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EXPLOREPerforming Arts

OnStage Korea: 2nd Showcase of the 2019 Season image

OnStage Korea: 2nd Showcase of the 2019 Season

Sinawi: Harmony in Disharmony
performed by Maholra Company

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 at 7:30 PM
Family Theater | John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F Street, NW Washington, DC 20566

Email: Culturedc@mofa.go.kr
Photo: 202-797-6343

OnStage Korea’s second showcase of the 2019 season welcomes the acclaimed Maholra Company as they present Sinawi: Harmony in Disharmony, a combination of creative, contemporary dance and music based on Korean performance traditions in two parts: Sinawi and Gentleman. This original performance focuses on the distinctive characteristics of Korean traditional dance, such as rhythmic breathing and understated movements, in concert with the evocative sounds of traditional instruments. 

Sinawi is a type of Korean traditional music that is free and improvisational but occurs discreetly within a certain tune, somewhat like a riffing jazz performance. It is rooted in shamanic ritual music, and one could interpret is literal meaning as 'music for God' or 'music that God plays.' Here, the choreographer bases the performance on the concepts of harmony in disharmony and order in chaos. Through their individual gestures and overall movement, the four dancers seek to find order in chaos and to create harmony in disharmony. In particular, iconic Korean traditional dance pieces such as the Shaman Dance and Sanjo Dance demonstrate individual freedom within the disharmony that comes naturally from the flowing energy of the dancers altogether.

Gentleman is inspired by Hanryang-mu, a traditional Korean male dance performance. The original Korean title of the piece came from the Chinese character Ja (子), which represents a child spreading his arms, indicating “son.” In this piece, the choreographer portrays the life of a man who falls in love with a woman yet remains a son to his mother. Korean traditions are here transformed into modern choreography by analyzing the dancer’s movements and exploring experimental breathing rhythms. The result is a search for the essential aesthetic of Korean dance. This piece is also highlighted by the harmony of traditional instrumental melodies with creative movements based on the principle of jeong-jung-dong (stillness amid movement), which is embedded in traditional Korean culture. 

Maholra Company derives its name from a Hebrew word meaning 'people who dance before God.' Artistic director and choreographer Kim Jae-seung established Maholra Company in 2007 with the intention of always maintaining the essential sense of dance before God. The company has been deeply involved in the search for an aesthetic of Korean dance and in promoting creative performances. Kim graduated from the School of Dance at Korea National University of Arts in Seoul with bachelor’s and master’s degrees and completed his Ph.D at Dankook University. An outstanding dancer himself, Kim boasts extraordinary dance techniques that traverse and encompass modern and traditional dance. His choreographic works grounded in tradition have gained widespread recognition, earning him the gold medal at the 37th Dong-A Dance Competition in Seoul and selection for the Performance Artists Incubation Program for emerging choreographers, supported by the Arts Council Korea (ArKo) in 2011. As executive director of Maholra Company, Kim has presented a host of intriguing choreographic endeavors including Corea Ura, To Survive, Prayer, Honpuri and Gentleman.

OnStage Korea, presented by the Korean Cultural Center Washington, D.C., seeks to discover brilliant artists actively performing in the U.S., Korea, and around the world, and to showcase their creativity on stage for the American public in the Capital region. The program also advances the center’s mission to foster cultural exchange by expanding the visibility of excellent Korean performing arts and artists in American society. The 2019 Season of OnStage Korea will present a variety of exceptional performances throughout the year.