A City of International Dance Culture

When my friends asked me if I wanted to go to a Latin dance club all I could respond was, “where and when?” Latin dance is a huge part of my life.  Growing up in a primarily Hispanic city, studying Spanish, and teaching Zumba for the past two years, has made Latin music and dance a huge part of my life.  I am no expert, but I am in love with the music of Latin rhythms and I know the basic steps of most rhythms.  Last night was my first time trying a salsa club here in Seoul.  So far I have not met one Spanish person so I was surprised to find that there was a salsa club.  Although the club is in Itaewon and you can pretty much find anything there.  We call Itaewon “Little America” because it is the most diverse area of downtown Seoul.  I went with four of my girlfriends and we had a blast moving to the beats of salsa, merengue, bachata, and reggaeton.  We danced with a surprising amount of guys who actually knew how to dance.  I never knew that Koreans could actually move their hips (or that they even had hips for that matter). I even danced with a Spanish guy from Stamford, CT! We were having so much fun that we lost track of time and we spent almost our entire night there. I was really happy to find that my friends were enjoying themselves dancing too because all too often I am the only one who is ready to hit the dance floor. It was a late night (morning) and I was never happier to see my bed .

 

Seoul Arts Center

 

 

Jayu Theater

 

This whole month celebrates the 13th annual Seoul International Dance Festival.  This festival features dance companies from all over the world performing at Arts Centers all around Seoul.  Unfortunately, I didn’t hear about this festival until late in the game, but as soon as I heard I was able to buy some tickets for two performances.  Today I went to my first performance at the Seoul Arts Center.  It was called “Korean Dances Meet World Music 13-Andes Music II.”  It featured 3 contemporary Korean dance companies: J Ballet Company, Movement Factory, and Movement So Young.  The pieces were extremely contemporary and unlike anything I had ever seen.  The theater itself was very intimate and there was not a bad seat in the whole place.  There were three levels of seating, but the stage was a square in the middle at floor level.  The first piece began with an artist painting a huge cherry blossom mural on paper laid out and taped to the floor.  It was amazing and it became a part of the premise of the dance and the paint ended up all over the dancers at the end. The first half of the dance was completed in silence.  I love dances with no music because the dancers are moving to the beat of their own breathing.  It gives a such a raw and dramatic effect. It was a truly emotional and sexual piece.  The second one was interesting and started with clothes in a pile on the floor and the dancers were wearing ridiculous outfits.  (I’m not sure if I really understood that one.) The last one was a modern ballet and even the male dance wore a skirt along with the women.  It was a very liberal contemporary experience, but all of the dancers were extremely talented. I also plan on attending the last show, which is this coming week and it involves a contemporary take on hip-hop so it should be interesting! I can’t believe the weekend is already over 😦 Now I need to rest up for tomorrow morning!

Artist painting the stage

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2 responses

  1. from your description, I could imagine the painting and dance, wish I could be there to enjoy this with you …sounds like a great performance,
    enjoy your journey of discovery

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