Dancer Ahn reaches out to single mothers

November 22, 2013
Ahn Eun-mi

Ahn Eun-mi

By Kwon Ji-youn

“Dance is the opposite of labor,” contemporary dancer Ahn Eun-mi said in a recent interview with The Korea Times. “When people are working, their arms bend inwards. But when dancing, they spread their arms outwards.”

And that’s why she loves contemporary art.

“Contemporary art is great because it’s open and has no limits. Hip hop is hip hop, but anything can be contemporary art,” she added.

Ahn said that she has been dancing since she was born. There isn’t a dance genre that she hasn’t practiced and performed, nor did she experience difficulty choreographing singer Kim C’s song for the Infinite Challenge Freeway Music Festival.

“I heard the song and the lyrics were fun so I told him I would do it. It was new,” she said. “The melody was simple but it felt like I was walking through space.”

She defined contemporary dance as the dance of this era, but admitted that Asia is a follower of the West, and consequently, it is they who have defined it.

“Contemporary dance is for the future ― it’s about what’s going to be next,” she said. “It’s also a method of recording our life patterns. Geniuses go ahead, go forward. They bring the past’s problems, place them at a tangent to the present and re-coordinate them.”

Ahn unveiled her most recent choreography at the Beautiful Foundation’s 10th anniversary celebration on Nov. 12. Her work with the foundation revealed that she had collaborated with single mothers in the “Stores of Hope” project.

Ahn traveled around the country to meet these single mothers who were working toward financial independence with the help of the foundation. She taught them how to dance and filmed their performances.

“They were very bright and beautiful,” she recalled. “They were all shy at first, but when we turned the music on, they would dance like there was no tomorrow.”

Ahn asserted that dance is a fundamental aspect of human life, and accordingly, one needs to dance to “let it all go.”

“Like rock,” she said. “They can’t live in this society, because society is all about rules, and it’s all about breaking those rules. They scream to let it all go.”

Ahn, who currently teaches at the Korea National University of Arts, said that while the act of dancing is about conversing with oneself, the act of teaching is about something even more valuable.

“I couldn’t be happier when I’m teaching, when I’m changing people,” she said, smiling.

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