Festival of Korean Dance 2022 at The Place
Returning to The Place for a fifth year, A Festival of Korean Dance showcases a programme comprising of four women choreographers at the cutting edge of Korean dance culture. Having built a following among audiences and critics, the festival features returning artists Jinyeob Cha, the choreographer of the 2018 Winter Olympics ceremonies, and Bora Kim as well as UK debuts from Soo Hyun Hwang and Yun Jung Lee. The programme will explore the senses, from visions and perceptions of beauty, to blindfolded dancers using rhythm alone to navigate, to synesthesia.
Jinyeob Cha, who is showcasing the World Premiere of MIIN: Body to Body explains what the show is about: “The word ‘Miin’ is supposed to denote ‘a beautiful person’ in Korean, but it is usually exclusively used to refer to women. Irrespective of time and place, the desire surrounding ‘beauty’ has been expressed or suppressed in various forms, and because of this, women have been unable to see their own bodies as wholly representative of their own selves, and have not been free from external judgment. This performance not only attempts to propose a variety of different aspects of the female body, such as the female body as a mother, the young female body, the aged female body, and the suppressed female body, it also attempts to take a look at the natural beauty and value that our particular bodies possess at this very moment.”
The piece began as an outdoor performance in Seoul and will complete the dynamic festival. Jinyeob Cha spoke about what the experience will be like for the audience: “Whilst I was doing my research, I felt the pain and wounds, the suffering and sadness of all these countless women and was deeply touched by the nobility and beauty of these women as individuals. By being able to bring out the true nature of what women must endure as women, I want to share stories with the audience on the meaning and value everyone’s bodies possess. The live instrumental of the geomungo, a traditional Korean instrument that is played by plucking and flicking strings, gives off a deep resonance as its waves of sound spread throughout the space. I wish for the audience to experience the vast and deep world inside the body, filled up with electronic sounds, and for the deep resonance of the geomungo to be conveyed to them.”
Her return to London is eagerly awaited, and she spoke about what she was most looking forward to when performing at The Place: “I’m curious what audiences of other cultures will think and how they will relate to my work, which was created with inspiration and influence taken from my own culture, as well as how they will welcome differences. The upcoming performance in London will be the first of our overseas performances, and since it carries emotions and a narrative that is distinctly Korean, I think it will be a special performance in appreciating similarities and differences with audiences from a Western culture.”
The festival will take place 17–25 June 2022