|A scene from Universal Ballet Company’s “This is Modern.” (UBC)|
After “Swan Lake” and “Onegin,” leading ballet company Universal Ballet is presenting something a little different this month: they call the piece “This is Modern.”
The piece is a collection of four different modern ballets: “Black Cake,” by Dutch choreographer Hans Van Manen, Spanish dancer and choreographer Nacho Duato’s “Duende” and Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian’s “Petite Mort” and “Sechs Tanze.”
Compared to classical ballet, the show is said to highlight the different dance styles and flair of each dancer.
“Black Cake” is a comical piece that portrays a lavish birthday party attended by high class socialites who gradually get drunk. The Dutch piece had its Asian premiere in Seoul in 2008, performed by the Universal Ballet Company. The piece is a hilarious and insightful expose on human relationships, which are often explored in Manen’s works.
Duato’s work “Duende,” on the other hand, features scores by Claude Debussy, specifically the Pastorale and Finale of the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, composed in 1915. The Spanish artist is said to have been fascinated by the composer’s ability to write music inspired by nature’s sounds. Universal Ballet first performed the piece in 2005.
Also included in the performance is Kylian’s 1991 “Petite Mort.” Kylian created the piece for the 1991 Salzburg Festival on the second centenary of Mozart’s death. UBC first performed the piece in Korea in 2011, becoming the first and only local troupe to do so.
“Petite Mort,” which literally translates to “little death” in English, is an idiom and metaphor for orgasm in French and Arabic. Using foils and petticoat-like objects, some 12 male and female dancers express themes of beauty, sexuality, a sense of attraction and vulnerability through Mozart’s Piano Concertos.
“This is Modern” runs from Oct. 24-27 at Seoul Arts Center’s CJ Towol Theater. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)