“Two in Two”: Kim Ji-young and Kim Joo-won, two of the most celebrated ballerinas in Korea, will collaborate onstage for the upcoming restaging of choreographer Ahn Sung-soo and fashion designer Jung Kuho’s 2000 piece “Two in Two.” The piece is a mix of tango and flamenco, as well as ballet and contemporary. Joining the two Kims are dancer and choreographer Kim Bo-ram, who was a backup dancer for pop singers Uhm Jung-hwa, Koyote and Lee Jung-hyun from 2000 to 2007, and Jang Kyung-min, who also worked as a backup dancer for pop stars before switching to contemporary dance in 2008. “Two in Two” runs from March 6 to 7 at the Seoul Arts Center in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 40,000 won. For more information, call (02) 580-1300 or 1544-1555.
“La Bayadere”: The Korean National Ballet is presenting “La Bayadere,” an 1877 piece choreographed by Marius Petipa to the music of Ludwig Minkus. Set in India, the ballet first features a passionate romance between temple dancer Nikiya and young warrior Solor. It eventually turns into a tragedy as the High Brahmin, who has fallen for Nikiya, and Gamzatthi, the ruler’s daughter, herself desperate to marry Solor, make plans to break them apart. “La Bayadere” is the first performance the troupe is presenting after welcoming its new artistic director and famed ballerina Kang Sue-jin. The show will be staged in Seoul in March; finalized dates and casting will be announced later. For inquires, call (02) 587-6181.
“Full Moon” by Pina Bausch: It’s been almost five years since Germany’s legendary choreographer Pina Bausch died, but her works are still as popular as ever. Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal is returning to Seoul this year with her 2006 work “Vollmond (Full Moon).” The troupe last performed in Korea in 2010. The dance is well-known for using a giant rock and deep water that take up a large part of the stage, while its themes include the celebration of life as well as its dangers and joys. “Full Moon” runs from March 28 to 31 at LG Arts Center in Yeoksam-dong, southern Seoul. Tickets range from 40,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, visit www.lgart.com.
|A scene from Universal Ballet Company’s signature performance “Onegin.” (UBC)|
“Thank You!: The 30th Anniversary Special Gala”: Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Korea’s Universal Ballet Company presents a special gala in February. Titled “Thank You!,” the program consists of scenes from some of the troupe’s most successful repertoires including “Giselle,” “La Bayadere,” “Onegin,” “Sleeping Beauty” and “Don Quixote.” Along with the company’s principal dancers, including Hwang Hye-min and Uhm Jae-yong, prominent Korean-born dancers who dance for overseas troupes ― Seo Hee of the American Ballet Theatre and Kang Hyo-jung of the Stuttgart Ballet ― will visit Seoul to join the gala. “Thank You!: The 30th Anniversary Special Gala” runs from Feb. 21 to 23 at Seoul Arts Center’s Opera Theater in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. For more information, visit www.universalballet.com
“Seopyeonje”: A musical adaptation of late author Lee Cheong-jun’s celebrated novel of the same title, “Seopeyeonje” is back for another run in Seoul. The musical tells the poignant tale of “pansori” singers trying to make a living in the modern world by performing their traditional vocal and percussion music. The show’s debut in 2011 received highly acclaimed reviews, sweeping five prizes at the 2011 The Musical Awards. Popular pansori singer Lee Ja-ram and musical actress Cha Ji-yeon share the leading role of Song-hwa, while Korean-American actor Michael Lee and actor Song Yong-jin star as Dong-ho, Song-hwa’s love interest. The show will run from March 20 to May 11 at Universal Art Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 50,000 won to 110,000 won. For tickets and information, call 1577-3363.
“Sheer Madness”: The Korean adaptation of the popular German play “Sheer Madness” is back for its second run in Seoul. Premiered in 1963, the play takes place in a hair salon owned by a gay hairdresser named George. After he and his flirty assistant Suji welcome two customers, one a wealthy housewife and other an antiques dealer, the landlady of the shop is murdered upstairs. The audience is asked to participate in the process of solving the case, trying to figure out who the murderer is among the four in the salon. “Sheer Madness” is currently on an open run at Daehangno Culture Space Feeling 2 in Hyehwa-dong, Seoul. All tickets cost 30,000 won. For more information, call (02) 744-4334.
