Uijeongbu, a northeast suburb of Seoul, will become a dance haven this month with the 15th ChangMu International Arts Festival. From Aug. 21 to 30, 24 troupes from seven countries will participate in the event, offering various performances, that range from traditional to modern, alongside workshops for art lovers.
The event started back in 1993 and was held annually for 13 years, before going on hiatus for three years due to financial difficulties. The discontinuance was a great loss for the dance industry, for there were few festivals where dancers and choreographers could express their talents. Nowadays there are many international dance events such as the Seoul International Dance Festival and the International Modern Dance Festival.
``It was hard to continue the festival, but luckily we were able to revive it with the help of the Uijeongbu Arts Center. We have prepared for the last three years, and we are confident viewers will enjoy the programs,'' Kim Mae-ja, the artistic director of the festival, said at a press conference held last month.
This year, the event will be held under the theme ``Polychrome'' and thus will be divided into eight different colors ― black, red, indigo, violet, grey, green, yellow and pink ― an easy way for viewers to pick depending on their preferences.
For instance, ``black'' will represent depth and serenity, the perfect color to introduce traditional dance. Jo Heung-dong, the ``Taepyeongmu,'' Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 92, will offer ``Hanryangmu.'' Hanryangmu is one of the most famous Korean dances that dates back to the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910). Ha Yong-bu, the holder of the ``Milyang Baekjung Nori,'' Intangible Cultural Heritage No. 68, will also offer his distinctive moves, while female traditional dancers Yoon Mi-ra and Kim will present their works as well. Ha will also hold a workshop for those who want to learn more about Korean traditional dance.
Explore the powerful world of dance through the ``red'' section, representing the power and strength of men. Shin Chang-ho and the LDP Dance Company will offer their work ``Holding My Ground'' and show off their distinctive moves that combine modern and traditional dance elements. Richard Siegal, the head of German dance troupe ``The Bakery,'' is visiting to offer his male ensemble ``The New 45,'' which will be performed by Ayman Harper and Mario Zambrano.
The warm and sunny color ``yellow'' will include works by aspiring female choreographers from Korea, Japan and the United States. Chinese American choreographer Nai-ni Cen will offer her works ``Quest'' and ``Crosscurrent'' with her dance troupe, engaging with the audience through flexible and powerful movements.
Korean dancer Kim Soon-jung will continue with her solo work ``New Piece,'' which touches the ancient tales about goddesses in Korean history, while Japanese choreographer Yamada Setsko will attract viewers with her creative work ``Oddly Isolation.''
Enjoy sweet love stories at the ``pink'' section, which will feature lovely duets by some of Korea's best-known dancers. Modern dancers Jo Sung-hee and Park Hae-joon will offer their witty and humorous work ``People Who Go to Winter,'' while ballerina Kim Joo-won from the Korea National Ballet Theater will join Lee Jung-yoon to present ``Soulmate Chun-hyang,'' the traditional love story of Chun-hyang and her lover Mong-ryong.
Finally, explore dance within the multimedia world, as the ``gray'' section will bring innovative work that combines movements and media. Australian dance troupe Jambird is preparing ``Metadance,'' a new type of work that includes movements, music and visual art, which will be perfect for those who are interested in new, creative and experimental works.