Festival of Korean Dance 2020: Online Edition

The real-world Festival of Korean Dance at the end of May had to be cancelled, but we now have an online version, with one or two familiar faces represented. It’s great that as well as online performances, we’ve got some documentaries to let us hear more about the performers. And, for the first time, K-pop dance is represented in the festival, with a documentary feature on K-pop choreographer Yoon Jung Bae. There’s an opportunity for you to get involved as well.

Overall, it’s a really exciting lineup:

  • Documentaries about three performers we’ve enjoyed seeing at The Place in previous years: Sung-Im Her (2019), Jinyeob Cha (2018) and Bora Kim (2019) – as well as the feature on Yoon Jung Bae mentioned above
  • A 20 minute performance by the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company (who had their UK debut at the festival in 2018), plus a programme of shorts by a range of performers including Kim Modeun whose work we enjoyed at the Edinburgh Fringe last year
  • An open call for young dancers in the UK and South Korea to learn K-pop dance moves with some of the industry’s top dancers and choreographers. The application window opens on 2 December 2020. Details will be posted on The Place website here and the KCC website here.

Most of the videos will remain online for about a month, but beware: while the documentaries will be online until early January, the performance videos will only be online for one week.

Here’s a trailer for the event:

The schedule in brief is as follows:

DateEvent
2 DecLaunch of Open Call: K-pop Together!
Documentary: Korean Dance Now — Yoon Jung Bae, the hidden contributor to the K-pop craze
3 DecDocumentary: Korean Dance Now — Jin Yeob Cha, an artist who crosses time and space
Performance: Korea National Contemporary Dance Company: Beyond Black
4 DecDocumentary: Korean Dance Now — Sung Im Her
Performance / screening: Korean Dance Films
5 DecDocumentary: Korean Dance Now — A documentary on Bora Kim’s striking performances

And more details follow:

The schedule

Korean Dance Now — Yoon Jung Bae, the hidden contributor to the K-pop craze

Online Documentary
Wednesday 2 December 2020, 7:30pm. Available here until Thursday 9 January 2021

Meet K-pop choreographer Yoon Jung Bae, the choreographer with the Midas touch!

Known for its addictive melodies, slick choreography, and production values, K-pop has become a global phenomenon. This documentary gives you a peek into the world of Yoon Jung Bae, the choreographer behind some of the high octane dance routines of K-pop’s biggest bands including Brown Eyed Girls, T-ara and Kara and mentor on Korean television’s K-pop competition programme Produce.

See what it takes to nurture young performers, run a successful dance school and create pieces that ‘grab your attention for three minutes’ time and time again.

This short film celebrates the talent behind the K-pop craze, featuring rehearsal footage from the dance studio and Yoon Jung Bae’s dance academy; clips from hit K-pop music videos;  exclusive interviews with Bae, singer LUNASOLAR and renowned choreographers Sung Deuk Son, Jun Hee Park, Tony An, and Chae-yeon from the group IZ*One; an insight into Bae’s roles as a pioneer for choreographers’ rights; and her plans for the future!

Korean Dance Now — Jin Yeob Cha, an artist who crosses time and space

Online Documentary
Thursday 3 December 2020, 7:30pm. Available here until Thursday 9 January 2021

Known for crossing artistic boundaries, Jin Yeob Cha is one of South Korea’s most celebrated dancers and choreographers.

Made while Jin Yeob Cha prepares for a new online show, this documentary reveals a glimpse into the artist’s process as she challenges herself to create work for a new performance culture in a post-COVID-19 era.

The film features clips of Jin Yeob Cha’s visually striking performances, including the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, as well as an interview where she talks about what propels her to cross boundaries and take inspiration from ballet, modern dance, opera, musical theatre, film, and technology.

The Place’s artistic director Eddie Nixon, choreographer Carolyn Choa and Coronet theatre director Anda Winters will give an insight into Jin Yeob Cha’s impact on Korea’s contemporary dance scene. You’ll also see behind-the-scenes footage of the choreographer creating her new online work for the 25th Guangdong Prehistoric Culture Festival. The new show reflects on ‘humanity’ and reveals how human feelings of apprehension and fear can transcend into hope and resilience over time, a message that aspires to ring true for the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Korea National Contemporary Dance Company: Beyond Black

Online Performance
Thursday 3 December 2020, 8pm. Available here but only until Thursday 10 December 2020

Korea National Contemporary Dance Company | Beyond Black
Korea National Contemporary Dance Company | Beyond Black. Photo: Aiden Hwang

A chance to watch Korea’s national contemporary dance company’s full length show Beyond Black online.

