* This post is translated by Karin Yoo for the Korean Cultural Service in New York.
Despite the advent of New York City’s winter that makes our bodies and minds cold and stiff, still flourishing in several parts of the city are heated performances that add warmth to the air. Notably, this November has been made warmer by the “Wave Rising Series” and “Here Now” as delivered by the White Wave.
Wave Rising Series
Opening for the sixth consecutive year since 2006, the Wave Rising Series performed for the final time on October 19th of this year. A total of 24 different dance companies came to gather at the John Ryan Theater, situated in Brooklyn, New York for approximately three weeks, showcasing a wide repertoire of modern dancing, attracting huge interest.
The Wave Rising Series annually invites renowned judges who specialize in dance in New York City, and conducts a rigorous selection process, through which only a select few, talented dancers can make it to the performing stage. An average, newly debuted dancer in New York City faces difficulties in financing, advertising, and generating enough scale in order to perform independently. White Wave established the Wave Rising Series in order to respond to these difficulties; in this regard, the Arts Director Young Soon Kim answered that her priority objective is to “provide notably talented dancers and companies opportunities and the platform necessary to gain deeper exposure to performance.”
Furthermore, by inviting world renowned dance companies, the Wave Rising Series delivers to its audience a well-balanced production that is not biased towards showcasing only the rookie artists. Among the invited team at this year’s Wave Rising Series were Rachel Aldoss from Israel, Yoon Jung Kim’s Dance Project from Korea, and Yoo Kyoung Chang’s dance company; notably, Yoon Jung Kim’s Dance Project and Yoo Kyoung Chang’s dance company have been active not only in Korea, but also in the United States and in Europe. In particular, a piece by Yoo Kyoung Chang’s dance company called ‘Stop and Breath’ which was adapted from Korean traditional dancing by infusing a modern component to it has already received Award of Excellence at the 2010 Korea Dance Competition. After giving the last performance on the 6th of this month, Yoo Kyoung Chang stated: “It’s refreshing to be showcasing a dance of our very own in the United States. Because it is common for Korean dance performed at an international stage to consist of traditional Korean dance, we are even more content to have performed a Korean creative dance instead”, and shared her unique pride in her performance.
In addition, Yoo Kyoung Chang, by utilizing a special Korean traditional paper instead of fabric for making the costumes used in this performance, did not spare her words in demonstrating the superb quality of Korean traditional paper, and how it lasted twenty years without changing color or form since being first manufactured in 1986. Susan Dreher in the audience who attended the last performance of the Wave Rising Series commented on the performance of Yoo Kyoung Chang’s dance company that “although [she] was limited by a lack of deep understanding for Korean culture and traditional dancing, the dancers’ expressions created a sense of gravitation towards the stage” and that “[she] found the fan dance, which came in the middle of the show, being so full of life and vibrant, most memorable.
While Yoo Kyoung Chang’s dance company has in the past performed in Spain, Germany, and Denmark, aside from China and Japan, their performance at this year’s Wave Rising Series was the first time that they showcased a Korean creative dance; they hope to use this opportunity as a starting point in publicizing Korean creative dance internationally.
Moreover, regarding the increasing interest in the Wave Rising Series year after year, the Arts Director, Young Soon Kim, explained: “the audience loves the performances by the teams selected here. It seems that the unique nature of our performing stage allows the audience to watch performances at a closer distance, and the heat and energy seem to tie the audiences and performers as one. Given the trend of rapidly growing number of applicants for Wave Rising Series annually, we anticipate an even better quality of performance in the future.”
In addition, regarding the Wave Rising Series, she stated: “the audience who come to White Wave are often followers or people with a general interest in arts performing groups. However, it is our hope that we would be able to attract an even broader spectrum of audience to our shows in the future” and shared her grand vision for White Wave.
Here Now: Architectural Design of the Human Heart
“The present is the moment when the future and the past meet and we are living in the present.” Exploring the turbulence of love and human emotions, Here NOW, Young Soon Kim Dance Company consisting of eleven members, presented a 60-minute live performance on November 4th and the 5th at 7pm as part of the Performance Series of The Museum of Art and Design.
As Artistic Director Young Soon Kim’s new piece for 2011, Here NOW presented its premiere at The Museum of Art and Design. The presentation weaved together video recordings and consisted of a live music performance. Notably, the performance did not utilize the existing scores, but featured new music pieces that were specifically composed and played for the concert by a celebrated guitarist Marco Cappelli. The stage costumes were produced by artist Anna Kiraly, who has been highly acclaimed of her talents in Eastern Europe and in New York. The visuals and recordings were by the co-founder of WAX, David Tirosh. And aside from this, the dramaturgy was by James Leverett, associate professor of dramaturgy and dramatic criticism at Yale School of Drama.
Another factor that adds beauty in the performance lies in the stage. In the performance, the dancers danced not only on the stage but also on the aisle in between the seats. As if alluding to the theme of the performance, the dancers slid across the spectators. The audience was soon mesmerized by the energy and effortless movements of dancers up and down the stage. In Here NOW, where even the stir of air from the dancers’ movements becomes palpable, the audience no longer views the show from outside the stage, but starts to see it from the center.
Jack De Flippis who came to view Here NOW on the first day of the showcase on November 4th said, “I think the performance presented a lot of novelties. Most importantly, it has expressed the emotions that stem from different relationships very well. And the harmony of video, music and performances much enhanced the quality of the show and presented it as a worthy novel venture which altogether deepened by enjoyment.”
The combination of a live performance of an original composition and panoramic video projection of images is truly an extraordinary sight. Unlike other banal performances that merely choreograph movements to the music, Here NOW is an audio-visually new and pleasing performance that is expected to provide more people with an extraordinary form of entertainment.