While growing up in a Protestant Christian family, Eunkyeong Bak started feeling suffocated and depressed by the strict norms of the organised religion. It was then when she decided to break free of her inner shackles.
But how? She chose to dance. The South Korean girl found solace in dancing and began her long journey of self-discovery. In 2011, she started learning Kathak under the guidance of Guru Manojaay Dbral from Jaipur Garana in ICC Seoul.
Eunkyeong wanted people outside South Korea to know her name, so she changed it to Noori Bak. “I was searching for an appropriate name which should sound like a proper Korean and Indian name. Noori means ‘the world’ in Korean while in Persian/Urdu ‘the light’. So it can be ‘the light of the world’, I think,” said Eunkyeong.
On asking her about choosing Kathak, Noori said, “Kathak is the only Indian classical dance that draws from both Hindu and Islamic cultures with Central Asian influence”. She further said that this dance form blends cultures, regardless of religious differences. Noori learned Kathak for four years and then she moved to Pakistan to hone finer nuances from famous Kathak exponent Nahid Siddiqui. She has travelled to India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey to learn different forms of dance. Besides kathak, Noori knows Persian folk dance and Sema (Sufi whirling dance).
After learning from different Gurus, she has now developed her own style of Kathak dance and wants to encourage more students into Kathak.