“Still Life” (Jeongmulhwa): Award-winning Japanese playwright of Korean descent Miri Yu’s early work “Still Life” will be performed in the Korean language in Seoul this month. The play revolves around five high school girls who form a literary club to share their thoughts about life, writing and friendship. One of the girls, Nanako, constantly thinks about the meaning of death and the afterlife. Yu wrote the play when she was in her early 20s and directed the stage production herself. “Still Life,” runs from Feb. 14 to March 16 at Daehangno Arts Theater in Seoul. All tickets cost 25,000 won. For more information, call (02) 764-7462.
“The Secret Rapture”: Actress Choo Sang-mi is returning to the stage after a five-year hiatus, with a Korean rendition of “The Secret Rapture,” a 1988 British play by David Hare. It is the first time that the play is being performed in Korea. In the show, Choo plays Isobel, who runs a small graphic design company with her boyfriend, Irwin. She is forced to reunite with her selfish sister Marion, a vice environment minister, when their father dies. The sisters are left to decide what to do with Katherine, their alcoholic and mentally unstable stepmother. “The Secret Rapture” runs from Feb. 7 to March 2 at Dongsoong Arts Center in Seoul. For more information, call 1600-8523.
“Ghost the Musical”: The Korean production of “Ghost the Musical” is being performed in Seoul. The show is an adaptation of the mega-hit 1990 romantic fantasy-thriller film “Ghost,” starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, which was also hugely popular in Korea. The musical had its world premiere in Manchester, England, in 2011, and was also performed on Broadway in 2012. The current Korean production is the first in Asia. It tells the story of Molly, a grieving young woman in danger, and the ghost of her murdered boyfriend Sam, who tries to save her with the help of a wacky psychic. The current run stars some of the most popular musical and TV stars in the country, including Joo Won, Ivy and Park Ji-yeon. “Ghost the Musical” runs until June at D-Cube Arts Center in Seoul. Tickets range from 60,000 won to 130,000 won. For more information, call (02) 557-1987.
|Tang Citron by Kang Yo-bae (Hakgojae Gallery)|
“Kang Yo-bae Drawings: 1985-2014”: Drawings and sketches by Jeju-based artist Kang Yo-bae are being showcased at Hakgojae Gallery until March 30. The art works that he has created in conte, charcoal and pastel over the past 30 years portray the landscape of Jejudo Island in rough texture. Kang has largely depicted the distinctive characteristics of the island, such as its fickle weather, clear seasonal changes and the various colors of the sea there. The gallery is in Samcheong-ro, Jongno, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 720-1524~6.
“6-8”: Artworks have escaped the spaces and hours of a regular exhibition at ArtSonje Center in Seoul’s Jongno-gu. In unlikely places, like the rear door of the formal exhibition space, a utility room and the rooftop, installation artworks are being displayed from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Finding the artworks feels like a treasure hunt as they are placed in inconspicuous spots inside the building, and a museum map guides viewers to the location of each one. If they don’t concentrate on the map, they may miss some of them. The exhibition is open from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. until March 29. It is closed on Mondays. Admission is free. For more information, call (02) 733-8945, or visit www.artsonje.org
“The Artistic Spirits of Modern Artists on Paper”: An extensive collection of paintings and drawings on paper by acclaimed modern Korean artists is on view at Gallery Hyundai, shedding light on one of the oldest and most common art mediums ― paper. The showcase of 132 works by 30 artists highlights the significance of paper in the history of Korean art. Works on show include those using diverse media such as pencils, inks, watercolors and painting markers. Especially notable are Kim Whanki’s gouache paintings on paper, which have been as highly praised as his oil canvas paintings for their distinct color combinations and composition. The exhibition runs until March 9 at Gallery Hyundai, Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 2287-3500.
