Life, local artists come dancing into Modafe

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Life, local artists come dancing into Modafe

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Korean modern dance choreographer Kim Young-mi will stage “This is my sit” at the Small Hall of the Daehangno Arts Theater today at 6 p.m. Provided by the organizer

For the past 32 years, contemporary dancers from around the world have been coming to Korea to participate in the International Modern Dance Festival, Modafe. It’s the country’s oldest modern dance festival that’s been acting as a platform to introduce state-of-the-art trends in the international dance scene as well as an opportunity for local contemporary dancers to show off their abilities.

Unlike previous years, when it was focused more on international works, according to the festival’s organizing committee, this year’s festival will give more weight to local artists.

Under the theme, “Dance is Life, Life is Dance,” this year’s festival kicked off on Friday and will run through Sunday at various venues, including the Arko Arts Theater and Daehangno Arts Theater. Eighteen works, five from abroad and the rest from home, will be staged during the festival.

Among many domestic performances, choreographer Kuk Eun-mi’s “Walking” will kick start the local shows today at the Daehangno Arts Theater. Kuk, who is considered a “hidden jewel of contemporary dance,” created the dance with the director Kwon Byung-chul in 2002 by “combining closely with improvisation and musical composition.”

Following Kuk’s work, Kim Kyung-young, a contemporary dance choreographer interested in the social function of arts, will stage his work, “From the Classic Movement.” His past works, such as “The 826th Cry,” a performance that deals with a story about comfort women; “Guro-dong Swan,” a story of out-of-work young men finding their dreams and jobs; as well as “164cm,” which is about neglected juvenile delinquents, show how much the artist is interested in social issues.

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“Babel,” by Belgian choreographers, opened this year’s 10-day long International Modern Dance Festival on Friday. Provided by Koen Broos

On Friday, choreographer Kim Young-mi will show “a tendency to give shape to human anguish and contradiction in society” through her dance work, “This is my sit.” She is “trying to present a hopeful thinking about the sincere life people have to aim,” and she says her view of choreography is that the most important motto of dance art is “only the sincereness about movements.” Her dance works tend to focus only on the movements of the body rather than using other expressive aspects.

The most talked-about domestic performance for this year’s Modafe is “Three Lips,” which is a collaborative work by three choreographers and dancers from different age groups. Cha Jin-yup is in her 30s, while Lee Yoon-kyung is in her 40s and Ahn Shin-hee is in her 50s. Based on the Greek playwright Euripides’ tragedy, “The Trojan Women,” it is a story that shows the most desperate side of women in Greek tragedies. The three dancers who represent modern dance artists in their age group will construct their own stage with their own personality.

Meanwhile, an interesting work to note will be the “Living-room Dancers” by Swiss choreographer Nicole Seiler, which will be staged on Friday and Saturday. Dancers are seen doing tap, electro dance, Argentine tango, salsa, samba, improvisation or pole-dancing in the living room of a building at night.

Because the living room is turned into a dance floor for the night, and is lit up while the outside is dark, the audience can “observe indiscreetly the inside of an apartment from the street penetrating the person’s intimate space.” Audience members, who will be using binoculars and mp3-players to experience the performance, will be led to watch a film showing portraits of the performers that’s projected inside a theater.

From Spain, choreographer Daniel Abreu will stage “Otros Rastros” on Wednesday at the Daehangno Arts Theater. This performance is “a metaphor about the journey of life,” and questions “what the world is,” or “what this world should be.”

As the opening performance, the renowned Belgian choreographers Damien Jalet and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui staged “Babel,” the famous biblical story in which God divides his people into different competing nations who speak in separate tongues, on Friday and Saturday.

The festival is also holding dance-themed discussions, forums, and photo exhibitions.

Tickets range from 20,000 to 50,000 won ($17.96 to $44.90) while some performances, exhibitions or events are offered for free. For more information, visit www.modafe.org or call (02) 756-5352.


By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]
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