By Holli Harms
Structured, strategic, methodical with the simplest of hand gestures, precise arm and leg movements, heads and torsos all striking perfect synchronization, mesmerizing in their precision and simplicity, is only the beginning of this stunning evening of human movement, of dance like you’ve never experienced. All of these turns are of dancers moving as if made of air and liquid, as the sound of the drums beat, and the rhythms grow, intensify, and reach a crescendo and then find their way back from the wonderful madness. All part of “One Dance”.
The dancers are some of South Korea’s best from the Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre which, “…is a company committed to preserving Korean heritage through modern interpretations of dance.” These dancers are athletes, acrobats, fantastical fairies. They are individuals who move as one. One giant being creating this beauty. The costumes designed by Kuho Jung flowed like wisps of weightlessness on the bodies of the dancers which creates the illusion of the performers floating and flying, never touching the ground while the rest of us are glued to it by gravity. Jung is also the director and designer of the stage settings as well as lighting and video designer. He is a visionary who has brought his knowledge, inspiration, and imagination to the stage to share with all of us.
It’s a haunting performance divided into four acts, Act1 Study of Ilmu – a ritual performed at royal shrines, Act 2 Study of Gungjungmu – a court dance created during the reign if King Sung of Joseon Dynasty, Act 3 Jukmu demonstrating masculine strength, and Act 4 Sin-Ilmu (New Ilmu) – original dance reconsidering the Study of Ilmu. All are the contemporary reigning of the The S K Group performing as part of the Korean Arts Week, part of Summer for the City at Lincoln Center. The SK. Group is the second largest conglomerate in South Korea and is presenting this wonderful imaginative performance piece with 39 of Korea’s most skilled dancers from the Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre as a way to reimagine traditional Korean dances and share them with the world.
Between each act the audience did not clap, we breathed in and out as one, understanding that our experience was private and that this performance was as much a spiritual event as a theatrical one. It wasn’t until the end, at The David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, that the audience, myself included, erupted in admiration.
Curated by the global art platform Artue, Discovery: 12 Contemporary Artists From Korea is an exhibition of cutting-edge Korean art in all its iterations, part of both Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City Korean Arts Week and Celebrate Korea at Rockefeller Center, on view now though August 27, the exhibit joins SK Group’s presentation of Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theatre’s One Dance at the David H. Koch Theater and other artistic efforts promoting the cultural heritage of South Korea to the world.
Production Team: Kuho Jung creator, director, light design set design, Hyejin Jeong Artistic Director of Seoul Metropolitan Dance Theater, Sung Hoon Kim choreographer, Jeaduk Kim Choreography, Music.
The David H. Koch Theaters 20 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023
The running time of One Dance is approximately 70-minutes, no intermission.