“Julian Opie”: Kukje Gallery presents a solo exhibition of Julian Opie featuring some of his new works portraying the lifestyles of pedestrians in Seoul. The new works, results of his observations of people walking by on the streets of the capital city, will reveal his signature style of depicting people in bold colors and outlining them prominently in black. The works on display are paintings, sculptures and pieces made using light-emitting diodes. The exhibition runs from Feb. 13 to March 23 at Kukje Gallery in Samcheong-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul. For more information, call (02) 735-8449.
“Park Soo-keun Retrospective”: As this year marks the centennial of artist Park Soo-keun, a retrospective seeks to revive public interest in the master painter. The exhibition is being held at the Gana Insa Art Center in Insa-dong, a major Seoul tourist destination lined with antique shops, from Jan. 17 to March 16. The retrospective will feature about 120 works by Park, including 90 oil paintings, watercolor paintings and 30 sketches on loan from private collectors. Its focus is on unveiling works of his that haven’t been shown in previous exhibitions. For more information, call (02) 720-1020, or visit www.ganaart.com
Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Led by rising star conductor Robin Ticciati, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra will be coming to Korea and performing with pianist Maria Joao Pires, who received rave reviews for her collaboration with the London Symphony Orchestra in 2013. The program opens with Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides,” Schumann’s piano concerto featuring soloist Maria Joao Pires and concludes with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. The concert is on Feb. 23 at Seongnam Arts Center. Tickets are priced at 80,000 won for the R section and 40,000 won for the A section. For more information, call (031) 783-8000.
London Symphony Orchestra: For the ninth time, London Symphony Orchestra will be playing in Korea, this time with conductor Daniel Harding. It will hold two concerts at Seoul Arts Center on March 10 and 11. The first concert will feature works by Mussorgsky, Stravinsky and Schubert. For the second one, the orchestra will play Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2, with soloist Kim Sun-wook, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, “Titan.” Ticket prices range from 60,000 won-300,000 won. For more information, call (02) 599-5743.
|A poster for Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra’s upcoming concert with conductor Eliahu Inbal and cellist Isang Enders Seoul (Philharmonic Orchestra)|
“Shostakovich by Inbal”: Israeli conductor Eliahu Inbal will lead Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra in its performance of Russian composer Dimitry Shostakovich’ works at Seoul Arts Center on March 28. The program consists of Swiss composer Ernest Bloch’s Schelomo, better known as Hebraic Rhapsody, featuring Korean-German Cellist Isang Enders as soloist and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 11 in G minor. Tickets start from 10,000 won. For more information, call 1588-1210.
Evgeny Kissin Recital: Child prodigy-turned-master pianist Evgeny Kissin will perform at Seoul Arts Center on March 30, presenting Schubert’s Piano Sonata No. 17 in D Major, Scriabin’s Sonata No. 2 in G Sharp Minor and “Four Sea Interludes” from Benjamin Britten’s “Peter Grimes.” The pianist started his professional musical training at 6, entering the Gnessin State Musical College for Gifted Children, made his debut featuring Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D Minor with the Ulyanovsk Symphony Orchestra, and became an international sensation at 12 when he played and recorded Chopin piano concertos with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. Kissin is also famous for obliging concertgoers, with his 2006 and 2008 concerts going on until after 11 p.m. because of dozens of encore performances. For more information, call 1544-1555 or (02) 580-1300.
