Seoul welcomes world to international festival

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Seoul welcomes world to international festival

The World Culture Open 2004 festival, which opens its second stage in Seoul today, features five days of international cultural competitions and performances in various disciplines including music, dance and martial arts.
The international festival was created to promote humanitarian service, holistic approaches to well-being and creative arts through cultural performance competitions, seminars and awards.
The event, which kicked off in New York on Wednesday, begins its second phase in Seoul with competitions among performers and groups from around the world. Guest performances will continue until Wednesday.
It is not certain whether the last part of the festival will be held in Pyeongyang, North Korea’s capital, as planned from Sept. 16 through Sept. 18. The event is to include the final competitions, awards and performances of the three award winners. Panmunjeom, the joint security area in the Demilitarized Zone, is supposed to be the venue for the closing ceremony on Sept. 19.
“The North Korean side has not said yet it would not be able to participate in the event,” said Chae Jin-sun, general manager of the organizing committee, adding that the discussions are still under way. If Pyeongyang won’t host the festival, it would stay in Seoul.
All the cultural competitions and performances are free. Around 130 individuals and teams from 40 countries will take part in the competitions, which will be held at the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts and Hoam Art Hall in central Seoul.
The opening ceremony on Sunday and the live concert today will be held at the grassy area in front of Seoul’s City Hall. The 70-minute concert in front of City Hall today features popular Korean singers such as BoA, Lee Seung-cheol and Tim.
The closing ceremony on Wednesday (that is, if Pyeongyang refuses to host the final events) and the special guest performances on Monday and Tuesday will be held in Lake Park in Goyang, north of Seoul.
The three-day competition will feature dance performers such as Beskid of Poland; Dmitri Pokrovsky Ensemble; the Mayuzumi Theater for the Traditional Folk Dance of Japan; and Yunnan Ethnic Art Group of China, and music performers including Morin Khuur of Mongolia; Gong Myong, and Geumyulakhoe of Korea.
The acclaimed Beskid will feature dancers dressed in traditional costumes of Poland’s various regions. The team consists of 40 adults and 120 children. The art group from China is from the Yunnan province, the home of 25 minority groups. The Mayuzumi dance theater, founded in 1986, will present traditional dances of various regions in Japan.
Martial arts performers include Capoeira Tradicao of Brazil; Federation Francaise Savate of France, and Goguryeo of Korea.
Special guest performances in Goyang’s Lake Park will feature Santa Cello, a five-person jazz ensemble formed by German composer, Peter Schindler; Nawang Khechog, a performer and composer who has spread the beauty of Tibetan music; Barranquilla, the winner of Colombia’s carnival; Taffetas and Friends, a Swiss jazz music group, who plays with African, Indian and Mongolian instruments.
Photo exhibitions about humanitarian works will be held outside the Sejong Center.
More information, including the schedule, is available at the World Culture Open’s official Web site at www.wco2004.org.


by Limb Jae-un
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