‘Contemporary Ballet Celebration’ presents a casual approach to dance

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‘Contemporary Ballet Celebration’ presents a casual approach to dance

The beauty of classical ballet lies in adhering to traditionalist art forms of dance. Contemporary ballet, on the other hand, seeks innovation. Today, ballet maintains traditional techniques with contemporary flair. The Universal Ballet Company will perform “Contemporary Ballet Celebration” at the Art Hall of the Korea Foundation for Arts and Culture opened on Thursday and will run through July 3.
Julia Moon, director of the Universal Ballet, defines this performance as “casual ballet.” There are no traditional rules or rigid formality or fairy tale settings involving tormented love between a man and woman. The performance includes Christopher Wheeldon’s “Backstage Story: Variations Serieuses,” Nacho Duato’s “Duende” and Brian Yoo’s “The Colors.”
Mr. Wheeldon, the resident choreographer of the New York City Ballet who originally hails from Britain, will show a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a ballet company. This is the first time that “Backstage Story” will be performed in Korea, and it will include humorous scenes that depict various incidents and experiences behind the curtain. There is the snotty principal ballerina, the rising ingenue and the lighting and sound technicians, among many others.
Mr. Duato’s “Duende,” which means mischievous fairy in Spanish, was inspired by the music of Claude Debussy. The performance shows how dancers are seduced by Mr. Debussy’s music and fall into a black hole. Mr. Duato, the artistic director of the National Dance Company of Spain, is the winner of many awards in choreography such as the grand prize in the International Choreographic Workshop in Spain. He is one of the most sought-after European choreographers of his generation.
Mr. Yoo, who is the assistant artistic director of the Universal Ballet, will introduce “The Colors,” a variety of dances inspired by six colors. The score will also be a variety of music ― a German jazz band, Korean traditional haegum, Chinese instruments and vocals by a German opera singer. It’s a fusion of East and West, and the harmony of colors, Mr. Yoo says. Mr. Yoo was born in China and joined the Universal Ballet in 1999.
Contemporary ballet must not be confused with modern dance. While it maintains its artistic and technical tradition, it breaks from conventional storytelling to convey a more contemporary relevance.
Universal Ballet’s Contemporary Ballet Celebration will be held at the Korea Foundation for Arts and Culture in Daehangno, Seoul until Sunday.


by Choi Jie-ho

Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. today, 7 p.m. tomorrow and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets range from 20,000 to 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2204-1039 or visit www.universalballet.com.
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