMogulMagazine is proud to present a true Dance Mogul, Finis Jhung. He has been blessed with the gift of the dance and he has been giving back that gift almost his entire life, helping to empower others that come across his path. Not only is he a true Dance Mogul he also serves as an example of a real Dance Teacher. “Read the article online||“The dance instructor Finis Jhung puts prospective Billys through their paces in New York.” Read more in the New York Times’ article on Finis JhungView PDFView Video|
|“Congratulations to January’s winner for DTVideo of the Month, Finis Jhung. The excerpt from Jhung’s 1999 instructional video, ‘Partnering Techniques:The Nutcracker,’ features Griff Braun and Johanna Snyder…” Read more in Dance Teacher’s Magazine’s article on Finis JhungView PDF||“Three Billys, One Master. Finis Jhung coaches the newest crop of boys to play Billy Elliot.” Read more in Dance Studio Life’s interview with Finis Jhung.View PDF|
|“The Chicago Billys underwent intense training three days a week for six weeks with the New York-based coach and ballet master Finis Jhung, a former soloist with the San Francisco, Joffry, and Harkness ballet companies.” Read more in Chicago Magazine’s article on Billy Elliot.View PDF||“After a morning of acting, dialect and vocal tutoring, the three new boys cast to star in Billy Elliot: The Musical tumble into the studio, all smiles, testing out their turns. At the helm of coaching these new Billys is master teacher Finis Jhung.” Read more in Dance Teacher Magazine’s interview with Finis Jhung.View PDF|
|“I was born and raised in Hawaii and am of Korean-Scottish-English descent. I started dancing at the age of six, as I liked the wonderful old black-and-white Hollywood musical movies that we used to see…” Read more in Ballet-Dance Magazine’s interview with Finis Jhung.View PDF||“Fast and precise, Finis Jhung has a highly personal rubato that he weaves into the fabric of his movement.” Read more in Dance Magazine‘s feature on the Harkness Ballet.View PDF|
|“Whatever I teach is just a clarification and explanation of what dancing is—understanding the anatomical structure, the placement, identifying the center you start with. Then you must establish ideas.” Read more in Dance Scope‘s interview with Finis Jhung.View PDF||“I think from the inside out. Western philosophy places man against nature. Eastern philosophy sees man and nature as one. Life is energy. Energy flows. Everything has life.” Read more in Dance Pages‘ feature on Finis Jhung.View PDF|
|“What makes Jhung so special is that everything he does is original and, at the same time, based on strong traditions.” Read more in Ballet News‘ feature on Finis Jhung.View PDF||“Giving dancers the tools to move with strength and ease.” Read more in Dance Magazine‘s feature on Finis Jhung.View PDF|
|“Get legs like Natalie Portman.” Read more in Time Out New York‘s feature on Finis Jhung’s class.View PDF||“I always emphasize the need to make ballet appetizing and doable, because it remains one of the best training systems for all styles of dance.” Read more in Dance Teacher Magazine‘s feature on Finis Jhung.
|“I’ve loved ballet since I was six years old … I tell my students, I only have twenty more years to teach, you know.” Read more in the December 2012 issue of Movement Matters, published by the SERCCA.View PDF||“Nothing stills the dreams of dancers. … Some of the most fortunate, or discerning, begin to study with Finis Jhung.” — Connoisseur Magazine,