By Claire Lee
The title of Paulo Coelho’s popular 2003 novel “11 Minutes” refers to the duration of sex.
Being a story of a young Brazilian prostitute and her adventurous journey to find true love, the novel is an entertaining and almost-spiritual exploration of self-discovery, sexual awakening and personal growth.
“No one loses anyone, because no one owns anyone,” Maria, the novel’s protagonist, says in the book.
“That is the true experience of freedom: having the most important thing in the world without owning it.”
Partially inspired by the novel, the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company’s piece of the same title was premiered last week, featuring a total of five young dancers and choreographers.
Filled with whimsical humor as well as digging into the darker side of human nature, the dance is an interesting account of one’s discovery of self, their own wants and needs, and life as a journey.
|A scene from Korea National Contemporary Dance Company’s “11 Minutes.” (KNCDC)|
“11 Minutes,” however, does not solely focus on the sexual narrative of the original novel. It touches on a variety of themes, including prejudice, relationships, fears, shame, and contradictions.
Among the five dancers, Kim Bo-ram presented hilarious, often-lewd choreography, making the audience laugh out loud. His dance particularly focused on the law of attraction between men and women, often shallow and petty ― fused with shameless humor and quirky details.
The backup-dancer-turned choreographer who danced for pop singers Uhm Jung-hwa, Koyote and Lee Jung-hyun from 2000 to 2007, is known for his award-winning choreography as well as his somewhat kitschy, eccentric, and highly entertaining works that require the dancers to wear sunglasses.
For “11 Minutes,” the 30-year-old danced to his and the fellow artists’ choreography, wearing sunglasses.
Meanwhile, Choi Soo-jin presented a solo performance, featuring a woman’s lonesome journey of self discovery.
An intimate weaving of past and present, memory and contemporary, and dreams and lived reality, her dance consisted of loosely ballet-inspired choreography, Choi only wearing a Pointe shoe in one foot, while the other bare on the stage floor.
Ji Kyung-min’s performance was arguably the most poetic and emotionally-gripping work, featuring the raw emotions of a young boy ― Maria’s first love whom she had left behind in her hometown. The slow-paced choreography was almost self-destructive, yet strangely poised with delicate subtlety and nuance. Ji’s delivery of human vulnerability ― both physical and emotional ― and the fear of opening up was particularly moving and impressive, adding much poetic and philosophical substance into the piece.
The artists mostly danced to live jazz music performed by K-Jazz Trio. The characteristic of the music genre ― improvisation and intricate drum rhythms ― complemented the major theme of the dance, a singular, unrepeatable, rhythmic, and unpredictable journey called life.
“11 Minutes” is the first work that the troupe is staging after the appointment of its new director, Ahn Ae-soon.