Ermina Khan, who also goes by the alias "Erm Dances" on social media, is a popular name in the world of dance in Pakistan. Being a self-taught student, she choreographs her own dances, now embarking on ventures such as wedding choreography and gradually transitioning into the media industry.
We asked her a few questions about her journey and experience into the field!
When did you start dancing and what really sparked your interest?
I started when I was 13 years old after seeing one of my seniors performing at a school event, he was copying Michael Jackson's moves. This impressed me to the point where I was like 'I want to dance like that one day'. After that I used to go home and watch different dancers and dances on YouTube and watch them all day.
What made you create your page i.e. "ermdances"
I started my page at the end of grade 10, in around 2017. I had recently started watching choreography and my best friends encouraged me to start a page because they saw how enthusiastic I was about it. I was honestly really scared and nervous to do it but they're the ones that pushed me because they believed in me.
How would you describe your personal dance style and has any dancer influenced your style?
My style is popping and robo -I impersonate a robot. Three major inspirations to my dance style are Dytto, AmyMarie Gaertner and Michael Jackson. They're the reason I dance the way I do, like this, because growing up watching them pushed me to train myself and dance like this.
If you could do a collaboration with any dancers in Pakistan who would you want to do it with?
I'm open to anything which would go with my style and work honestly, I keep myself open-minded.
Have you done any collaborations before and in the industry? What was this experience like for you?
I've done collaborations with the actress Meharbano, two shirt companies and I have with a music producer my age; along with two coco-cola ads. The coke ads were the ultimate experience as I got to work with and learn so much under one of the top choreographers in Pakistan. Learning under him, learning his style and his dances as well as learning under pressure teaches you your true limit and how far you can go when you work under such professionals. I feel like this experience made me grow so much more as a dancer.
What is the response you get from people when they see your dances, especially in Pakistan and being so young, is it overwhelming?
My dance style is extremely unique especially in Pakistan, as not many girls I know of really do it. Mostly guys do. Initially when people saw my dances on Instragram or YouTube I got messages giving me the nickname "Pakistani Dytto" or "Desi Dytto" people's responses are usually ask how I do it but I think it's more surprising for people to see a girl doing it as opposed to a guy, it's kind of different.
Do you want to pursue dancing in the future professionally?
As of now my number one priority is completing my education. In the future, I've done professional work as mentioned, the coco-cola ads. I've choreographed as well for school events. I want to do everything side by side. Along with studying, I want to continue dancing on the side because it's my passion as well.
Has your social media platform gotten you any fame?
The coke-ad happened because after my team performed at Aitchiston College for the Art Fest, unrelated to ermdances, which is when the team reached out to us so we went to Bangkok to film it. We were close to the team working there and one of the cinematographer's said we should shoot a video; I danced to club music outside a club which was playing a remix of "24k Magic" in an alley in Bangkok and that was amazing. Other than that I will be doing other collabs in the future, brands, which I cannot disclose as of yet.
What motivates you to create the videos you come up with? How do you get the ideas for your own dance videos?
In today's world it's so important to check on yourself and do something that you love. At the end of the day it's your life and if you're not doing what you love how can you be happy with yourself? Dancing makes me feel like myself, and who I am; it's what makes me me. I was so nervous initially but after seeing the positive responses disregarding negative comments, the appreciation motivates me to dance and come up with new videos, keeping me motivated. I honestly listen to a song and go with how I feel, free-styling till I come up with a dance, and of course my best friends have been the most supportive about my dancing especially when I get negative responses, they push me to continue my dance journey.
Any advice for young Pakistani dancers or those who want to start and get into the field?
For the younger generation I want them to know that although there's a stigma behind it, there's nothing you can't do as long as you're passionate about. Whatever their passion is, there are people who have fought their way through stigma and done it. I think Pakistan is growing as a country especially with all sorts of new things emerging, which is why I want to be an inspiration to the younger children that you can pursue what you love and what makes you happy!