Foreign and Korean troupes collaborate for dance festival

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Foreign and Korean troupes collaborate for dance festival

To maintain their avant-garde image, organizers from the Modern Dance Association of Korea and Ganesa Production have invited troupes like Chunky Move from Australia and Peeping Tom from Belgium to this year’s International Modern Dance Festival, better known as Modafe. Among the highlights are debuts by Koreans and several international collaborations.
Performances began Thursday with Emio Greco/PC at the Art Theater of the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation, in Daehangno, northern Seoul. For those who missed them, there’s plenty more as the festival continues to May 2. Chunky Move from Australia is staging “Crumpled” and “Corrupted,” by Gideon Obarzanek. The Village Voice once wrote, “Obarzanek’s vocabulary is also brutally arduous, but in keeping with the titles of the pieces shown at the BAM Harvey, his dancers seem damaged, unhinged, and trapped in technological disaster zones.” It’s an apt description, for Obarzenk constantly challenges his dancers with physically risky works.
Peeping Tom offers a mixed-media performance with “Le Jardin.” A film sequence shot in a sensual Brussels nightclub gives way to a dance about a family staged in a garden.
The choreographer Xavier Le Roy, whose background is in molecular and cellular biology, was researching breast cancer before moving to Paris to dedicate himself to dance. Still, an obsession with the study of the human body comes through in his deconstructive works. “Self Unfinished,” a solo work of his that’s been described as stark poetry, takes a humorous and startling view of the body and identity.
The Folkwang Tanzstudio Company, founded in 1928, is the cradle of German expressive dance, under the direction of Pina Bausch and Henritta Horn since 1999. For this festival, they produce a piece by Ahn Eun-me, a celebrated Korean choreographer. The company consistently searches for new techniques to broaden the company’s expressive possibilities. Last year, Bausch tapped Ahn as a guest choreographer. Ahn’s vision in “Please Hold My Hand” is a fairyland of pop art in the orient.
The Brian Brooks Moving Company takes on the color spectrum with “Orange, Blue, Pink and Green.” Their performance incorporates dance choreographed by Brooks and video animation by Sarah Browder Venkatesh. “Endless,” a collaboration between a Slovene choreographer, Iztok Kovac, and the Korean dance company Laboratory Dance Project, was inspired by Schubert’s Symphony No. 8, “Unfinished.”
With a bow to the movements of the martial art taekkyun, Chung Yoon Chang Contemporary Dance Company created “Kick-Pushing Taekkyun.” This piece uses kicking, pushing and tackling in a dance about social pressure and the insecurities of modern life.
Wrapping up the festival is the international collaboration “R.” Lee Kyung-eun, one of Korea’s leading young choreographers, has created a piece about invisible love and sacrifice. She will dance alongside Barbara Sarreau of France and Andreya Ouamba from Senegal.
The Korean Modern Dance Association first organized the festival in 1980 under the name “Korean Contemporary Dance Festival.” In 2002, the festival was restructured as an international dance festival.

by Joe Yong-hee

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