Eun-Me Ahn – Let Me Change Your Name “a striking visual effect that exalts the complexity of gender definitions”

Let Me Change My Name featuring Choreographer Eun Me Ahn. Photo by Eunji Park

Playing with ideas of identity and androgyny, Let Me Change Your Name is an irreverent and transporting piece that celebrates the different shades of diversity. Renowned Korean choreographer Eun-Me Ahn questions the place of human being in our time through continuous exchange of costumes, as to represent a fluctuating gender identity, mixed with vibrant colours and explosive movements.

It is an inspiring choreography built on repetitions and contrasts, where darkness and lights, black/white and colours alternate to create a striking visual effect that exalts the complexity of gender definitions. The pulsating soundscape by Young-Gyu Jang effectively contributes to the sense of freedom delivered by the work.

The performance opens with six dancers (3 males and 3 females), in long dark dresses, sauntering around the stage in a continuous rise and fall, diving on the floor and gliding like ice skaters in small circles, pivoting on one arm at the time. Throbbing ambient music and the stuffy expressions of their faces evoke a sense of hypnotic atmosphere.

A pulsating techno beat sets the score for an eye-catching burst of energy. Figures in neon-coloured long dresses repeatedly intersect with each other and break into dynamic patterns of high jumps and turns; playing with their clothes, they lift the skirt or strip off, remaining bare-breasted in white underwear. The relentless rhythm combined with an intense sequence of duets and solo, turns the atmosphere into a trance-like vibe. It is a sensational showcase of great dance skills and fluid movements, enriched by Eun-Me Ahn’s occasional appearances on the stage.

The following section sees dancers back to their black outfit, repeating in unison a complex sequence of arm gestures dictated by an electro tapping rhythm, pausing alternatively only to breathe, and then catching up again with the group.

Towards the end, all dancers break free to express their inner desires in a sublime display of different personalities. The game of clothes swapping is repeated once again through fast-moving sequences where they put on or take off bright coloured skirts, roll up clothes, throw them in the air and whip the floor. It is a continuous change to remind us the impossibility to cluster the gender identity into a universal definition.

Let Me Change Your Name, part of London’s Dance Umbrella Festival, is choreographed by Eun-Me Ahn. At The Place 24-25 October 2017.

Let Me Change Your Name is also part of Korea/UK 2017-18, a year of cultural collaborations between South Korea and the UK. For more information visit http://london.korean-culture.org/en/welcome

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