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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Korean Dance at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

As part of the Korean Showcase in Edinburgh, two Korean dance shows will be coming to Dance Base

Are You Guilty? by TOB Group, who say it “starts from the observation of how people choose the convenient option to be silent. A big reference was from the ‘bystander effect’, the social psychology theory that people are less likely to help someone in need if there are other people in present. In these situations when we are encountered with the plight of others, silence can oftentimes be a weapon and cause harm, which can be quite a frightening thought. This show explores this fine line between being a perpetrator and a victim. It aims to throw timely questions to the audience about the nature of empathy and widespread social apathy.”

It’s joined by BreAking, which premiered in 2021 by the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company (KNCDC). It was “created through the collaboration between different genres, including contemporary dance, street dance and traditional Korean music (Gugak). The work was arranged by the choreographer Lee Kyungeun and performed on stage by a group of dancers from the Korean contemporary dance circles in collaboration with Drop and Babysleek who have been active in the international street dance scenes. The work is focused on a story in which the individual beings that are so unique that they can be no more divided into grades awaken the monotonous daily lives with rhythm.”

Both shows use a mix of dance styles. TOB Group say, “The free interaction between various genres including hip-hop, theatre, and contemporary dance is something I have envisioned since the inception of this piece. Wit is another big element. I tried to organically blend the restrained movement and exaggerated expressions of the dancers.” For BreAking, KNCDC as a national organization “chose a collaboration with the modern Gugak scene, which is currently on the rise, as an effort to fulfill its duty to present contemporary dances in a new paradigm. KNCDC has been interested in finding traditional subjects for the contemporary dance performances in the belief that past is not very different from present in terms of cultural uniqueness and that we can find new aesthetic solutions and values from the tradition. This performance is a fusion between contemporary dance, hip-hop and Gugak, and creation of the “Korean-style hip-hop” performance through amalgamation between the East and the West and past and present, designed to help the audience feel and respond intuitively.”

“We expect that individual audiences will actively participate in the performance and add their own life stories and imagination to it.”

BreAking had its first performance in Seoul in 2021 when the city was at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its first performance outside Korea takes place in 2022. “We wonder how the performance will be received by the overseas audience. We know that the same performance can lead to different receptions among the audiences in different countries. If this particular dance performance can win the sympathy of the international audience, we expect that it will lead the audience to look at the act of breaking limits or boundaries set by themselves from a new viewpoint and discover various possibilities to overcome the limits and boundaries.”

BreAking will be at Dance Base 5 – 14 August at 9.30pm

Are You Guilty? will be at Dance Base 16 – 28 August 4.50pm

The Korean Showcase is a programme of cross-genre theatrical work performed at the Edinburgh Fringe presented by Korean Cultural Centre UK (KCCUK). The programme gives international Fringe audiences a taste of the breadth of performing arts happening in modern Korea. This year, the showcase includes seven shows: Are You Guilty?; BreAking; Klaxon; Korean Yeonhee Concert; Mary, Chris, Mars; Puppet Pansori Sugungga, Six Stories.


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