Eun-Me Ahn Company

Seoul, South Korea

 

North Korea’s dance

 

choreography, artistic direction, set, costume: Eun-Me Ahn
music: Young-Gyu Jang
lighting design: Jinyoung Jang
video: Jinwon Lee, Jiwoong Nam
production: Eun-Me Ahn Company
co-produced by: Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Korean Traditional Performing Arts Foundation, Théâtre de la Ville, Paris
supported by: Arts Council Korea, Dancers’ Career Development Center
duration: 75’
premiere: Arko Arts Theater, Seoul, 2018
dancers: Eun-Me Ahn, Jihye Ha, Hyekyoung Kim, Jeeyeun Kim, Eisul Lee, Donghun Go, Youngmin Jung, Seunghae Kim, Hyunwoo Nam , Sihan Park, Juyoung Shim
Eun-Me Ahn is associated artist to the 2018-19 season of Théâtre de la Ville-Paris

 

Recently, both Koreas made a historical step that could put an end to a conflict that has lasted for over 65 years. About North Korea, one most of all knows its capricious leader and his race to atomic weapon. But, what about arts and dance in the “hermit country”? If it is very difficult, if not impossible, for a South Korean artist to cross the border without the government permission. Internet is full of videos coming from the North: images of gigantic ballet praising the regime performed in stadium where “pixel children” turn the stands into screens reproducing a outdated iconography, images of traditional songs and dance common to both countries, cheerleaders at the Olympics, but also music videos inspired by the famous K-pop that has become a trademark of South Korea…

 

For a long time, relationships between North and South Korea have been extremely tensed, but things have recently improved. Then I realized I almost knew nothing about North Korea and the dance they do there. Yet, with North Koreans, we share the same roots, the same traditions, but because of History and the partition of Korea, dance has evolved very differently on each side of the border. As a choreographer, I have a pure urge to know how movement has developed for over 60 years within a completely different ideology. Of course, there are some obvious differences, but probably also some common things to North and South dance. All citizens are hoping for peace between the two countries. Maybe now is time to try to know each other a little better.

Eun-Me Ahn

 

 

Leading artist of Korean performing arts scene Eun-Me Ahn studied contemporary dance at Ehwa Woman’s University in Seoul. She founded her own company in 1988 before moving to New York in 1991 to study at the Tisch School of the Arts. In 2001, she moved back to Korea and continued her choreographic and performance practice revisiting classics of her country (“Princess Bari”) or investigating social issues – often working with non-professionals of different generations (“Dancing Grandmothers”, “Dancing Teenteen”, “Dancing middle-aged Men”) or handicap (“Ahnsim Dance with blind people”, “Daeshim Dance with small size people”). With over 150 pieces in the repertoire, she has received an international recognition with emblematic productions such as “Princess Bari”, “Let Me Change Your Name” or “Dancing Grandmothers” that have been presented at the most prestigious world’s stages. Eun-Me Ahn is associated artist to Theatre de la Ville-Paris 2018/19 season.