The Korea Herald


‘Enter at your own pleasure’: Sensation returns for round two

By Korea Herald

Published : Aug. 27, 2013 - 19:52

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Imagine a night filled with thumping house music, a creative theme, spectacular theatrics, high-flying acrobatics, mesmerizing lights and special effects, explosive fireworks and tens of thousands of music lovers gathering to dance the night away.

This is “Sensation,” an annual one-day, all-night indoor dance party event, and it is returning to Seoul.

The Sensation event is difficult to describe and capture all in one breath as it combines so many different elements of music and theater to create an atmosphere of excitement. It is a spectacle in which the music needs not only be heard, but be seen. 
Thom Bartelse, marketing manager of Sensation, poses at the Heineken office in Seoul on Aug. 22. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald) Thom Bartelse, marketing manager of Sensation, poses at the Heineken office in Seoul on Aug. 22. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)

“The best way I know how to describe it is by calling it the Cirque du Soleil of dance,” said Thom Bartelse, the marketing manager of Sensation. “It is the biggest club on Earth.”

The show was first developed in Amsterdam by bothers Duncan and Miles Stutterheim in 2000 and was exclusively performed in the city. However, the brothers always dreamed of creating a big, great dance party that could be enjoyed around the globe.

Early Sensation events were simple music festivals, but they proved to be unsuccessful. The brothers knew they had to think outside the box and go beyond just having a stage and a DJ. The two decided to have one stage in the center of the venue and introduce more performance elements into the event, including acrobats and a thought-out storyline.

“The brothers became pioneers in the concept of having just a center stage,” he said. “What makes us different from other EDM shows like UMF is that we don’t have multiple stages where you can just roam to a different area if you don’t enjoy the show. This means we really focus on the performance aspects of our show, which is why you really can’t compare other shows to Sensation.”

Sensation has now been brought all over the world to more than 30 countries and has attracted more than 2 million people.

“Sensation is an event that was born in Amsterdam and raised by the world,” said Jan Arie Smit, general manager of Heineken Korea, a sponsor of the upcoming event.

Last year Sensation came to Korea for the first time and presented the audience with the theme “Ocean of White.” This year’s event marks the 101st show and will introduce the storyline of the “Wicked Wonderland,” a fairytale for adults.

“It’s a story about a girl who goes on a mythical journey in search of liberation. … Picture the naughty sister of Alice,” said Bartelse. “This night is all about letting go and freeing your inhibitions, so enter at your own pleasure.”

Like all the past Sensation shows, the upcoming event will have a strict all-white dress code. The white theme was first set in place in commemoration of founder Miles Stutterheim who died in 2001 and is meant to symbolize the celebration of his life.

This year’s Sensation will be held on Nov. 30 at KINTEX in Ilsan, Gyeonggi Province, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online at Interpark with prices ranging from 99,000 won to 200,000 won. VIP packages are also available.

By Julie Jackson (