Beyond Black explores whether Artificial Intelligence (AI) will ever be able to reproduce the complexity and emotion of humans dancing. This 20-minute stage production has been beautifully filmed, capturing the immediacy of the live event and the intimacy that film can provide.

Choreographed by Shin Chang-ho

Duration: 20 mins

Korean Dance Now — Sung Im Her

Online Documentary
Friday 4 December 2020, 7:30pm. Available here until Thursday 9 January 2021

Sung Im Her is an international choreographer from South Korea who previously worked in Belgium before setting up a base in London.

She describes ‘dance’ as “the time when the cells in the body rise”. An excited movement, just like children playing, but what the performers intend to show you is related to the uppermost limits and bodily pain experienced by artists.

This documentary shines a light on Sung Im Her’s career to date using interviews, clips of performances, and behind-the-scenes footage.

Following her on her latest project Percolate, created during the current Covid-19 pandemic in collaboration with photographer Rachel Cherry and Siobhan Davies Studio, viewers will observe the artistic process from idea to production, as well as gain an insight into Sung Im Her’s varying roles as choreographer, mother and wife, and how all these are affected by the pandemic where live performance is on hold.

Also featuring footage of Sung Im Her’s acclaimed show Nutcrusher (performed at The Place in autumn 2019), which touches on themes of female identity, power, and sexual objectification.

Korean Dance Films

Online Performances and art film screenings
Friday 4 December 2020, 8pm. Available here but only until Friday 11 December 2020

Still from BOOKANIMA by Shon Kim
Still from BOOKANIMA by Shon Kim

Tune in online for this selection of captivating dance films made by Korean artists.

From a gentle, quirky exploration of a Seoul neighbourhood to a dazzling sprint through a bunch of dance manuals, this programme offers a chance to step into real places and imagined worlds. Each film describes its unique universe, by turns inquisitive; rigorous; moving; playful.

The programme has been curated by Gitta Wigro, a freelance dance film programmer and course leader for the on the Screendance MA at London Contemporary Dance School (maternity cover 2020-2021):

A Town with a Blue Hill / PungJeong.Gak

Director & choreographer Joowon Song | Republic of Korea | 2018 | 15mins 27secs
A poetic depiction of an invisible village under the desperate threat of urban regeneration.

BOOKANIMA

Director Shon Kim | Republic of Korea | 2020 | 7mins 31secs
This charming animation gives old books new cinematic life as it flicks through pages of different dance styles.

ZZZ

Director & choreographer CACTUSPILLOW / Seungjung Seong | Republic of Korea | 2019 | 6mins 37secs
A playful film based on the tricky challenge of catching a mosquito.

Plicker

Director Byungjun Kim | choreographer Dabin Seo | Republic of Korea | 2017 | 2mins 44secs
A beautiful representation of time and space visualised in movement and film.

White Cane

Director & choreographer Bö Lee | Republic of Korea / Kenya / Germany | 2017 | 8mins 17secs
This captivating film sees a man take a walk through a Kenyan market and create movement inspired by the experiences he encounters along the way.

Blue Breath

Director Jo Yoon-su | choreographer Kim Modeun | Republic of Korea | 2017 | 4mins 39secs
“I came to think about the existence of dust that can not be seen in space.” Using the medium of film to capture detail that stage performances cannot, the artist asks for compassion for what is forgotten.

Total Duration: approx. 45mins

Korean Dance Now — A documentary on Bora Kim’s striking performances

Online Documentary
Saturday 5 December 2020, 7:30pm. Available here until Thursday 9 January 2021

Get up close and personal with the choreographer known for her powerful and striking performances.

Weaving together the many aspects of Bora Kim’s life; rehearsals and the creation of digital work, her feminist activism, teaching at Korea National University of Arts and marriage to Jaeduk Kim artistic director of Modern Table Dance Company. This documentary gives an access-all-area look at the choreographer’s multi-faceted and rich personal and professional experiences.

The film explores the artist’s process of adapting her live performance Somoo into a digital form due to the pandemic. It also follows the creation of her new online work The Body, Reset to Zero, which was presented at 2020 Sidance (Seoul International Dance Festival) on 6 November 2020.

Through interviews and clips of her spectacular work, we are invited into the world of Bora Kim where the only constant is change, and re-invention is essential in the ever-changing global situation.

Links:

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

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