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Saturday December 4th

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"Dynamic Korea" thunders across Memorial Hall stage

Korea hasn’t garnered this much attention stateside since the World Cup.

On Tuesday night, the Carolina Performing Arts Series hosted the Chae Hyang Soon Dance Company as part of an event dubbed, “Dynamic Korea: Dance and Song.”

From the outset, it was apparent that the show was deeply rooted in historic culture, from the demeanor of the performers to the colorful costumes they wore.

All of the outfits were made of silk, and no two performances followed the same pattern.

Each set had a unique wardrobe that was not only appropriate, but seemed to help the performers with their delivery.

Adding to the vibrancy of the show were the disciplined hand and head motions and footwork of the dancers — all of which were coordinated to foster a sense of harmony.

The show opened with a slow, majestic tone as the dancers entered the stage with a strong sense of pride.

The event was comprised of two parts. The first half of the evening boasted the graceful “Lotus Dance.”

However, though this set provided a taste of the color that Korean dance boasts, it paled in comparison to the livelier “Fan Dance.”

The dance saw silk dresses in constant motion, coupled with motor precision. It was almost tragic, since the effortless footwork and smooth movements of the fan seemed to force the viewer to choose what aspect to focus on.

The kayagum, a Korean zither instrument used in many traditional dance performances, split these earlier dances.

Until the intermission, the show was methodical at best. The performances were calming, but brought enough dissonance to keep the audience interested.

At the end of intermission, the cheery “Taffy Peddler Dance” ensemble came in from the rear of the hall, bearing gifts and epic smiles in almost-creepy fashion — but the audience applauded in appreciation.

From that point on, the show took a more personable feel, becoming less of a show to admire and more like a show that the viewer themselves take part in.

The “Drum and Hat Dance” was one of the show’s highlights, featuring a high-strung dancer moving across the stage like an aerial human top.

He wore a hat topped with a white silk ribbon which he commandeered with his head motions. Throughout his set, he continued to rile the crowd, pulling each member of the audience closer into the show.

The evening could have stopped here, but it continued on until the thundering wind-drummers.

They ended the night, acting as a powerful drum-line of sorts — fit for only a king.

At the close, the performers remained on stage in a special type of encore that seemed to blend the most exciting portions of the entire event into one.

Finally, the dance company invited members of the audience on stage as they held hands and carried out a weave-dance.

Over all, the performance was charming. Although sometimes slow and decidedly alien in content, the evening came off effectively.

But by including the audience in the spirit of the Korean cultural heritage, the performers were able to deliver a powerful musical journey.

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