Artiklar från 2008 – till idag
Artiklar från 2008 – till idag
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA: Dance competitions and galas are mushrooming across the globe and the fare on offer can end up with rather too much of the same.
However, the Seoul International Dance Competition, celebrating its 12th anniversary this year, has a value added extra with the inclusion of an ethnic dance component.
This added spice to both the entries and the Gala but there was still plenty of ballet for the traditionalists.
Guest artists were predominantly from the Far East but a notable exception was Dmitry Zagrebin, currently first soloist with the Royal Swedish Ballet. He livened up the evening with a scintillating performance of that gala favourite, Gopak.
It is pure virtuoso fun and needs the man-size jump and exuberance that Zagrebin has in full measure.
Francesca Dugarte and GianCarlo Perez, a Venezuelan/ Cuban couple currently performing with Washington Ballet, danced a starry Le Corsaire with plenty of crowd pleasing leaps and whizzing fouettes.
They returned with a contemporary duet, Dreams of Marble by Annabelle Lopez Ochoa, that offered a much more interesting relationship.
Zagrebin also danced the Don Quixote grand pas unfortunately not with Minji Nam, his partner in Stockholm, as she is recovering from an accident. However he found in HyangGee Hong a very competent partner.
A little tentative in the opening, the duet came fully to life in the variations and coda which the audience loved.
The ballet training in Korea is of an exceptional high standard and this was admirably displayed by Hyemin Hwang, principal dancer with Universal Ballet in The Love of Chunhyang.
This also goes for SooBin Lee now dancing with Sofia National Opera and Ballet who danced Nikiya’s Act 1 solo from La Bayadère.
Both showed exquisite footwork and pure classical lines and were equally able to draw deep emotion from the characters.
From the Beijing Dance Academy came a team of ethnic dancers directed by Yuan Jia in a number rightly named, Mongolian Hero. Spinning and leaping, while accurately twirling hoops decorated with bright ribbons, they whooped with joy.
If Genghis Khan’s men had showed a similar attack it is easy to see why they conquered half the world. I was pleased that, for this evening at least, we were all on the same side.
Japanese traditional dance was honoured by two of the most distinguished practitioners of the art. Rankoh Fujima and Koyu Yoshimura gave a neat comic edge to Ayame which portrayed a couple engaged in a clandestine relationship sheltered by a parasol.
In contrast Masako Kudo and Keigo Fukuda from K Ballet Studio were bang up to date in their hugely entertaining duet, Prius, tumbling and spiralling in inventive street dance moves.
One of the joys of this competition is the category of creative ethnic dance. Across the spectrum of traditional Chinese, Korean and Japanese dance, choreographers are using elements of the movements, costumes and even themes and weaving them into the contemporary dance frame. The results are a blossoming of new ideas in a diverse range of expression.
Two of the winners, SooYun Park, tall and willowy had power and charisma that belied her fragile appearance and performed an intriguing work with existential overtones while WonKuk Shin played on comedy in a solo full of unexpected twists using circus elements in both the acrobatics and the clowning.
Ballet and contemporary dance are a post-war development in the Far East but dance is rooted in the culture from centuries back.
This region is already a powerhouse in the production of classical ballet dancers while the fusion with other dance forms is building a whole new creative concept and an exciting one to watch.
31 August 2015
All photos are © Seok In-cheol or © Choi Young-mo; courtesy SIDC
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