Traditional dances reinterpreted

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Traditional dances reinterpreted

Han Hye Kyung, 51, has long been passionate about Korean dance; she has been studying it since the age of five.
Under some of the best Korean dancers, such as Lee Mae-bang and Kim Mae-ja, Ms. Han has developed her art form. She set up her namesake company in 1992 and has performed in Germany, France, Turkey and France. Over the years, Ms. Han has become one of Korea’s most famed janggochum (hour glass drum) dancers, known in particular for the beautiful lines in her movements.
Her performance of “The Fragrance of Our Dance” on Wednesday, at the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts, will close with the janggochum, for which Han is particularly famous. But the repertoire for the night consists of five other dances, most of them solo performances.
The first is the salpurichum, a shaman’s dance from the southern part of Gyeonggi province. It’s performed by a woman wearing a white hanbok who uses a long, white scarf to express emotion.
Although Ms. Han dances much in the style of Lee Mae-bang, who sought to take traditional dance and express it using modern dance vocabulary, she also allows for improvisation of the hands and feet.
The second dance is the heungjimu, an improvisation performed by the Han Hye Kyung Dance Company. Using indigenous Korean music as a backdrop, the dancers focus on the movements of the feet and hands, and breath control.
The third performance is the chumbon,a new addition to Ms. Han’s repertoire. She’ll perform it for the first time on Wednesday.
Strictly speaking, chumbon is not a traditional Korean dance, but Kim Mae-ja, who created chumbon, based it on traditional Korean dance and breath control. Ms. Kim began performing the chumbon around the 1970s and 1980s, with bare feet.
Ms. Han, who studied under Ms. Kim, chose chumbon because of its similarity to Western dance. She performs it wearing a modernized version of the hanbok.
The second act opens with the sogochum, performed in the style of Choi Jung-sil, who reorganized the movements in the nongak (farmer’s dance), one of the most popular traditional performances.
The sogochum uses a small drum called a sogo. When the sogo is used in a group performance, the sogo dancers are usually in the front line.
Samgomu, performed in Lee Mae-bang’s style, uses three drums hung on a wooden frame. The dance is a combination of rhythmic dexterity and acrobatic movement.


by Joe Yong-hee

For more information about tickets, visit Interpark’s Web site at www.interpark.com (no English available) or call (02) 338-6420. Tickets are 15,000 to 30,000 won.

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