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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

A Festival of Korean Dance tours for the first time

  • The annual festival will return for its sixth year to The Place and tour shows to The Lowry, Warwick Arts Centre and The Dance Space

  • Choreographers and companies returning to the festival include Korea National Contemporary Dance Company, Sung Im Her, Art Project BORA and Company SIGA

24 April – 11 May

@KCCUK | @ThePlaceLondon | @KAMS | #KDanceFest

“very beautiful”  Observer (on Immixture, Korea National Contemporary Dance Company)

“mesmeric… a breathtaking finale”  Morning Star (on ZERO, Company SIGA)

“a pleasure… taut and strong”  Guardian (on W.A.Y, Sung Im Her)

The annual Festival of Korean Dance will be returning to The Place for its sixth year in April, and for the first time tours shows nationally to venues in Salford, Coventry and Brighton. Five companies will be performing in the festival in a series of three programmes of work, with returning favourites including Korea National Contemporary Dance Company – who headlined the very first festival – choreographer Sung Im Her, Art Project BORA and Company SIGA. The Place, Korean Cultural Centre UK and the Korea Arts Management Service are delighted to add The Lowry, Warwick Arts Centre and South East Dance to their continuing partnership.

Opening the festival at The Lowry (24 April) before appearing at The Place (28 – 29 April), Korea National Contemporary Dance Company will present a new double bill of work, each featuring six dancers: Mechanism by Jaeyoung Lee and Everything Falls Dramatic by Sung Im Her. Jaeyoung Lee’s new work plays with our understanding of what ‘human interaction’ means through a rhythmic score and an intense pattern or intricate synchronised movement. Meanwhile, the new work from Korean trained, London-based Sung Im Her is a meditation on fragility, resilience, loneliness and solidarity. Following the 2021 Festival’s W.A.Y. (Rework), she is once again collaborating with Belgian composer Husk Husk.

They will be followed by a double bill from Choi X Kang Project and Art Project BORA at The Place (3 May). A Complementary Set_Disappearing with an Impact by Choi X Kang Project is an optical illusion, combining live performance with recorded footage to distort perceptions of past and present, calling into question what’s disappeared and what exists. The new work is the third in a series which started with Complement, which premiered at the Festival in 2019. From Art Project BORA, Byeol Yang develops forms from the state of the body as a starting point to discussing the world around us. In the 2022 Festival, Art Project BORA dismantled a piano live onstage in MUAK.

Also on 3 May, the final programme is a triple bill from Company SIGA and Howool Baek, making her UK premiere, which will open at Warwick Arts Centre before performances at The Lowry (6 May), The Place (9 May) and closes the festival at The Dance Space as part of Brighton Festival (11 May). Howool Baek presents two pieces of work: Foreign Body, a short film about bodies that do not fit within the framework of society are treated as foreign bodies and ultimately rejected, and Did U Hear, a dance interpretation of rapper 2PAC’s poem The rose that grew from concrete. Howool Baek has toured internationally, winning awards in Spain, Germany and Poland. From Company SIGA, Rush is about pausing to listen to your own rhythms of your body,and realising that one man’s slow is another man’s rush. For the 2021 Festival, Company SIGA presented a double bill of Equilibrium and ZERO.

Eddie Nixon, Artistic Director of The Place said, “We are delighted to be working with our friends at The Lowry, Warwick Arts Centre & The Dance Space to share these exceptional shows from Korea with more people across the UK. Thanks to our partnership with Korean Cultural Centre UK and the Korea Arts Management Service we are now in our sixth year of profiling Korean dance in London and it continues to be a pleasure to showcase such eclectic and innovative work – we can’t wait for this year’s programme.”

Sungeun Kim, Interim Director of the Korean Cultural Centre UK, said “This year, we are delighted to mark the 140th anniversary of friendship between the UK and Korea and continue to host the Korean dance festival for 6 years in partnership with The Place and Korea Arts Management Service. We believe that the festival has contributed to the enhancement of cultural diversity and exchange between the two countries. To reach out to more UK audiences, we have launched a UK tour this year and we are delighted to have The Lowry, Warwick Arts Centre and The Dance Space on board.”

Young Ho Moon, President of the Korea Arts Management Service, said “We congratulate A Festival of Korean Dance as they begin their 6th year in the capital and embark upon a stunning new national tour. It has been a pleasure working with the festival and helping them to bring so many talented artists to the attention of UK audiences including Art Project BORA, Company SIGA, and the Choi X Kang Project who were selected by the Performing Arts Market in Seoul(PAMS) last year. We look forward to continuing to work with the Place and the Korean Cultural Centre UK on the festival.

