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Ahn Eun-me to perform N. Korean dance in Seoul and Paris

Ahn Eun-me to perform N. Korean dance in Seoul and Paris

Posted May. 22, 2018 07:20,   

Updated May. 22, 2018 07:20


Modern dancer-choreographer Ahn Eun-me will be performing in a show entitled “Ahn Eun-me’s North Korean Dance,” which is a new work that re-interprets and re-structures North Korean dance from June 1 to 3 at Arko Arts Theater in central Seoul. This is the first work jointly produced by Ahn, who was designated as an artist-in-residence of the “Théâtre de la Ville,” the City Theatre of Paris, France, and the theatre in central Seoul. The show will be also performed in Paris for five days in February 2019.

Ahn Eun-me explained that she learned the North Korean dance through YouTube video clips. “There was a vast pool of films on state-hosted North Korean dance performances. I was able to see everything including the Arirang performance of North Korea and the one-hour long video clip of the Sea of Blood Opera Company,” said Ahn. She referred to the “Joseon Folk Dance Basic Steps” (1958), which is a collection of dance steps by dancer Choi Seung-hee, a defector to North Korea. She also sought help from Japan-based North Korean dancer Song Ae-soon who was educated in dance at the Kang Hwi-seon Joseon Dance School, an affiliated nation school of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan.

What is the characteristics of North Korean dance? “North Korean dance demonstrates rapid steps and is rather like dancers are flying. Dancers also retain the upright position of their torso,” explained Ahn. “Rhythms such as the hwimori rhythm and the gutgeori rhythm are similar. The style of the movement may differ but the basic principle is the same. I could feel that ‘we are indeed all the same Korean people while dancing.”

Ahn Eun-me also expressed expectation on the cooperation with North Korean dancers at a point when the culture and arts exchange between the two Koreas are beginning to open up. “I want to make ‘Ahn Eun-me’s North Korean Dance 2’ where I can dance with North Korean dancers in the future,” remarked the renowned dancer. “I think dance is the only language that has no border.”

Jeong-Eun Kim kimje@donga.com