|Saebyeol Oreum, the venue of the Jeju Fire Festival, is set on fire during the festival in 2013. (Yonhap)|
“2014 Jeju Fire Festival”: Participants in the festival will set fire to dry grass on a volcanic hill. Burning dry grass on embankments around fields to be tilled is an age-old Korean folk activity, a rite reflecting farmers’ wish to burn the bad luck of last year and usher in good luck for the New Year. The award-winning festival in its 17th year will take place on Saebyeol Oreum, a volcanic hill in Aeywol-eup on Jejudo Island, from March 7-9. The burning of grass will take place on March 9 from 7:50 p.m. to 8:10 p.m. The festival presents other folk activities such as a tug of war, as well as horse riding and the opportunity to taste diverse local dishes. For more information, visit www.buriburi.go.kr
“Yangpyeong Strawberry Festival”: Visitors are invited to pick as many strawberries as their baskets can hold at more than 10 strawberry farms in Yangpyeong, northern Gyeonggi Province. The strawberry festival, to be held from Feb. 25 to May 31, also offers diverse strawberry foods such as strawberry rice cakes, sauce and jams. Those wishing to participate in the festival can choose a strawberry farm and book their trip at the chosen farm in advance online at festival.ypnadri.com. A single trip to a strawberry farm costs 26,000 won. Participants can spend about five hours at the farm picking strawberries and trying out various foods made with strawberries. For more information, call (031) 774-5427, 5431.
“International Snow Crab Festival”: Uljin, famous for snow crab, holds an annual crab festival during the snow crab season from late winter to early spring. The International Snow Crab Festival will take place at the small port of Hupo from Feb. 28 to March 3. The festival will feature a variety of hands-on experiences such as catching crabs, removing crabs from crab nets and other activities. Various local foods will be served along with steamed snow crabs. For more information, visit ujcrab.uljin.go.kr (Korean only) or call (054) 789-6851.
“Anseong Ice Fishing Festival”: The festival offers a variety of winter activities including ice fishing, ice or snow sledding and folk games on the Gwanghyewon Reservoir in Anseong, Gyeonggi Province. Organizers have set up a small pool of fish that children can catch using child-friendly fishing tools. With its snow-covered trees, the reservoir is also a good site for photos. Food stalls provide hot food and local delicacies. The festival hours are from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is 5,000 won per person, and free for children under 6. The festival runs until March 3. For more information, call (031) 674-4528 or visit dmfestival.co.kr.
|John Mayer will hold his first concert in Korea at Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul on May 6. (John Mayer Facebook)|
“Hyundai Culture Project 14 John Mayer”: Multiple Grammy Award-winning America pop-folk singer John Mayer will be putting on his first concert in Korea since he made his musical debut more than 10 years ago. Mayer’s first album “Room for Squares,” released in 2001 and featuring a number of hit singles including “No Such Thing,” “Why Georgia” and “Your Body Is a Wonderland,” snagged Mayer his first Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 2003. The upcoming concert event is the 14th installment of the Hyundai Card Culture Project series, which has brought acts such as The Killers, Keane, John Legend, Ke$ha, Jason Mraz and many others. Mayer will perform on May 6 at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul. Ticket prices are listed between 110,000 won and 132,000 won, with a special “couple package” at 300,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com
“Brown Eyed Soul 4th Album Anniversary Concert”: The four-member R&B ensemble Brown Eyed Soul will hold two solo concerts in Seoul on the heels of their comeback and latest release, “Thank Your Soul.” The album was released in December to mark the 10th anniversary of Brown Eyed Soul’s debut. The quintet released its first album, “Soul Free,” in September 2003, and is one of the few local R&B groups that pride themselves on their American-style approach to soul music. The upcoming concerts will be held at Olympic Stadium in Seoul on Feb. 22 and 23. Tickets prices range from 88,000 won to 132,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com
“Travis Live in Seoul”: Scottish rock band Travis is making its return to Korea, putting on its first solo concert in Seoul in five years. Led by Fran Healy on vocals, the band formed in the early 1990s in Glasgow; they made a name for themselves for being some of the most well-respected musicians from the U.K. Although Travis has always seemed to float below the radar, without having joined the ranks of the most iconic rock bands, the rockers are often credited with having influenced major British bands such as Coldplay and Keane. Travis will perform its upcoming solo concert at Olympic Hall at Seoul Olympic Park on March 25. Tickets range from 70,000 won to 120,000 won. For more information, call (02) 3141-3488 or visit www.interpark.com