2012 Soo Ryu Dance Festival

On November 4th–7th, 2012, the Korean Dance Studies Society of Canada will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Canada–Korea Diplomatic Relationships. To commemorate the occasion the company is celebrating four nights of exciting events, including opening night of networking dinner and performances, followed by two nights of cultural dance performances, and closing night of sogochum –small drum dance master workshop.

The festival showcases best pieces of traditional Korean dance along with Canada’s diverse cultural dances ranging from classical Indian dance and Japanese mask dance to contemporary dance. The opening night will be rejoiced with networking dinner of Korean food and opening performances by participating artists from South Korea, USA, Japan and Canada. During the two days of performances, Mi Young Kim, the artistic director at Korean Dance Studies Society of Canada, and her dance company will present a new choreographic work, titled Azalea, inspired by a renowned Korean poet So Wol Kim. Audiences should expect sentimental and elegant yet dynamic movements, all choreographed to deliver a stunning and impressive performance.

The programming will also highlight various traditional Korean dance performed by the acclaimed Mi Sook Song Dance Company from South Korea, enabling the audience to explore the grace and strength of traditional dance form. With modern Canadian dance, Japanese mask dance and classical Indian dance, the festival will illustrate the cultural connections among different dance forms.

The final day will host a master workshop conducted by Jin Mi Park, the celebrated sogochum –small drum dance professional from South Korea. Park will demonstrate the drumming patterns used in sogochum, as well as various steps and movements that intermingle with the drum beats. In addition, Oikado Ichiro from Japan will demonstrate mask dance that celebrates the final day of the festival. Interested participants are required to contact KDSSC to reserve their place in the workshop.

The 2012 Soo Ryu Dance Festival performers include:Mi Sook Song Dance Company (Artistic Director Mi Sook Song –Kyung Ki Do Intangible Cultural Asset #34 Holder: An–Sung Hyang Dang Dance, Korea), Jinju Sword Dance Company (Young Hee Yoo, Tae Yeon Kim –South Korea Intangible Cultural Asset # 12 Holders: Jinju Sword Dance, Korea) Oikado Ichiro (Japan), Rina Singha and Rina Singha Dance Company (Toronto), Jeffrey Chan (Toronto), Kuk Hyang Keum (Korea), Constance Chang (USA), Young Joo Kim (Vancouver), Kyung Ho Hwang (Korea), Samulnori Canada (Artistic Director Chris Baek, Toronto), and Mi Young Kim Dance Company (Artistic Director Mi Young Kim, Toronto).

This video is from the 2008 SooRyu Dance Festival and shows a piece titled, ‘Shim Chung’, which depicts the story of one daughter’s devotion to her blind father, Shim Hak Kyu. Shim Chung is a classic Korean tale of sacrifice and redemption, which is rooted in shamanistic ritual and expresses filial piety in Korean culture.

The name SooRyu was bestowed on Mi Young Kim by Kum Sil Lee, the award–winning poet for Holding Hand In Hand – Quest for Harmony. The title and poem were given to Mi Young Kim in dedication of her fifty years of work in Korean dance.

Holding Hand In Hand – Quest for Harmony
Written by: Kum Sil Lee
Translated by: John U K Lee

Swiftly lifting up the soul
To flutter about, shivering with colours of seething yearning,
The drum is suspended in midair with such brilliance –
Spirit of Korean race gushes forth upon the Lake Ontario!

Oh! Should you be created through my death?
Or else, should I be created through your death?

Father raised the tender bones with the compassion of an indigent, while
Mother opened the eyes of a needle to clothe with each drop of sweat –
Grasping the brethren’s hands
To lay out a path of fire onto the Korean peninsula,
The longing movement of dance of her heart’s desire
Fluctuates between this world and the world beyond

Rise up, all you races!
Holding each other’s hands of various skin colours,
The dazzling movement of dance corralling multitudes of evil spirits from
hundreds of races –
You, the Apostle of Multiculturalism!

Boom, boom, tum–de–dum–de, boom, boom –
Striking forcefully with a fiery ball
The drumming resounds onto the heart of the living!
The reverberation propitiates the spirit of the dead!
Piteously lifting up the soul –
As if the yearning of the living permeating the grave,
As if the thunder toppling onto the blade of grass –
Like a ray of life wandering this world,
The movement of dance plays homage to the Heavens.

Upon each town and village
Where you have lightened with such devotion,
You have raised them with brilliance of all your might.
May your quest of spreading the vision of
The diverse races mingling harmoniously under one roof,
Holding each other’s hands, and dancing oh so round about,
Be boundless –

Raising the five oceans and six continents,
The waters and trees with exhilaration –
To uncover the world where peace reverberates –
May your quest be everlasting!

Oh, the exuberance of the waters!
Oh, the splendour of the fields!
You, the holy Apostle of culture
Embroidering stitch by stitch upon heaven and earth!