The Santa Barbara Dance Theater will perform at the 3rd Seongnam International Dance Festival, which starts April 25 through May 2.
/ Courtesy of SIDF
By Han Sang-hee
The Seongnam International Dance Festival celebrates its third year, and despite its short history, the dance committee promises an event worth watching.
A total of 10 troupes from eight countries and 30 local groups will participate in the eight-day festival in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, with energetic performances and various programs where visitors can join in.
The annual festival will now run biennially, but according to the artistic director of the SIDF, Park In-ja, the content will only get better with time.
``It is a great burden to hold such an international festival every year, and it is also difficult to invite successful dance troupes from around the world. The festival may have become a biennial event, but we have prepared more high-quality programs for fans,'' Park said at the press conference of the event last month in central Seoul.
One of the most anticipated events is the World Star Gala Performance, where famous dancers including ballerina Kang Sue-jin from Germany's Stuttgart Ballet, Won Jin-young from the Nederlands Dans Theater II and Anna Antonicheva from Russia's Bolshoi Ballet will grant fans their powerful stage presence through works like ``Onegin'' and ``Diane and Acteon.'' The gala show will also present famed choreographer John Cranko's work ``Legende'' for the first time. In particular, Kang will also hold a special lecture for students and talk about ballet.
The festival has also planned an International Dance session in which six famous troupes got together to bring creative works to the public. The Loretta Livingston & Dancers from the United States, the La Compania from Argentina and the Isle-no-ko from Japan will join three other local groups to present their collaborated works that combine the elements of East and West, along with innovative music and stage settings
Another not to miss event is the Crossover Dance session. Four troupes from the Netherlands, Seoul and the U.S. will join fellow artists from different genres, including music and visual art, and offer experimental work.
According to Park, the Aalto Ballet Theatre Essen of Germany's ``Homage to Queen'' is also a must-see performance.
``This work is not just about artistic quality. Young students who have heard of Queen's music will be able to relate to the work quite easily,'' Park said.
Using the music by legendary rock group Queen, Essen's work has become one of the most creative performances in the world, garnering fans from countries such as France, England and Austria. Dancers will move to the familiar tunes of ``Bohemian Rhapsody,'' ``We are the Champions'' and even ``We Will Rock You.'' This is the first time for the troupe to bring ``Queen'' to Korea.
``Many dance fans appreciate ballet these days, but as for modern dance, it's still only enjoyed by a few. We ask visitors to just feel and enjoy instead of trying to understand every meaning of each movement,'' said Park.
The festival will run April 25-May 2 in various areas around Seongnam, including Seongnam Arts Center, Yuldong Park, Moran Market and even Namhan Fortress. Tickets for the performance at the center cost from 10,000 won to 100,000 won. For more information, visit www.sidf.co.kr (Korean and English) or call (031) 783-8235.