Ballet Festival Korea to kick off sixth year highlighting contemporary trends

By KH디지털2
  • Published : May 3, 2016 - 14:50
  • Updated : May 4, 2016 - 19:33

From a classical homage to Bolshoi to the modern-day high octane choreography of Nacho Duato in “Duende,” the upcoming sixth annual Ballet Festival Korea promises to be a feast for all tastes.

Raising its curtain on May 13 at the Seoul Arts Center, this year’s festival will involve 13 performances throughout the month. They will be held in various SAC theaters including the Opera Theater, the CJ Towol Theater, the Jayu Theater and the Shinsegae Square Outdoor Stage. 

A scene from “The Edge of the Circle” which will be staged at the Seoul Arts Center’s Towol Theater on May 24 and 25. (Admill Kuyler)

From the country’s top ballet houses, to small, independently run dance companies, this year’s festivities will once again highlight a melting pot of dance genres including classical, modern, family and avant-garde.

“One of the most important aims of our festival this year is to offer a wide-range of programs that we feel can be enjoyed by the masses, not just ballet enthusiasts,” said Do Jeong-im, chairwoman of this year’s Korea Ballet Festival, during a press conference at the Hotel President in Seoul on Tuesday.

“This year’s festival is very diverse and it is my hope that the audience will be able to find a program that will meet their personal interests,” she added.

Kicking off the festivities will be the Korean National Ballet and its classical gala ballet production in the company’s homage to Bolshoi. KNB will perform selected scenes from the company’s most popular repertoires, including “Don Quixote,” “Spartacus,” “Swan Lake” and “Romeo and Juliet.” 
A scene from the Seoul Ballet Theatre’s production of “All That Ballet,” which will be staged at the Seoul Arts Center’s Shinsegae Square Outdoor Stage on May 14. (Seoul Ballet Theatre)

In contrast to KNB’s classical approach, Universal Ballet is slated to follow up with its fast-paced, contemporary repertoire, “This is Modern,” featuring a collaboration of Duato’s “Duende” and Ohad Naharin’s “Minus 7” on May 20 and 21.

Often described as a performance in which audience members can almost see the music and hear the choreography, it is a real treat for dance lovers to see Universal’s ballet dancers shed their classical wings and let loose in an upbeat tempo, modern dance repertoire. 

“This is a very unique production for us and I think people will watch this performance and say to themselves, ‘Wow, I had no idea modern dance could be this fun,” said Universal Ballet’s Rah Sun-ah.

Besides the country’s two largest ballet companies, the festival will also showcase productions from smaller companies and independent choreographers including works by Lee Wonkook Ballet Company, Kim Yeonggeol Dance Theater, Human Stance Art Group and Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. 

A promotional image for the Universal Ballet’s upcoming modern dance production “Duende,” which will be staged at the Seoul Arts Center’s Towol Theater on May 20 and 21. (Universal Ballet)

“I think one of the biggest struggles some audiences have with dance is their fear that they would not be able to understand or relate to an abstract dance show,” said Kim Sung-min, a choreographer at Dark Circles Contemporary Dance. “This is one of the concerns that I really wanted to address, which is why our company has chosen to stage ‘Seasoned People.’”

“Our production is minimalistic and it will feature pop songs and include a lot of humor, which is why I think the audience won’t struggle trying to relate to what is happening on stage,” Kim says. 

The upcoming Ballet Korea Festival will also host a free performance by the Seoul Ballet Theatre, which will stage “All that Ballet” at SAC’s Shinsegae Square’s Outdoor Stage.

For more information on schedule and tickets, visit www.bafeko.com.

By Julie Jackson (juliejackson@heraldcorp.com)