Choreographers Kim Yoon-jin, left, and Dean Moss will present their "Gisaeng Becomes You'' Oct. 25-26 as part of the Seoul International Dance Festival 2008. / Yonhap
By Han Sang-hee
Working together as a team needs effort and understanding, but for two choreographers exploring the world of dance at the Seoul International Dance Festival 2008 (SIDance 2008), collaborating meant much more.
``We want to set an example in collaboration. We are two different people, a man and a woman, with different cultural backgrounds, and delving into art together was a great process in itself, not to mention an effective way to bring higher quality artworks. This is what makes collaborating special,'' Kim Yoon-jin told The Korea Times during an interview last Thursday.
Kim and American video artist and choreographer Dean Moss are bringing ``Gisaeng Becomes You,'' a ``time-transcending exploration'' of discovering one's life through the gisaeng, Korean female entertainers, just like looking into a mirror. The artists explained that it's not about theater, for this includes narrative, but more about dance and performance art.
Moss discovered a poem about the entertainers in 2005, and found a part of his life in their stories and decided to bring it on stage.
``The way they talked about the passage of people and the idea of the self seemed similar to my own life as a contemporary artist,'' Moss mentioned about his acquaintance with gisaeng at a press conference a few weeks ago.
The two artists stressed that their work was not about the life of gisaeng, but about bringing out the audience's emotions through them.
``It's not a (narrative) story of a gisaeng. We use the poem as a metaphor to touch the present day art life,'' said Moss.
By integrating poetry, dance, music and video, ``Gisaeng Becomes You'' will also bring the essence of contemporary art to local fans, which is a popular trend nowadays.
``Modern dance is totally located in the body, nowhere else. Bring it into a contemporary world and the idea of dance expands beyond the dancer. I can go beyond the audience, their lives become part of my dance. It explodes out and that's what we are trying to do,'' he said.
The artists will also use visual art as an element of the work, not the center of attention, just to help bring out the current environment people are living in today.
``It's not about the technology, so there won't be any television sets flying around. I asked Dean before why he wanted to use visual art in the work and he said `art is something that comes from our environment and so we must present this.' The work will carry the environment we live in and how we adjust to new ones, like the Internet environment,'' said Kim.
``Gisaeng Becomes You is different from the mainstream dance performances staged here. We will use visual arts, the media and bring something that is quite different from ordinary dance works,'' she added smiling.
The performance will make its world premiere on Oct. 25-26 during the SIDance 2008, which will be held Oct. 10-30. It will then greet fans at the Hong Kong New Vision Art Festival and have its U.S. premiere at the Dance Theater Workshop in New York next year.