A yearly showcase for young choreographers

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A yearly showcase for young choreographers

Since the launch of the Next Wave Dance Festival in 1998, its organizers at the Korean Contemporary Dance Company have used it to give young choreographers a chance to stage their latest creations.
Typically, they’ve invited a few Korean choreographers and one from overseas; the festival has hosted guests from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.
This year’s two-day festival, which starts tomorrow at the Post Theater in Changjeon-dong, northern Seoul, is no different. Three Korean choreographers in their 30s will be presenting their work along with one of the hottest young choreographers from Israel, Emanuel Gat.
The same program will be performed each night. Kim Hae-sook will open with her “Scene 2,” a follow-up to “Scene 1,” a solo piece she performed last year. “Scene 2” is also a solo. She says of it, “Everyone has a lot of fears in life, and I’m exploring how we face these fears.” For staging, she says, she will be making use of a long red skirt meant to represent fear. This will be her third performance for the festival.
The second piece, “Standing in Front of the Door,” is by Kim Ji-ok, who will be making his first Next Wave Dance Festival appearance.
Lee Yun-kyung, president of the Korean Contemporary Dance Company, describes Mr. Kim’s performances as strikingly modern. “He is able to convey softness and strength,” Ms. Lee says.
Another festival first-timer, Jung Gi-jeong, has the third slot with “Talking About It.” Ms. Lee says of Ms. Jung, “She dances like the essence of water. Her movements, as they flow one to the other, are mesmerizing.”
Mr. Gat, 35, will close the program on each night with “Winter Voyage,” a duet with Roy Assaf to music by Franz Schubert.
In June, Le Monde described “Winter Voyage” as having “an unexpected body language... The two men have not only created the feeling of an enormous space, but succeeded in giving it a sense of elasticity, as if the stage was made of fabric stretchable according to their needs.”
Mr. Gat originally studied music at Tel Aviv Academy, but found a calling as a dancer at the age of 23. He joined Liat Dror Nir Ben-Gal Company and began touring international festivals.
Mr. Gat created his first piece at the age of 25. He has presented works in Israel, Japan, the United States, France, Singapore, Germany, Belgrade, Turkey and Italy.
The Korean Contemporary Dance Company is one of the oldest dance companies in Korea. It was established in 1973; many contemporary dance professors at Korean universities have performed with the company at some point in their careers.
Ms. Lee, who has been with the dance company since 1986, took on the leadership mantle this year. “We have a rich heritage, but I’m working towards an exciting future with young, inspiring dancers and choreographers.”

by Joe Yong-hee

Post Theater is near the Hongik University area; the most convenient subway stops are the Hongik University and Sinchon stations on line No. 2. The theater can be reached at (02) 337-5961. Tickets are 10,000 won ($9).
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