A reunion of time, space and movement

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Jul 23, 2014 - 19:38
  • Updated : Jul 23, 2014 - 19:38
More than 30 years have passed since first-generation dancers Lee Jung-hee, Nam Jung-ho and Ahn Shin-hee performed the then post-modern interpretive dance production of “Love of Space” for the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company.

Now decades later, the company is revisiting its past choreography and has invited the three original dancers to retrace their movements in their latest production “Roundabout Space,” which will be staged at the Korea Performing Arts Center on July 25 and 26.

Although the resurrected dance piece has been revamped and modernized to meet the current generation’s standards, the emotions behind the movements have remained unscathed. 
Scenes from the contemporary dance production “Roundabout Space.” (Korea National Contemporary Dance Company)

“I can’t believe it has been more than 30 years since I last performed this choreography,” said Nam during a press rehearsal on Tuesday. “My mind may have forgotten a few things over the years, but my body still remembers all of the movements.”

“Roundabout Space” is separated into distinctive one-person-show chapters and is one of those subjectively interpretative dance pieces that is almost impossible to fully comprehend ― which is why each dancer briefly explains the meanings behind her movements during the performances to help the audience understand the personal components.

Whether it’s frantically running across the stage and suddenly curling up in the fetal position, or pulling one’s hair to haunting horror film-like music, the dynamic performances are not only meant to awaken the dancer’s past movements, but also to question the notions behind the distinctions between contemporary and modern dance.

“We are often asked how we describe the kind of dances we perform,” says Ahn. “So this is one of the ideas we are proposing through this production ... how to define the pieces we performed decades ago and will be performing again according to today’s standards.”

The dancers-turned-instructors are certainly no longer in their dancing prime, struggling at times to catch their breath and unable to maintain still positions without their legs beginning to shake. However, it is the physical struggles of the veteran dancers ― ranging in age from 57 to 67 ― that adds life and character to the pieces.

“Gosh, I remember back then I would dance for 30 minutes straight, and now after only five minutes, I’m like this,” Nam said as she breathed heavily.

“It’s hard to believe that after all these years, performing this piece still brings tears to my eyes,” added Lee, who turned emotional after her performance ended.

Tickets to the upcoming “Roundabout Space” contemporary dance performances are 30,000 won and can be purchased online at various ticket-selling outlets. For more information visit, www.kncdc.kr.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)