KNCDC opens season with ‘Bul-Ssang’

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Feb 25, 2014 - 19:48
  • Updated : Feb 25, 2014 - 19:48
A scene from “Bul-Ssang.” (KCNDC)
The Korea National Contemporary Dance Company is opening its 2014 season with “Bul-Ssang,” a 2009 piece choreographed by the troupe’s artistic director Ahn Ae-soon.

The dance is known for its use of pop art Buddha statues and choreography that combines traditional dance and martial arts from different Asian countries including China, Japan, Korea and Mongolia.

It premiered at Seoul’s LG Arts Center in 2009, and was staged again at Hoam Art Hall in 2010. The piece was also featured at last year’s Art Summit Indonesia 2013 in Jakarta, and received a standing ovation.

KNCDC is scheduled to stage the piece at Theatre National de Chaillot ― one of the four national theaters in Paris ― in 2015, becoming the first Korean troupe to perform at the prestigious French venue.

The dance is known for its exploration of Asian traditions and their conflict with modernity and the West, with a lot of humor and twists in the choreography. It is one of the most famous pieces created by Ahn, who was appointed the troupe’s head last year. One of the most prominent figures in Korea’s dance scene, the 53-year-old is known for her work that uniquely blends Korean traditional dance and contemporary.

Under Ahn’s leadership, KNCDC, the only state-run troupe that specializes in contemporary dance, staged a number of unconventional pieces last year, including “11 Minutes,” a humorous, kitschy piece inspired by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho’s novel of the same title, and “Cross Cut,” in which dancers told their personal stories while performing and wearing microphones.

The upcoming run is the third time “Bul-Ssang” has been performed in Korea. Its title ― “Bul-Ssang” ― is a purposely misspelled version of “Bulsang,” which is Buddha statue in Korean. “Bulssang,” on the other hand, means pitiable.

“Bul-Ssang” runs from March 21-22 at Seoul Arts Center’s CJ Towol Theater in Seocho-dong, Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 50,000 won. For more information, visit www.kncdc.kr.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)