The Korea Herald


Fingers, miniature sets, and one’s greatest loves on screen

Belgium’s interdisciplinary performance ‘Kiss & Cry’ gets Korean premiere

By Claire Lee

Published : Jan. 26, 2014 - 19:29

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A scene from “Kiss & Cry” by Michele Anne De Mey & Jaco Van Dormael. (LG Arts Center) A scene from “Kiss & Cry” by Michele Anne De Mey & Jaco Van Dormael. (LG Arts Center)
Belgian choreographer and dancer Michele Anne De Mey has been with her partner, filmmaker Jaco Van Dormael, for the past 13 years, raising four children together.

Their highly ambitious, interdisciplinary performance “Kiss & Cry,” set for its Seoul premiere in March, is the couple’s first professional collaboration together. The result is an emotional account of one’s past, especially ex-lovers, which combines miniature sets, “finger dance,” film, text and theater.

The title of the show was taken from the “kiss and cry” zone, where figure skaters sit and wait for their scores to be announced after their performances. Skaters often kiss their coaches after a satisfying performance, while some break into tears after a poor one.

De Mey and Van Dormael’s piece tells the life of an old woman reminiscing on the five greatest loves of her life, including her “first and truest.” A skating rink is where one of her most cherished memories took place in the past. 

A scene from “Kiss & Cry” (LG Arts Center) A scene from “Kiss & Cry” (LG Arts Center)
“Kiss & Cry” premiered in Belgium in 2011, and received rave reviews from local critics there. It was then staged in France, Spain, Italy, Canada, Mexico and the U.S., among others, before it was set for its upcoming Seoul premiere. The show is recognized for its experimental yet romantic portrayal of its themes ― love and memories ― as well as its use of technology and blending of dance, film and theater.

As the piece begins, viewers see two dancers onstage, whose hands are “dancing” around miniature sets. On the screen viewers will see a film made in real time, featuring the hands as the main characters ― the old woman’s younger self and her lovers from the past. It is the fingers of the dancers that play the lovers, who ice skate, make love, and share all kinds of emotions ― fear, passion, and longing.

A Korean-language narration will be played throughout the piece, which was specially recorded in advance by popular actor Yoo Ji-tae for the Seoul run.

“Kiss & Cry” runs from March 6 to 9 at LG Arts Center in southern Seoul. Tickets range from 30,000 won to 70,000 won. For more information, call (02) 2005-0114.

By Claire Lee (