By Nicole Itkin

This festival runs until June 30, and you don’t want to miss it!

Though off to a rough start on its opening night, with crowds in the lobby, slow shuffling into the elevator, and a delay at the top of the show, once the dancers stepped on stage, it was all worth it.

In the opening speeches, many paid tribute to Young Soon Kim, Artistic Director of White Wave Dance. They spoke highly about her and her work, mentioning the film being made in Korea of her work in America, the honor for a dancer and choreographer both living and working outside of Korea. Her dance piece, the culmination of the evening, was delicate, paired, stunning in its paired dances, the dances always lifting up, just like the dancers themselves.

All of the pieces were beautiful, some delicate, others fierce. All wonderful. But, for me, the clear standout was the second piece, Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks’ piece “Kinetic Mirrors Portraits and Beyond Vol. 4.” The piece started with frantic movement, the unrolling of a carpet, the opening of a box, and the quick, quick, quick transferring of the box’s contents, heavy bottles and balls, onto the carpet. Every movement was sharp, controlled, precise, but frantic (it could be, so it was). A mirror was brought on stage, pointed first at the dancers, than at the audience–uncomfortable, seeing yourself reflected like that!–than handed to a member in the audience and reflected onto the dancers. Dancers spilled out onto the stage, their movements disjointed, sometimes slow, sometimes quick, but always a little nonsensical, and always frantic. The leader of the pack said the following phrases, “Go: Faster!” and the dancers did. “Run,” they did. “Get down,” and they did. The dancers slowed, slowed, slowed, until they were all lying down on the ground. The casket that had been sitting at the foot of the carpet was lifted up, slid open, pointed at us. It was empty. For the moment, empty. Keep rushing until we hit the ground? Is that what we do? Is that all we can do? Or something that makes us lose, lose ourselves and our potential, every time. It was a fun and unique performance, and audience members around me let out little sighs of “wow” as the piece ended.

The dance pieces were followed by a lovely reception, out on a little terrace overlooking the streets below. It was such a calming evening.

 

The festival is up until June 30th. GALA & Festival Tickets can be purchased here. More info here