Who are you?
Hi, I’m Anso! I was born in South Korea but lived most of my life in Denmark. I grew up in the countryside in a really small town but lived in Copenhagen before moving to London six years ago. I came to London to do my BA Degree in Contemporary Dance and Performance Arts at London Contemporary Dance School in Euston.
I had only been in London for one day for the audition before moving here so I was really excited about it. It definitely took some adjustment time to live in London but I love how creative this city is and it has given me so much throughout the years I’ve been here. I moved to Old Oak 1st of May when everything was brand new and time has just flown by since. I’m still really excited to be here!
What do you do?
I’ve been working freelance as a dancer, performer and choreographer for three years now. It can be everything from live performances and shows on stage in theatres to more site-specific performances outdoors for dance festivals or in a gallery for art exhibitions. A job can be one day or it can be for three months. It various depending on the project or show. Latest I’ve been performing in an opera at The Royal Opera House which was such a cool experience. I had never listened to an opera before but the music was so beautiful and just the whole set-up and scenography was amazing. I’ve also started teaching contemporary jazz classes which I really enjoy. It feels great to give back in a different way and it teaches me a lot as well. At the moment you can also find me working at The Front Desk here at Old Oak!
How did you come to live at The Collective Old Oak? Where were you living before?
Before moving to Old Oak I was living in a flat in Queens Park with one of my friends. When I suddenly had to move out I didn’t feel like going into a new flatshare. First I tried looking for my own place but quickly realised I couldn’t afford it. Then I started looking into houseboats but nobody rents them out - everyone buys them. I still think it’s a good idea though. I love houseboats. You can get really cool ones that’s almost like big studio flats just floating on water! After a couple of weeks with lots of late nights thinking like crazy I turned to google and typed in “Alternative Ways of Living in London”. In my head I thought there had to be other ways to do this and live in London. Up came this article about a guy who had tried 5 alternative ways of living in London. One of them were The Collective (another option was actually a houseboat!). I called without really knowing what I wanted just that I’d like to hear more as it sounded interesting and the woman I spoke to told me about this new place called Old Oak that was just about to open a month later. The rest you can guess yourself!
What are your passions and interests?
Dance of course is a passion. I do a lot of yoga as well. Right now I’m really into Kundalini Yoga. You can do it on your own or take classes around in yoga studios in London. It’s called Yoga of Awareness and is a mix of kriyas (physical exercises), meditation and chanting. The class ends with a Gong Bath where you’re lying down listening to the sounds of the gong. First time I tried it I felt totally spaced out after but in a good way. The sound waves from the Gong heals your brain and you feel totally relaxed after.
What is the best thing about living here?
A mix of different things I think. I love the freedom of having my own personal space where I can close my door and just be me. On the other hand, I always have people around me when I feel like being social. Meeting new people of course is great so I guess it’s the combination of privacy and still having a community here in London. The simplicity about living here is one of the best things. When I came to see it I really liked that it was a brand new building and so clean. It’s like a new beginning. I also love that there is so much space both indoors and outdoors. It keeps my days in a flow and I never feel cramped.
You lived at The Collective and now work the front of desk occasionally - what made you want to do that?
When I moved to The Collective a lot of things were changing in my life. I was finishing a contract at the Opera House and went straight to NYC after to dance and get new inspiration over the summer. When I came back I felt like I needed a bit of stability. Working in the creative industry is on one hand a blessing as it has given me adventures and moments I’ll remember forever but it can also be a bit of a rollercoaster. Working here means I’m getting the opportunity to be more involved in an exciting place and community that is also my home (Thanks The Collective!). I think it’s exciting to see and be a part of something starting up from the beginning, like building a brand new community. I hope I can contribute in a positive way in doing that.
What was it like meeting your neighbour?
It was fun! I accidentally ran into the bathroom when she was in there (fully dressed though). We were both in a hurry so we just said hi and laughed a bit and agreed we should have a coffee soon.
Had you heard of co-living before?
I never came across the word co-living before hearing about The Collective but I’m familiar with the way of living together, sharing spaces and creating a community. When I was 15-16 years old I went to a sports school for a year where we lived 100 people together under one roof. It was a mix of studying, having fun and doing lots of sports together. A lot of young people do it back home. It was one big community and my best friends today are still from this place. I did a similar thing when I finished high school just in another school doing gymnastics and only for half a year. The concept was the same of living there while doing what you love and having a great time with like-minded people. We also have a few communes in Copenhagen where university students live together in a community as well as other smaller places where families decide to live together to share and benefit from each other. I guess that is like co-living?
Do you think co-living is something that would appeal to a lot of people?
Yes I think so. Specially in big cities. I think the idea of simple living is appealing to many people working in London. It just takes a lot of the living-in-London-stress away and makes you able to focus on what it is you need to focus on. For other people it might be the idea of having a community for both social reasons and networking opportunities. Also the possibility of being able to work from home I think is appealing for a lot of people now where more and more work can be done from your laptop.
How would you describe the community here at The Collective Old Oak?
A large community that is growing a lot at the moment. A place where you can meet and connect with people from the entire world socially and professionally. A community that offers a lot and is full of possibilities. There is always something to do and if anything is missing you’re more than welcome to create it! It is a positive and welcoming community with connections being made every day. It is a community being built from scratch so it is also a community learning step by step to live and exist in a shared space, creating the best possible community together.
What are your favourite spaces and how do you use them?
Right now I’m in the back room of the library writing so that’s definitely a favourite. I’m usually in here if I need to do laptop-stuff or if I have a meeting. I love the light in here and the fireplace gives it a cosy-living room feeling. The roof terrace is a favourite in nighttime if I need time to just think or write. I performed at Wembley Stadium a couple of years ago so sitting here always brings back memories and reminds me of where I am and makes me think about where I want to go. The outdoor space down to the canal is a favourite to chill out, have a bite of food and hang out with friends. I love water and being in nature so it’s always nice to sit here and get some fresh air.
What would you say to someone thinking about moving in?
If they already think it is a good idea then I would say go for it! If they have any concerns, I would just talk to them about that. I would tell them about my own experiences and hopefully that would help them in making the decision if it is the right place for them!
If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Who knows, maybe I’d buy a houseboat! Haha... And pay off my student loan.