La Chun Hyang – a traditional tale brought up to date with ballet. Free admission!

The story of Chun Hyang, Korea’s most famous Pansori tale, has been updated and choreographed into a ballet. Catch it for free at the Peacock Theatre on Thursday 19th July.

Here’s a trailer to give an idea of the style of the production, and you can see some stills from the ballet on their Facebook page.

Register using the links below, or via their email adddress. Come along, and bring some friends. I shall be.

La Chun Hyang (La춘향)

Kim Geung Soo Ballet
Date: 19 July 2012 (Thursday)
Time: 3:00 pm and 7:30 pm
Venue: Peacock Theatre, Kingsway, London (Sadler’s Wells Theatre operated) WC2A 2HT, London
Admission: Free
Reservations: click on Facebook links for 3pm performance | 7:30pm performance, or email lachunhyang@gmail.com

La Chun Hyang poster

La Chun Hyang is the heroine from Chun Hyang Jeon, one of Korea’s classical stories. She risks helife to protect her chastity for the sake of her betrothed. Chun Hyang represents Korean women’s nobility of chastity and this can be a comparative exploration of Renaissance England and 19th century Korea for modern English audience. Despite the chronological and geographical distances between then, Renaissance England and 19th century Korea share several significant socio-historical similarities, as both were societies in transition from the medieval to the modern world. Chun Hyang can be compare with Shakespeare’s characters Isabella in Measure for Measure which central to his play is the question of what kind of sexual conduct is socially acceptable and what is not. Chun Hyang shows a women’s sacrificial life for egoism of male, moral prejudice and social convention. Similar to Tess from Tess of the d’Urbervilles: A Pure Woman by Thomas Hardy, is despised by society after losing her virginity before marriage, Chun Hyang also goes to pain to protect her virginity. This causes her life sink into the depth of misery even though it is a happy ending story. In this modern life, we still love Hardy’s, Shakespeare’s as well as Chun Hyang. This Korean’s beautiful love story will be able to give warm emotion to touch British audience who has a similar cultural background with Korean throughout the history. This ballet production La Chun Hyang blends dance, style, humour and beautiful emotion of love to create a provocative and powerful Chun Hang for our time. We believe that this ballet production can operate window to the British audience to feel Korean’s emotion. In addition, British audience can enjoy this compulsive viewing of new mixed Korean and Western style ballet.

The choreographer Kim creates this dance piece considering what happens if Chun Hyang lives in this era. La Chun Hyang is adapted for dance with modernise sense. Like Mattew Bourne’s new, witty and surprising production Swan Lake has been designed for speak to a modern audience, to excite them and to move them, La Chun Hyang is transformed from the classic Chun Hyang Jeon into contemporary tale with a well-knit plot and spectacular stage. La Chun Hyang is rooted by the story of Chun Hyang Jeon, which is every Korean knows, but there is more than the classic. This is based on a secret story of Chun Hyang that nobody knows but the dancers and choreographer.

1. The Story

For endless love, she refuses authority’s bed service and sequent on wealth and honour. She was waiting for love without hope while she was in a jail. We all know how hard she must be and make great effort for the love.

Now, the present, Chun Hyang in the secret story, has changed. While Chun Hyang was stuck in a mould, which is quintessence of classics, in this new contemporary ballet, La Chun Hyang is now standing in the middle of skyscrapers in the centre of city where grey wind blows. She sheds old way of thinking, she is wearing mini skirt and high heels. The traditional texts, which are written with traditional brush, become the texts which are written with the dancers’ bodies, and Korean’s traditional folk opera pansori becomes modern ballet music seasoned with musical sense.

However, nobody knows Chun Hyang has changed.

In 2009 Seoul, there is open air catwalk at the night street which is brilliant light of neon signs with useful spirit and passion embroidered. In the spectators, there is Chun Hyang’s lover Mong Ryong and Hak Do, who is a president of an entertainment management company, are charmed by Chun Hyang’s beauty.

Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong are deeply love each other and Hak Do nurse jealous against the love.

Unexpectedly, Mong Ryong has come up with something and Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong have to part.

Before long, Chun Hyang takes the audition of the entertainment company of Hak Do. Chun Hyang beats the countless contestants in the audition to win first place.

When Hak Do tries to win Chun Hyang’s heart very aggressively, Mong Ryong finally appears to rescue her. Chun Hyang and Mong Ryong love each other passionately once again.

2. Intention

There is no need to speak that people are interested in ‘Love’ more than anything.

Romeo and Juliet, which is one of the most beloved novels, is transformed into various forms of arts, since this tragic love story has appeared in this world. One of the reasons why it is most beloved, it is a love story. La Chun Hyang desires to communicate with not only Korean audiences but also audiences in the world through Chun Hyang, which is the most representative love story in Korea, using ballet. La Chun Hyang is a contemporary ballet infused Korean love story which is deeply inscribed to almost all Korean people. With the art form of ballet, La Chun Hyang would like to break the traditional convention of solidity, and recreate traditional Chun Hyang with modernise sense.

Focusing on mutation of scene and emotion, La Chun Hyang tries an adventurous and lively stage, which is composed of music of musical form, restraint classical ballet form, traditional Korean costume performance made of traditional Korean paper and geometrical movement based on classical ballet.

As a choreographer, La Chun Hyang is a contemporary ballet piece that take classic out of the trace of wheel of the past, and adds Koreans’ contemporary sensitivity.

3. Awards for La Chun Hyang

2009 Seoul Foundation Arts and Culture – Creative Performance Support
2010 Korea Dance Production Competition – Grand Prize
2010 Korea Ballet Foundation – Best Dance Production of the Year

4. The Choreographer

Former Principal ballet dancer for the Korean National Ballet Company
Former Ballet Master for the Korean Ballet Company
Former Artistic Director of the Korean National Ballet Company
Current Professor of Chung-Ang University at Department of Dance in College of Arts
Vice Chairman of the Korea Dance Association
President of the Korea Male Dancer Forum
Chairman of the Korea Dance Association
Chairman of the World Dance Centre
Chairman of the Seoul International Performing Arts Festival

5. Music

Composer: Jung So Young. Whenever she writes music, she closes her eyes and imagines the story. The crucial concept of this music is Eastern, Western and modern life. Inspired by the scene, which Chun Hyang is moving through light wind, the composer tries to make it as if the audience watches the music as they listen to the music.

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