Listings information

The Lowry, Salford | 0843 208 6010

Pier 8, The Quays, Salford, Manchester, Greater Manchester M50 3AZ

The Place, London | 020 7121 1100

The Place, 17 Duke’s Rd, London, WC1H 9PY

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry | 024 7652 4524

University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL

The Dance Space, Brighton |

2 Market St, Circus St, Brighton BN2 9AS

KNCDC double bill: Mechanism and Everything Falls Dramatic

24 April The Lowry, 7.30pm, £16-£14

28 - 29 April The Place, 7.30pm, £18-£14


On a bright white stage six dancers build up an intense pattern of intricate synchronised movement. Shifting between the parts of a machine, members of a tribe, and solitary individuals, Mechanism plays with our understanding of what ‘human interaction’ means. The pulsating rhythmic score by MC Bluechan builds up the tension, growing in intensity to propel Mechanism’s club-like joyous finale. Mechanism is choreographed by leading choreographer Jaeyoung Lee, a founder members of the SIGA Dance collective.

Choreographer Jaeyoung Lee

Dancers Jaeyoung Lee, Hyuk Kwon, Soyeon Kim, Heajin Kim, Hyelim Byeun, Jinyoung Yang

Music Composer Bluechan

Lighting Designer Jaeeok Kim

Costume Designer Jinhee Lee

Costume Design Assistant Suyeon Park

Everything Falls Dramatic

When things fall, do they disappear? Is falling death? Everything Falls Dramatic by Sung Im Her offers a powerful and emotional meditation on our sense of fragility, resilience, loneliness and solidarity. Six dancers move sinuously through contrasting scenes of free and casual abandon, defiant energy or loving care. Everything Falls Dramatic features a dramatic set design and a richly layered soundscore by electro-acoustic duo HuskHusk. Everything Falls Dramatic features the choreographer Sung Im Her, renowned in Europe as a performer with companies like Ballet C de la B and Needcompany.

Choreographer Sung Im Her

Dancers Sung Im Her, Lee Sejoon, Cho Junhong, Jo Hyundo, Choi Seungmin, Ha Jihye

Music Composer Husk Husk

Lighting Designer Younguk Lee Dramaturg Yoonhee Yang

Costume Designer Sunyeol Im Rehearsal Director Jihye Ha

Production Stage Manager Doyup Lee Lighting Director Younguk Lee

Double Bill: A Complementary Set_Disappearing with an Impact and Byeol Yang

3 May The Place, 7.30pm, £18 - £14

A Complementary Set_Disappearing with an Impact

A Complementary Set_Disappearing with an Impact by Choi X Kang Project combines live performance with footage recorded on stage to create an optical illusion in the space between what is seen and unseen. Perceptions of past and present are distorted, sound turns into noise and loses its power to exist as music, as the performers original movements get transformed.

As this process unfolds, the audience is exposed to a fascinating illusion. Interactions between what’s seen and what’s not seen, past and present, call into question what’s disappeared and what exists.

Byeol Yang

Every organism, despite some similarities, has its distinct formation. The unforeseen pandemic changes our bodies through the experience and memories of instability. In these strange times that we cannot avoid, how do forms that are different from what is normal appear in ourselves? By developing forms from the state of the body, Byeol Yang by Art Project BORA explores how it can be the starting point in discussing the world around us.

Kontemporary Korea: A Triple-Bill of K:Dance: Foreign Body, Did U Hear, and Rush

3 May Warwick Arts Centre, 7.45pm, £16 - £14

6 May The Lowry, 8pm, £14 - £12

9 May The Place, 7.30pm, £18 - £14

11 May The Dance Space, Brighton Festival, 7.30pm, £12 - £10

Foreign Body

Foreign Body is a short film about how bodies that do not fit within the framework of society are treated as foreign bodies and ultimately rejected.

But can only bodies excluded and alienated as foreign bodies be called foreign bodies? In her short film production Foreign Body, the choreographer Howool Baek digitally deals with foreignness in our society. In everyday places in the Berlin Metropolis, the clones negotiate exclusion, power and prejudice. The 10 episodes sensitively tell of strange encounters and familiar group dynamics that are thought-provoking in the increasingly alienated society in which we live. Anyone could be a foreign body - anywhere.

Did U Hear

Did U Hear by Howool Baek is the body interpretation of the poem "The rose that grew from concrete", written by rapper 2PAC. It exposes a process of deconstruction of the body into individual life. And discovers various shapes of body images through harmonious connection and extension. When the fragmented bodies have their own voices and when they build an image, the body has its own story of poem. It's the work that is remembered as image and sensory details. In addition to what's visually depicted on the stage, the sound delivers a physical experience through the surround sound system.

Choreographer Howool Baek

Composition and live music: Matthias Erian


Rush by Company Siga is about pausing to listen to the needs of the inner self to gain peace in existing as we are. Slow as it may be, this is a rush at my own speed. Slow as it may be, a rush with sincerity. There are some days, when I come to my senses and all of a sudden realise that I've been living without being aware of where I am standing and what I am doing. Many people, who live in present day society, only look ahead. They believe going one or two steps ahead of everyone else is the only way to be on the fast track to success. Now, we should listen attentively to our inner self. So that we may exist as we are. So that I don't go against the stream of my own world because of other people. I intend to leave myself as it is, so that I can genuinely go my own way - like a ripple spreading out serenely.

Choreographer Hyuk Kwon

Dancers Hyuk Kwon, Jingyoung Yang

Lighting Yujin Hong

Music Hyunsu Kim

Producer Hana Jo

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