From Korea

Dance Scene in Korea : September 2013

She acquired so many stars at 2013 Edinburgh Int'l Festival from several critics. As reported in the last Dancewebzine, Kim Hyo-jin, dancer and composer, put on a multi-media dance performance Madame Freedom at the festival in the last month. Audiences at King's Theatre shouted loud bravo or brava. At the same time, local presses and critics also expressed very positive responses. Twelve young critics reviewed or gave star-grade for her work: six of them gave 4 stars, one gave 5 ones and four gave 3 ones.
The Times reported, in the main coverage, that the performance was a very curious and intermittently rewarding piece of multimedia dance theatre. Kelly Apter, a reviewer of the Scotsman, appraised that with its promise of live dance and digital technology, Madame Freedom was always going to challenge our sense of focus... she has a compelling stage presence, and during the opening sequence – devoid of all visual imagery – she holds our gaze just with her movement. The work borrows its title from a 1956 Korean film about a stuffy married woman exposed to the influence of western culture. Mary Brennan, a reviewer of the Herald, wrote a critique like this. "Complex indeed, and on so many levels, both technically and philosophically... Madam Freedom is also superbly dynamic in the way it puts a 21st century woman in the context of her country's past."
For about 10 years, Kim has continued works about matching dance and cinematic image on stage. The original of Madam Freedom is Dancing and Climbing a Mountain, which was performed as a solo dance in 2005. Madam Freedom is composed of 3 main scenes: room, cafe and garden of Madam Freedom. The room scene depicts a woman contemplating herself among the ordinary habit of body. The second scene shows a deviative woman who comes and goes between dance hall and ordinary life. The last scene represents Madam Freedom exploring the garden of mind. Madam Freedom is a travelogue of a woman who experiences changes of time and space in contrast with the original work, Dancing and Climbing a Mountain, which was composed as a travelogue telling a memory of body.

Next month, we will meet 2 big dance festivals in Seoul: Seoul Performing Arts Festival(SPAF) 2013 and SIDance 2013. The former was established in 2001, and the latter in 1998. The 2 festivals invites a number of foreign and Korean contemporary dance companies, and the SPAF also invites companies of drama or theatre. During that time the 2 events have formed real international networks between Korean and foreign artists. In addition, they are highly evaluated as to broaden the perspective and activity of Korean artists. Now, the two events and Seoul beckon to you to come and see a fresh dance scenes of variety in this fall.

Seoul Performing Arts Festival(SPAF) 2013 will be held from October 2 to 26 in Seoul. This year, it invited 9 foreign companies including 10 Korean companies of dance and drama. Under the main title 'Surrealism vs. Reality', SPAF 2013 enunciated an intention to encourage and inspire a new mode of creativity beyond the still-too-strong vocabularies of realism theatre and the imbalanced trend of conceptual dance in Korean performing arts scene: surrealist theatre from France, multimedia theatre from the US and dance works based on strong and profound physicality. It seems very interesting to contrast surrealist and realist mode of performance on stages of one event. SPAF 2013 will also hold the 7th Seoul Dance Collection and Connection for young dancers.

Invited Foreign Companies (Work / Director / Company), SPAF 2013
Victor ou les enfants au pouvoir / Emmanuel Demarcy-Mota / Theatre de la Ville
SONTAG: REBORN / Marianne Weems / The Builders Association
King Lear / Tadashi Suzuki / Suzuki Company of Toga
Sfumato / Rachid Ouramdane / L’A
L’apres-midi d’un Foehn / Phia Menard / Non nova
Vortex / Phia Menard / Non nova
Zbrodnia(The Crime) / Ewelina Marciniak / Teatr Polski Bielsko-Biała
Celebration/Expression / Koji Hasegawa / Aomori Museum of Art
What the Body Does Not Remember / Wim Vandekeybus / Ultima Vez

SIDance 2013 will be held from October 7 to 27 in Seoul. In the event, 10 foreign companies from Canada, France, Catalonia, Taiwan, Finland, Macedonia, Slovenia, USA, Norway, and Italy will display their works. And dancers from Singapore, Australia, Nigeria, Macedonia, China, and Congo will show collaboration works with Korean dancers in Asia–Africa– Eastern Europe Dance Exchange programme. Of course, there will be performances by Korean dancers: Choe Sangchul, Nam Youngho, Kim Yongchul, Lee Insoo and others. For the past several years, it prepared a stage for hip-hop dance and a Dancing City programme in Seoul. From 2008, SIDance has also held Seoul Performing Arts Critics Forum where many critics from Europe and Asia participated in to discuss various tasks of performing arts in the new century.

Invited Companies (Work / Choreographer / Company), SIDance 2013
Variations S / Duels / Hélène Blackburn / Cas Public
Is She Coming? / Choe Contemporary Dance Company
Eloge du puissant royaume / Heddy Maalem / Cie Heddy Maalem
Shortcuts / Marcos Morau / La Veronal
The Unreality of Time / Marina Mascarell & Dance Forum Taipei
Me-Me / Dance Theatre Auraco
He, He.. Helium / Skin / Kirov Dance Company
RE: OK…BUT! / Kim Jaeduck & T.H.E Dance Company
Gateless Gate / Jun Injung & Simon Barker
Moon Over Jupiter / Complexions Contemporary Ballet
The Perfect Reason / Lee Insoo
Sjøen (The Sea) / Ingun Bjørnsgaard Prosjekt
The Last Season of Your Life / Hanna Brotherus & Trust Dance Theatre
A Posto(In Place) / Ambra Senatore
Moon Jar / Nam Youngho / La Coree'graphie
Asia–Africa– Eastern Europe Dance Exchange
Across Hip Hop Ⅶ / Cie De Fakto & Goblin Party

contributor _ Chaehyeon Kim / Dance Critic