London Korean Links

Covering things Korean in London and beyond since 2006

Think Korea: Rites of Spring, at the Bloomsbury Theatre

A fusion of Western and Korean dance, and Western and Korean music in an imaginative reconstruction of the Korean Springtime rites of Danoje:

The Rites of Spring

7:30 pm, 13-15 June 2006
The Bloomsbury Theatre |15 Gordon Street | London WC1H 0AH |

Rites of Spring

In 2005, Gangneung Danoje was registered by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Danoje Festival which is held on the 5th of “May” (the fifth lunar month), is a kind of May festival and its aim is for praying for successful farming. On that day, the vitality is on the peak and everything is fresh and vivid. Since about 2,000 years ago, Korean people has held a ritual ceremony and enjoyed themselves on May, just after they finish sowing. Also people believed that the Dew of the day is beneficial to health.

In Europe, Maypole is celebrated on the 1st of May as a spring festival. The origin of the May festival can be traced to agricultural ritual. Maypole for plant growing was set up at the village plaza and people danced there. Young lovers whispered love in the woods. ‘ Walpurgis Night’ which was described in Faust by Goethe is a festival of sweet pleasure. Maypole stems from the ancient Celtic ‘Beltane.’ Beltane celebrated April-30 notified the beginning of summer and congratulated the rebirth of the world. People believed that Bathing in Beltane Dew guarantee health, beauty, and good luck all the year.

It is quite surprising that the same festivals celebrated in far-east and far-west of Eurasia. Humans are naturally quite the same. The Eastern and Wester ancient people prayed for the same wishes, and dreamed of the same love. In order to discover the mind, we are going toward London and open a stage. Is it possible that we make friends each other?

Samuel P. Huntington argues ‘ The Clash of Civilization’, but we have to try to find universality, not difference. Let’s get into conversation. Through the honest body language and passionate percussion!

NewRa Dancing Company will combine “The Rite of Spring”, in which Russian slavic ancient May festival was described into 20th century modern music by Stravinsky, with Korean Danoje ritual Music and create another version of “The Rite of Spring”.


Section Synopsis Performers Time
Section 1:
Danoje ritual performance
(the ritual of purifying the secular world into the sacred place)
Percussion 15′
Section 2:
Summer and Winter
A War between Summer and Winter
(the Goddess of May wins the war and brings summer)
Dancer 20′
Section 3:
Danoje ritual performance.
(Gods invoked and Yongseon (ship) put out to sea with dream)
Percussion 15′
Section 4:
A maiden victim
Cosmic Vitality Revives through death
(Lady Jung from Gangneung sacrifices herself, reincarnated as a goddess)
Dancer 20′
Section 5:
Return Way
Spring goddess goes back to the mountain, and the festival goes on all night by the remaining humans. Percussion & Dance 20′

Cast: 25 members

Dance drama: NewRa
Modern dance: POZ Dance Theatre
Percussion: CR-NURI

Recorded music & live percussion

Music by Stravinsky and NewRa

About Fusion Art Company NewRa

NewRa is a new word symbolizing New Eu ra sia. New means fresh: Ra symbolizes a combination of Europe and Asia. Ra means 6th note of a scale in Music and the sun god of Egypt. Namely, it indicates a amusing song to connect Asia and Europe. In other words, it would be a cultural pioneer to lead the mutual relation of the companionship of Europe-Asia.

NewRa founded in 1995 is a company specializing in planning and directing plays. The first performance was a general dancing performance “ Baekdu Mountain ” written by poet Ko Un who had been one of final candidates of Novel literature awards. The director was Park, Man-Ho and composing was a collaboration work. It was a contemporary dance theater in Korean style utilizing traditional mask dances and percussion instruments having a three hours running time. Since the first performance, NewRa has been performing cross over fusion performances focused on Korean contemporary dance.

Director: Park Man-ho

Acting as a planner, writer, and director in the field of play, dance, festival, and total theatre.

Choreographer: Woo Hyun-young

Famous for a unique choreography integrating jazz and modern dancing and considered as a founder of the new word “contemporary jazz”. Awarded in the 2001 Seoul Art Festival with “Human Click”. Choreographer of POZ Dance Theatre.

Music Director: Hong Dong-gi

Korean contemporary music composer
Synthesizer of Korean music group “ Seul-Gi-Doong”
Awarded in the 21 st Korean International Dancing Festival
Typical Present : “The soul of GoGyuRea”
Performing the arranged “Spirit of Spring” with Korean traditional instruments

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.