Hallyu, or the Korean wave, is entering a new phase in its development as Korea’s performing arts are set to attract global fans to local theaters this weekend.
“Korea in Motion” festival, the country’s largest non-verbal performance festival, kicks off Saturday with an opening ceremony at the National Museum in Yongsan-gu, Seoul.
The 5th annual event, organized by Korea Tourism Organization in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, is set to attract tens of thousands of tourists to the city during the 16-day event, according to the KTO.
The aim of the festival is to attract more foreign tourists to spend time here by staging performances designed to break through language and cultural barriers with music, dance and physical comedy, the organization said.
This year’s fest introduces 14 renowned non-verbal performances from home and abroad including NANTA, Jump and Kim Duk-soo’s traditional performing arts, Drum Cat Concert and Battle B-boy.
“We believe our popular performances have the potential to become a tourist attraction,” said Seung Kyung-ja, director KTO’s exhibition and event department.
According to Seung, since the festival began four years ago, the number of tourists coming to watch local performances has been growing in leaps, reaching a milestone of more than 13,000 viewers last year.
This year, the KTO expects more than 15,000 audience members from abroad as well as up to 100,000 local fans to turn up for the festival.
“Some Japanese travel agencies have started to organize trips for our fest. I believe it is now becoming a new hallyu trend. It is also helping to promote the local performances.”
From Oct. 16-31, 14 world-class non-verbal performances will be on stages across the city, including the National Museum of Korea Plaza and Daehangno’s Marronnie Park.
If you have not yet seen it, NANTA is one to look out for. Since its introduction in 1997, the show that conveys the story of four chefs without dialogue but through the rhythmic banging of knives, pots and pans, has achieved great international success, having been performed on Broadway and toured around the world.
|NANTA Korea Tourism Organization|
Drum cat is the first percussion team, consisting of only women. Beautiful performers in tight catsuits dancing to a heart-pounding drum beat offer an exciting 2-hour show.
|DRUM CAT concert- “Free Your Soul!”|
Jump, the first in the martial arts performance genre, is also a great choice. It is a non-verbal performance based on the comic drama of an extraordinary family, featuring a mixture of dazzling acrobatics and dynamic martial arts including taekwondo and taekkyeon.
Other special shows include the award-winning traditional Korean productions Legend of Flower and Battle B-boy.
To attract more visitors, the KTO offers special deals Friday to Sunday during the festival period when audiences can enjoy selected performances for 10,000 won ($10).
Also, some selected events will be performed at open stages in Marronnier Park in Daehangno and Plaza of National Museum of Korea every weekend during the fest.
The Korea Tourism Organization has set a goal of attracting 10 million visitors by 2012. Last year, it reached a record 7.8 million inbound travelers. The KTO expects the “Korean in Motion” events to help reach this target.
For further details, contact the KTO at (070) 7663-0881 or visit www.koreainmotion.com.
By Oh Kyu-wook (email@example.com)