Photography and Text by Julia Chun, Copyright 2018
Art of the Dance
April 9th, 2016 is the day that transformed me for good. I was part of the After School Arts Program as a violin mentor – a violinist for thirteen years and counting – and our student show had just ended. While I was cleaning up the stage, I saw dancers come into the venue for a different event. One of my friends let me in and I took my first dance class ever taught by a member of the world famous Kinjaz.
I’ve always been fascinated by dancers, admired their stage presence and techniques, and would choose to watch dance videos for hours over any other movie. I also believed that I inherently didn’t have what it took to become a dancer, lacking the groove and the skills. I did not qualify to be one. That day was the beginning of a new journey of discovering myself. Getting the moves wrong and looking flimsy in front of other dancers is very embarrassing, but I never feel so alive and present as I do when I take a dance class surrounded by people exuding energy. In that very moment, whatever fear that made be shield myself from being judged or criticized is suppressed by the sheer pleasure of doing what I do. Dancing introduced me a passion I have never felt while pursuing any other thing.
So when the assignment was released, I had no doubt about what I wanted to photograph. After all, dancing was what first drew me to videography and eventually led me to take this photography class. When I was photographing dancers, I wanted to capture their presence, one of the qualities I value the most in a dancer. Can the dancer fill the space not just with movements but with his or her presence? I also always pictured dancers dancing in the streets, blending in casually with what we see in our everyday lives, and I finally had a chance to capture what I have been imagining.
About The Author: Julia Chun is a computer science major enrolled in the School of Engineering & Applied Science, University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2019. To access additional articles by Julia Chun, click here: http://tonywardstudio.com/blog/julia-chun-art-activism/