‘Traces of Black Sand,’ choreography looks at life, memories

By Shim Woo-hyun
  • Published : Oct 13, 2019 - 17:19
  • Updated : Oct 13, 2019 - 17:19

The Korea National Contemporary Dance Company will perform a new production that fuses contemporary dance with traditional Korean music at Seoul Arts Center CJ Towol Theater from Nov 1-3.

The Korea National Contemporary Dance Company’s dancers perform during a rehearsal for “Traces of Black Sand.” (KNCDC)

“Traces of Black Sand” is a collaboration between composer Ra Ye-song and KNCDC Artistic Director Ahn Sung-soo. The two have worked together on contemporary dance and traditional sounds since the 2017 KNCDC production of “Music for Rites - The Afterimages of the Rose.”

“‘Traces of memory’ was the topic that composer Ra and I first worked on. I came up with the image of black stone, and composer Ra has developed the image into black sand,” Ahn said in a statement introducing the latest work.

Ahn’s delicate calibration of movements will be in tune with the minimalist score by Ra, which employs traditional Korean instruments exclusively.

Ahn began working early this year with Ra’s score, visualizing the sounds and combining the movements into an hourlong contemporary piece performed by 14 dancers.

Ahn called the combination of traditional music and contemporary dance “unexpected magic that cannot come out without plans.”

In harmony with traditional sounds, Ahn’s choreography will attempt to feature the “inherent beauty” that our bodies carry, the artistic director added.

“I am one of many people who highly prize the beauty of our traditional culture,” Ahn said in the statement. 

The Korea National Contemporary Dance Company’s Artistic Director Ahn Sung-soo (KNCDC)

It is also a highly personal piece. “The work traces life, including my own. It is also about the memories I have made with dancers at the KNCDC over the last three years,” said Ahn, whose three-year tenure at the state dance company ends in December.

The KNCDC will hold a rehearsal on Oct. 24, which is open to the public. Reservations through the dance company’s official website are required.

“Traces of Black Sand” premiered at Municipal Theatre of Sao Paulo in Brazil in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Brazil-Korea ties from Oct. 4-5.

Meanwhile, the decision on the renewal of Ahn’s tenure will be made next month, according to company officials.

By Shim Woo-hyun (