Modern Table Dance Company: Sok-do (Velocity) at The Place
The Korean Dance Festival at The Place – brought to us via the Korean Cultural Centre and the Korea Arts Management Service – presents through dance a variety of historical and current facets of the country’s national heritage, as well as ideas and concepts that unites us as a global community
One of the five companies in the Festival this summer, the Modern Table Dance Company displays a fascinating stage genre rarely seen in the UK. Choreographer Kim Jae-duk presents Sok-do (Velocity), which combines traditional Korean forms with rock, hip-hop and vocals – resulting in a stunning, artistically compelling, immensely innovative modern ballet. As a pastiche of styles, the work merges the medium with multi-dimensional performance art.
With his all-male troupe Modern Table, Kim has created in Sok-do an arrangement of intuitive movement around the theme of velocity. Focusing on the idea of the effect of speed on motion, the piece examines the range and variation of states produced as velocity changes, exhibiting, for example, that slowness can engender boredom or inertia and great speed can cause fear or alarm
Known for their intriguing lighting, the company’s skilful spotlighting accents the sketches as visual vignettes. Captivating music on stringed instrumentals – Korean Ajaeng – and dynamic drumbeats accompany the performance of the eight dancers. With beautifully fluid, brilliantly coordinated choreography, rhythmic circular movements alternate with vigorous activity, intensity is followed by sudden stillness. The choreography seems at times like acrobatics and at others appears to mimic martial arts. It is at one moment calm and serene, then exciting, producing a sense of angst. Vocalisations are often somewhat aggressive, evoking expressions of tension or pain.
Highly acclaimed in Korea and around the world, Modern Table makes a strong statement with Sok-do (Velocity) as a noteworthy triumph by cutting-edge artists who stand out as creative trendsetters in the contemporary dance arena.
Photo: Lee Jin-Young
Modern Table Dance Company: Sok-do (Velocity) was at The Place on 31st May as part of A Festival of Korean Dance, which runs until 7th June 2019. For further information and events visit the festival’s website here.