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A Festival of Korean Dance 2019

Here is the official press release for the 2019 Festival of Korean Dance, a collaboration between the Korea Arts Managements Service, the Korean Cultural Centre UK and The Place.

Three performances:

A Festival of Korean Dance 2019

31 May – 7 June 2019
The Place | 17 Duke’s Rd | London WC1H 9PY |
An array of dance styles for London audiences to discover as the capital’s festival of Korean dance returns for a second year

Somoo: photo by Kunu Kim

“This is the first UK festival of Korean dance. Let’s hope it’s the first of many.” score-2score-2score-2score-2score-0 Luke Jennings in the Observer on A Festival of Korean Dance 2018

Following an inaugural year enjoyed by audiences and critics alike, A Festival of Korean Dance will return in 2019. Technology, philosophy, folk tales and feminism are among the subjects explored by the five companies who will visit London this summer as part of a programme curated by The Place and supported by the Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK) and the Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS). Drawing on aspects of the country’s culture from history to the present day, the featured shows bring to the stage themes and ideas that resonate from Korea to the whole world.

The programme will be led by Modern Table Dance Company, known to London audiences following appearances at the Greenwich and Docklands Festival and at The Place as part of the K-Music festival. The company will present Sok-do (Velocity) on 31 May, a work for eight virtuoso male dancers driven by live music played on the Ajaeng, a traditional Korean stringed instrument. Lighting is also used to dramatic effect in a performance that typifies the work of Modern Table, one of Korea’s leading contemporary dance companies. Led by Jae-Duk Kim, Modern Table mix traditional Korean dance styles with rock and hip-hop influences, aiming to transgress the borders between genres.

In the following week, the festival features a double bill by Art Project Bora (4 June), a company headed by Bora Kim, whose work to date includes a collaboration with Marc Brew as part of the UK/Korea cultural exchange programme. Somoo, named after a traditional Korean mask is a work on feminism that uses traditional Asian feminine gestures to create an image of female genitalia. It will be accompanied by A Long Talk to Oneself in which Bora Kim conducts a conversation, through dance, with a video of herself projected on stage, expressing the stories that are contained in movement with what has been described as deeply moving tenderness and fragility.

The final performance on Friday 7 June is a triple bill of works from companies at the cutting edge of Seoul’s contemporary dance scene. The first is Complement, created by the Choi X Kang which asks ‘can objects outside our eyes be controlled?’ – and uses camera technology to explore the question in a humourous fusion of the virtual and the real. The company is led by Choi Min-sun and Kang Jin-an, both former dancers with Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, the flagship company who appeared at last year’s inaugural festival.

It will be followed by Goblin Party’s postmodernist-influenced Once Upon a Time which tell stories through changing the audience’s perception of traditional Korean objects such as tobacco pipes and fans. Drawing on their heritage but reframing it for contemporary audiences, the company’s symbol is a traditional Korean monster goblin. The evening will be completed by Noname Sosu Silentium which plays with lighting and darkness to show the body as an optical illusion, a statue or a projection, creating a visualisation of emotions in its extreme state. Noname Sosu is a company created by choreographer Young-Hyun Choi whose work has been performed at the Tanzmesse NRW in Germany and at festivals in Italy and Singapore.

Speaking about the festival, Artistic Director of The Place Eddie Nixon said, “Last year’s Festival of Korean Dance proved a great success and we are excited to offer our audiences another chance to discover contemporary dance from Korea. This year, we are thrilled to welcome Jaeduk Kim’s company Modern Table back to The Place with Sok-do and to present the first UK performance by one of Korea’s brightest choreographic talents Bora Kim.”

Speaking about the festival, Doil Kim, President of the Korea Arts Management Service (KAMS) said, “We’re honoured to be cooperating with The Place and the KCCUK to introduce various strands of contemporary Korean dance to the UK. This partnership will run until 2021 and creates a long-term stage for European audiences to discover the talent that Korea is presently producing. We very much hope that this partnership model can become a global platform that brings Korean Dance to international audiences.”

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