A Korean company introduces Seoul to Spanish dance

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A Korean company introduces Seoul to Spanish dance

Latin dances such as the tango and salsa have been popular in Korea for a few years. However, now is the time, says Chu Li, for Spanish traditional dance to take center stage in this country.
Ms. Li, artistic director and dancer of Chu Li Compania de Danza Espanola, began her career with the National Dance Company of Korea. She then won a scholarship to Spain’s Madrid Royal Dance Academy and ended up staying in the country for 20 years. In 2000, she and Jose Li, a guitarist, founded the dance company in Seoul to bring traditional Spanish dance to Korea.
The company will hold its second performance on its own, “Danza Espanola y Flamenco,” Monday and Tuesday at the National Theater of Korea. Ms. Li choreographed “Soil and Love,” a dazzling display of various Spanish traditional dance styles. Besides this original creation, the company will perform flamenco and other traditional Spanish dances, or danza Espanola.
“Most people in Korea think that flamenco is the only Spanish dance. But this is not true at all,” Ms. Li says. “Flamenco is one of numerous Spanish dance styles. But there are other (Spanish dances) with exuberant choreography and artistic excellence.”
“Danza Espanola usually indicates dances performed to music composed by either Albeniz, Granados or De Falla,” says Ms. Li. “Gollesaca,” the third dance of next week’s show, is based on Granados's masterpiece, “Goyescas,” which is considered the first modern Spanish composition.
Among the various flamenco pieces the Chu Li Compania de Danza Espanola will present is “Alegrias,” the so-called “queen” of flamenco dances. The purest of the repertoire, “Alegrias” suggests the movements of a bullfight.
The guitar was used originally as an instrument of accompaniment in flamenco. However, today, solo flamenco guitar has developed as a separate art. In this performance, Flamenco Ensemble from Sejong University and Jose Li will play “Bulerias,” a highly rhythmic piece.

by Kim Hae-young

“Danza Espanola y Flamenco” will be performed at the National Theater of Korea at 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Tickets cost from 10,000 won ($8.40) to 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 544-0778 or go to www.ticketlink.co.kr.
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