Dancing in the office

Yulia Sko

2016 - Ongoing

This series is an attempt to connect two different parts of society: Japanese salarymen and dancers.

I was photographing a dancer in an elevator lobby of one of the biggest office buildings in Tokyo when the lunch time has started. Crowd of office workers started to walk around the dancer. Sometimes they were too busy to notice her; rushing in the corridors with their lunch boxes the workers seemed too preoccupied or even if they saw the dancer they pretended not to see. Since then office halls and lobbies of Tokyo became a place of my inspiration.

It has turned into sort of a social experiment for me.

During my life in Japan I learned a proverb "出る杭は打たれる". You can hear these words being used once in a while in an office, school or other places of social gatherings. The meaning of this proverb is "The nail that sticks out will be hammered down". I think it describes the sociocentric concept of Japan very well. You shouldn't be different. Nowadays maybe you won't get hammered down right away, but you'll still get a hard time for sure. The dancers in the project represent this nail.

Although they have something in common with the salarymen: both work very hard. They chose to be different.

I enjoy to create an interaction between these two groups. At the same time capturing short dance performances in office rush hours I can observe how people react to art. I feel that element of surprise is very important for this experiment, that’s why I always choose a new office building and start the shooting without any notifications. Most of the office spaces are publicly open but well equipped with security cameras. The guards are coming as soon as they see something unordinary. Usually I have 3 minutes to get the shot. I started this project in 2016 and it's still going on. The idea is to cover most of traditional Tokyo offices and business spaces.

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