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EXPLOREPerforming Arts

2017 Season OnStage Korea 1st Showcase: KNCDC image

2017 Season OnStage Korea 1st Showcase: KNCDC


Korea National Contemporary Dance Company

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company

(Opening Performance)

Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.

Arena Stage at The Mead Center for American Theater (Kreeger Theater)

1101 Sixth Street, SW Washington, DC 20024



Free with an RSVP

Information: www.KoreaCultureDC.org or call 202-797-6343


The Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C. proudly presents the inaugural OnStage Korea showcase featuring the renowned Korea National Contemporary Dance Company (KNCDC) for the U.S. premiere of Immixture (혼합) at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. on March 9. 


The OnStage Korea program seeks to discover and highlight brilliant artists actively performing in the U.S., Korea and around the world with an opportunity to showcase their creativity on stage for the American public in the Capital region. For its inaugural event, OnStage Korea welcomes one of Korea’s most distinguished and daring dance companies to Washington, D.C. for the U.S. premiere of Immixture, which was recently seen at the Theatre National de Challiot in Paris and the Festival International de Musica y Danza de Granada in Spain in 2016. Immixture demonstrates the exquisite beauty of traditional Korean dance based on the charming physical-lines and delicate movements that derive from dancers’ internal breathing.

The event will open with a special performance by the Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC), D.C.'s leading modern dance company now in its 25th anniversary season, of their original work Confluence (2014) choreographed by Artistic Director Dana Tai Soon Burgess. DTSBDC creates and performs new modern dance choreographies that sensitively illuminate the multi-faceted American landscape.

Korea National Contemporary Dance Company (KNCDC)

Established in 2010, KNCDC performs representative works of Korean modern dance that strive for vitality through openness to new ideas and experimentation. The company’s emphasis on “here and now” aims to stimulate viewers’ senses and evoke the rhythm of Korean contemporary life. KNCDC also works with artists to explore questions about personal experiences of time, society, and daily living, facilitating a modern dance environment where all people can enjoy themselves regardless of their background. Rather than abstruse or ambiguous pieces, KNCDC pursues performances that can viewers can understand intuitively, sympathize with, and enjoy, by bringing a sense of fun to contemporary dance. In sum, KNCDC pursues originality, excellence, and Korean contemporary dance within the global community. 

KNCDC Artistic Director and Choreographer Ahn Sungsoo is known for his genre-encompassing approach, from Korean traditional dance to ballet to contemporary dance. Identifying and separating characteristics of each dance, he breaks down and reconstructs them to build pieces that blend visual aesthetics, systematic structure, speed, and musical interpretation. For Ahn, Korean performers play a special role in in performances that carry Korean context. His unique training methods introduce the concept of body neutralization, integrating ballet with modern dance techniques to develop dancers’ sense of momentum and command of direction and speed, which are key to blending Eastern and Western dance.

Immixture (2016)

Immixture creates visible music by combining sound and movement from both Eastern and Western traditions. Ahn’s choreography and philosophy of artistic experimentation reaffirm that traditional heritage and modern society can intermingle through dance, such as when delicate and flowing Korean traditional dance meets modern contemporary movement. In Immixture, the fascination of traditional Western dance based on its extroverted, straightforward, and expressive features blends with the neat and agile movement of Korean traditional dance, with its beautiful lines and emphasis on breathing in performances like Chunaengmu, Geommu, and Changsa

In addition, Immixture seeks to create a visual perception of music by pairing delicate and continuous traditional dance movements with distinctive, dynamic rhythms. Beats in Korean traditional music tend to resonate and imply meaning, while Western music often emphasizes melody and clear rhythm. Ahn creates a new take on traditional Korean dance by incorporating aspects of both traditions. The result is a performance that presents something Korean, but is also curious about what “Korean” truly means. (Adapted from dance critic Lee Jihyeon, 2016, writing in the Journal of Dance Criticism.)

Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC)

For this first showcase, local dance company Dana Tai Soon Burgess Dance Company (DTSBDC) will be the opening performance. DTSBDC is Washington D.C.'s leading modern dance company and are now in their 25th anniversary season. The company creates and performs new modern dance choreographies that sensitively illuminate our multi-faceted American landscape. DTSBDC’s repertory focuses on identity in the context of historical events and personal stories, thereby bridging cultures and connecting shared human experiences. DTSBDC will perform Confluence (2014) choreographed by Artistic Director Dana Tai Soon Burgess. 

Confluence (2014)

Confluence was choreographed in 2014 as part of the company's Smithsonian residency. Choreographer Dana Tai Soon Burgess was inspired by the 1938 silver gelatin print of early 20th-century dance-choreographer Doris Humphrey by Barbara Morgan. This portrait was exhibited as part of the Dancing the Dream exhibition, the first Smithsonian exhibit on American dance. In the abstract photo by Morgan, Doris Humphrey emerges from shadow, implying a psychological tension between light and dark. Performed in four sections, Confluence reflects that tension, a steady stream of brief encounters and trysts in which trust ebbs and flows and the true nature of an emotional connection is difficult to discern.