'Nanta' folks set to serve up a new show

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'Nanta' folks set to serve up a new show

Building on the success of the local percussive performance "Nanta," that show's creators have fashioned a new stage work that will debut in Seoul this week.

The producers of "Nanta," PMC Productions, recently held a sneak preview of "U.F.O.," which is aimed at carrying on the "Nanta" momentum. The show will be held from Saturday to Nov. 17 at Dongsoongdong Hall in Daehangno, Seoul's theater district.

The premise of the show will be in accord with its title. Aliens will make an emergency landing at a gas station in Seoul and encounter a group of humans. The aliens and people will then communicate and interact by dancing.

While "Nanta" was based on drums and influenced by the traditional samulnori rhythms, the new production focuses on dance. The producers have even coined a neologism for the style of art to be employed: "dancus," a combination of dance and circus.

The entire production is estimated to cost 1.2 billion won ($1 million). LG Telecom is a major sponsor. After the local success of "Phantom of the Opera," more conglomerates are supporting the arts.

The Director of PMC, Kim Jong-heon, said, "We intend to create a thoroughly commercial art model, based on commercial targets." Indeed, during the performances, the crowds will see many corporate advertisements flashing the names and pitching the products of the sponsors.

The recent preview revealed an accomplished troupe of dancers who display a broad range of dance styles, including hip-hop.

Surprisingly, most of the performers have little or no experience on stage. One, Lee Hyeon-ah, is a champion gymnast. Another, Kim Duk-hyeong, participates in hip-hop dance competitions. Also, two Chinese performers from the Chinese Circus Academy were imported to give the production a circus color.

The production company said that it has put together the best coaching and training staff it could. Among them are the stage actor Choi Yong-hun of the Small Myth Theater Company, who is considered a rising star, and Seo Byeong-gou, who will be in charge of choreography. Mr. Seo charted out the movements for "The Last Empress."

As it did with "Nanta," PMC will periodically adjust the performance. Eventually the company plans to enter the work in the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland next year.

The shows will be staged every day of the week except Mondays. Weekday performances begin at 7:30 p.m., Saturday shows at 4 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday shows at 3 and 7 p.m. Ticket prices range from 20,000 won to 40,000 won. For more information, call 02-739-8288.

by Jung Jae-wal

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