The future vision of modern dance

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The future vision of modern dance

Contemporary dancers from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world have come to Seoul to participate in the International Modern Dance Festival (Modafe).
Hosted by the Contemporary Dance Association of Korea, this annual festival is in its 24th year. The theme this year is “Crumbling Civilization, Running Body!” and focuses on examining the future vision of dance and art in the 21st century through experimental art forms.
Ahn Shin-hee, the association’s president, commented, “Modafe is a gala of dances that provides a glimpse of the future world of dance.”
Unlike in the past, this year’s festival has expanded to include fine arts, film, architecture and drama.
During the two-week festival, which began Sunday, works by major choreographers will be performed, such as Jerome Bel’s “The Show Must Go On,” Wim Vanderkeybus’s “Ultima Vez & KVS,” and Arco Renz’s “Heroine.” Renowned contemporary dance choreographers in Korea will also display their works, including Ahn Eun-me’s “Let's Go!,” Jung Young-doo’s “Variation,” and the joint collaboration of dance choreographer Park Na-hoon and modern artist Choi Jong-hwa, “Virgin Road.”
On Wednesday, a contemporary dance piece entitled “Damaged Goods,” choreographed by American dancer Meg Stuart, was performed at the Arts Theater of the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation. The dancers displayed extraordinary movements that showed a high degree of precision. Using their shoulders, knees and elbows, three dancers ― two female and one male ― writhed on the floor, as if trying to forge bonds with each other. The movements appeared to have a language of their own, as if the dancers’ bodies were communicating with one other. The performers’ faces bore morose expressions, and their radically fast movements expressed anguish, yearning and gloom. The music by Hahn Rowe, created from electric sounds, added to the severity of the overall performance.
Lighting also was significant in the approximately 70-minute piece, highlighting certain dancers or body parts. Ms. Stuart's Brussels-based company, Damaged Goods, has had a series of collaborations with visual artists.
Besides the various dance performances, there will be a workshop with Mr. Vanderkeybus and a discussion with Mr. Bel. In addition, there is a cafe where audience members, performers and choreographers can mingle and share ideas and opinions.


by Choi Jie-ho

The 24th International Modern Dance Festival continues to June 7 at the Korean Culture and Arts Foundation in Daehangno and at Mary Hall at Sogang University in western Seoul. Ticket prices range from 20,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, call (02) 738-3931 or visit www.modafe.org.
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