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National Dance Company invites us to dreamlike reveries

June 25, 2024 - 18:30 By Hwang Dong-hee
"Mongyudowonmu" (National Dance Company of Korea)

The National Dance Company of Korea is set to present alternating performances of "Sinsun" and "Mongyudowonmu" from Thursday to Sunday at the National Theater of Korea's Daloreum Theater. "Sinsun" will be performed on Thursday and Saturday, while "Mongyudowonmu" will be performed on Friday and Sunday.

Having originally premiered as a double bill in 2022, both productions have been expanded into 60-minute performances.

"Sinsun" portrays the playful antics of eight Taoist mountain hermits who forget their worldly worries and become immersed in dance and drinking. The word "sinseon" refers to the Taoist concept of hermits as immortals who transcend the human world to live in harmony with nature.

Choreographed by Ji Kyoung-min and Lim Jin-ho of contemporary dance company Goblin Party, the dance blends the Korean sentiment of joy, the vitality found in "gweonjuga," or drinking songs, capturing leisurely moments during the Joseon era (1392-1910).

"Sinsun" (National Dance Company of Korea)

"Mongyudowonmu," directed and choreographed by star choreographer Cha Jin-yeob, takes its motif from the famous painting "Mongyudowondo" (Dream of Strolling in a Peach Garden, 1447) by Joseon painter Ahn Gyeon. Prince Anpyeong, the brother of King Sejong, dreamt a vision of utopia in a peach orchard and had Ahn paint it.

"Mongyudowondo" (Korea Data Agency)

Cha reinterprets the masterpiece, blurring the line between reality and dreams. She said she was captivated by the image of winding mountain ridges, which, from afar, appear majestically beautiful, but would be extremely arduous to walk. The performance follows the journey from harsh reality to an ideal world through sophisticated dance, dreamlike music and stage design.

A dancer-turned-choreographer, Cha has worked with world-famous dance companies such as Hofesh Shechter Company in the UK and NND/Galili Dance in the Netherlands. Cha also choreographed the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games.