Pacific | Dance

How a Samoan teine gets on a hot South Korean dance show

Emma Huch dances for the Jam Republic crew in the South Korean hip-hop competition Street Women Fighter (SWF).

Emma Huch is proud to represent the people of 685 to the world.

At just 21 years old a teine Samoa has made a fulltime career in the art of dance, through a South Korean television show.

Professional dancer Emma Huch (Magiagi Village) dances for Jam Republic in the South Korean hip-hop competition Street Women Fighter (SWF).

Huch says it started with a phone call from Royal Family Dance Crew choreographer Kirsten Dodgen asking if she wanted to be part of the five-women team.

“All the dancers in Jam Republic, we are representing Jam Republic as an agency under the crew.

So we got the chance to come together, five random girls, who’d never met before and now we’re best of friends. We just got to showcase our talent and also our cultures and identities from all over the world.”

Jam Republic - Top: Kirsten Dodgen, Emma Huch. Bottom: Ling Zhang, Latrice Kabamba and Audrey Lane-Partlow

SWF is the only female dance reality television programme, pitting eight female street dance crews against each other in a battle to claim the title of South Korea’s top team.

Jam Republic is one of two international crews that compete; Japanese troupe Tsubakill is the other, and the remainder are all Korean groups.

Huch is proud to be the only Samoan in the show and credits growing up in the Samoan dance culture as a pillar for her passion for dance.

“The Samoan dance plays a different part from what I do now but it also teaches me why I do dance and who’s it for, which is my whys.

The culture that we have I hold a lot in my heart and when I perform on stage I know who I’m doing it for and that’s for my people back home (Aotearoa) and my people in Samoa,” she says.

She is a former member of the Royal Family Freshman Dance Crew.

Born and bred in the Auckland streets of Grey Lynn, Huch has been taking part in hip-hop competitions since she was the age of four.

She attended St Mary’s College in Auckland City and became a senior member of the SAYNTZ Dance Academy which her family members are also a part of.

Huch, known in her community for her krump and tomboy style dancing, says SWF made her explore a lot more feminine moves.

“When I went to Korea I learned so many new styles and how to be more feminine because I’m not really feminine.

“But the good thing is, is that I held myself together. I still represented who I was but also tried new style,s which is now adding to my own craft and trying to explore what else I can do.”

Emma Huch in the front right showing parts of her feminine side in the crew''s outfit.

The shooting of the competition went from June last year through to late November and since then she has been asked to teach in other parts of Korea and attend a class in Singapore.

She had never been to a country in East Asia before and got a culture shock, she says, touching on her observations of the work ethics of her Korean competitors.

“Their dancing and work ethic is very different from New Zealanders. They’re up in the morning right up until the night and they just never sleep,” she says.

“But it shows why and how successful they can because of the work ethic, which is what I took away.”

Huch is now enjoying her summer in Auckland before jetting off to Vietnam in March with Jam Republic to take part in the Summer Jam Dance Camp her agency runs every year.