Dancing away barriers at MODAFE
By Lee Hyo-won
The body twists in mind-bending, yet beautiful, contortions. A graceful leap into the air is followed by exhilarating footwork across the stage.
Fans of modern dance are welcome to celebrate the different rhythms of the human body at the 2010 Modern Dance Festival (MODAFE) in Seoul, from May 25 to June 8.
What was once a local event in the 1980s has grown into an international one today. This year’s event brings together 28 troupes from 11 countries to push and leap over barriers in art and life, under the slogan ``Gender-Distance.’’
Among the most anticipated programs is Emanuel Gat Dance. On May 25 and 26, the French troupe allows the audience to feel the essence of dance: Devoid of music, props or costumes, ``Silent Ballet’’ explores the musicality of the human body in motion, and inspires viewers to feel the pulsating breath and rhythm of movement. ``Winter Variations’’ on the other hand contemplates the spatial meaning of the stage through the dynamics and interaction between two dancers.
On May 28, Australia’s Rogue is expected to provide thought-provoking performances. ``The Counting,’’ a 14-minute piece, is choreographed to the most minute detail, but each gesture, for onlookers, is often baffling and strikingly unpredictable. ``Ocular Proof’’ on the other hand questions the influx of information and speed of communication in the digital age, and depicts the shallowness beneath it all.
From Hungary comes Ferenc Feher, who will perform for fans on May 30 and 31. The artist was never formally trained in dance, and combines freestyle dance and martial arts to create his own language. ``SiRZAMANZE’’ is a poetic depiction of a man and woman and the various sentimental, political and sexual dynamics that they share.
On June 1, Alpo Aaltokoski will bring a piece of Finnish dance to Seoul. Aaltokoski’s company is known for staging the works of veteran dancer Ervi Siren, who is credited with leading the dance scene in 1970s Finland. ``Magician’’ features an intriguing soloist who fetes the fruits of the earth ― wind, fire and other wonders of nature ― in a shamanistic way. The special lighting and video are expected to provide a unique ambiance.
On the same day, South Africa’s Nelisiwe Xaba will address current events through art. ``Plasticization’’ is a solo piece that highlights the beauty and strength of the female body but she delivers social messages on topics such as HIV-Aids or women's rights and child abuse, but uses dance for creative, rather than political, ends.
Austria’s Liquid Soft will explore the boundaries between the grotesque and the creative on June 6. ``Running Sushi,’’ running 19 minutes long, does not follow a set time scheme. Just like guests choosing random dishes at a sushi bar, dancers present a new story each time to communicate with the audience.
Vertigo Dance company will bring a uniquely Israeli yet universal sensibility to the festival. ``Mana,’’ running 53 minutes long, is centered on rather philosophical questions about the essence of light and matter. The minimal stage features the silhouette of a house that symbolizes the barrier dividing the inner and outer worlds.
Performances will be held at Arko Arts Theater and Daehangno Arts Theater. For more information visit www.modafe.org or call (02) 765-5352.