Melding hip-hop to traditional dance

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Melding hip-hop to traditional dance

Hip-hop dance is getting more respect these days. Traditional dance forms are embracing its street-bred moves, with ever-expanding categories like funk and contemporary jazz. One choreographer known for experimenting is Woo Hyun-young. Ms. Woo, who studied dance in New York, brings together ballet and modern dance styles like hip-hop and jazz dance with her Seoul-based Poz Dance Theater.
Since Poz opened in 1996, Ms. Woo has established the troupe at the forefront of modern dance here. But her vision expands beyond the peninsula, which is why the group hosts an annual show featuring dancers from around the globe.
“Of course you can focus on Korea, but to hone the skills of the dancers here and to introduce Korean works to troupes from other countries, you have to have an international view,” says Kim Suh-ryoung, who is helping to organize the 5th International Dance Meeting, in which Poz and three American groups will perform from Thursday to Dec. 7.
In addition to Poz, the Wes Veldink Movement and Parsons Dance Project, both from New York, and Odyssey Dance Theater, from Utah, will perform at the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation in Daehangno.
Poz is performing “Saharasis,” which the group debuted in July at the celebrated Calabria Arte Danza in Italy. Since the debut, Poz has expanded on “Saharasis,” which draws inspiration from the Sahara Desert and its oases to examine coexistence. While the troupe does choreograph smaller pieces throughout the year, the Dance Meeting is its annual showcase event.
The Wes Veldink Movement, led by Mr. Veldink, is debuting “Now,” while Parsons Dance Project, led by Jason Parsons, is debuting “The Kiss.”
Mr. Parsons’s group has been part of the Dance Meeting since its inception in 1999; the Wes Veldink Movement joined last year. Mr. Parsons has choreographed works for the American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet. Companies that have performed his works include Paris Opera Ballet, Netherlands Danse Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Company of Chicago and BatSheva Dance Company of Israel.
The Odyssey Dance Theater joins the Dance Meeting for the first time. The troupe, led by Derryl Yeager, is bringing three sets; “Rain” will be performed Thursday and Friday, “Glory Box” goes on stage Dec. 6 and “SounTrax” will be shown on Dec. 7. Incidentally, Mr. Parsons choreographed “Glory Box,” which features music by Portishead.


by Joe Yong-hee

For more information, call (02) 3141-1770 or visit the Web site at www.pozdance.com. Tickets are 20,000 won ($17) to 50,000 won.

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