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World to twirl about in Seoul

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Published : Sept. 28, 2011 - 21:02

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Over 50 dances from 17 countries to showcase in 14th Seoul International Dance Festival


A global dance festival kicks off in Seoul on Thursday, with perfect timing as the cool autumn breeze has urbanites looking for something fun to do indoors.

Organized by Seoul Section of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO, the 14th Seoul International Dance Festival brings together more than 52 dance companies from 17 countries including Germany, Italy, France, Japan, the U.S, Turkey and Finland. A total of 51 dances will be performed.

The festival takes place in various venues during its 18 day-run, including Hoam Art Hall and Sogang University’s Mary Hall in central Seoul, Seoul Arts Center’s Jayu Theater in southern Seoul and also open public spaces throughout Seoul.

“Feeling that ‘dance’ is rather a less sociable genre, we made it a point in this festival to increase its sociability and popularity,” said Lee Jong-ho, general artistic director of the festival, at a recent press conference.

In hopes of expanding the audience, SIDANCE launched a project called “Dancing City.” Under the slogan “Dance, It’s Hitting the City!” 12 Korean and international dance groups will perform unannounced in squares, parks, cafes and subway stations throughout Seoul during the festival period. Onlookers are free to participate.

Community Dance is another project SIDANCE ambitiously presents. Known to help produce positive effects in relationships, medical treatment and therapies when conducted among a certain community of people who share a collective social identity, Community Dance is a popular genre developed and well established in Western Europe and America.

At the festival, SIDANCE focuses on young people. Korea Arts & Culture Education Service and Korea Youth Work Agency, which developed community dance programs in 10 youth institutions in Seoul, hosts an “Imaginary School” which will introduce 10 works created by young people for their peers. 
A scene from “Eastern Europe Focus”(SIDANCE) A scene from “Eastern Europe Focus”(SIDANCE)
A scene from “Caza Azul- inspired by Frida Kahlo” A scene from “Caza Azul- inspired by Frida Kahlo”

The sold out opener “Casa Azul- inspired by Frida Kahlo” by Germany’s Donlon Dance Company-Ballett des Saarlandischen Staatstheaters, is definitely an eye-catcher.

As the title suggests, the piece depicts the passionate life, love and career of Frida Kahlo, a legendary Mexican artist. She lived a tragic life of having to go through 32 surgeries after a major car accident and having to bear the infidelity of her husband whom she deeply loved ― to the extent that she painted his portrait on her forehead. The performance takes place on Thursday and Friday at Sogang University’s Mary Hall.

Other notable works in the festival include “No. 8” by Tanzcompagnie Oldenburg from Germany which will take a philosophical look at the implications of the number 8, including as a symbol of circulation and eternity; “Eastern Europe Focus” presents unfamiliar dances from the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania; and “Across HipHop V” featuring Korean and German dancers brings street culture and contemporary dance together.

This year’s “Korean Dances Meet World Music,” an annual highlight at the festival, explores the deep sensibility of Irish music through Korean dance.

The 14th Seoul international Dance Festival runs from Sept. 29 to Oct. 16 at various venues throughout Seoul. Tickets vary for each performance. For more information, call (02) 3216-1185 or visit www.sidance.org.

By Park Min-young (claire@heraldcorp.com)