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Tero Saarinen to collaborate with National Dance Company

Tero Saarinen to collaborate with National Dance Company

Posted June. 24, 2022 07:54,   

Updated June. 24, 2022 07:54


Here is a man who has become the first overseas choreographer to collaborate with the National Dance Company of Korea, an organization specialized in Korean traditional choreography, since its foundation in 1962. Tero Saarinen is one of leading Finnish choreographers who mastered a variety of genres from classical ballet to modern choreography to Japanese Butoh to Hapkido and to Beijing opera.

Saarinen, a master of dances across the East and West, and the National Dance Company of Korea date back to 2014 when he created “Hoeori (Vortex)” in collaboration with South Korean dancers. Premiered in South Korea, it was invited to Cannes Dance Festival in 2015 and the Kanagawa Arts Theater in Japan in 2019. With the second show in South Korea scheduled this Friday, The Dong-A Ilbo had an interview with him.

Korean traditional dance moves in restraint made an unforgettable impression on him. In his words, Korean dancers move their body fully filled with power inside. They sometimes show an explosive burst of strength and illustrate it gracefully at other times. He feels an aura of power even when they stand still.

“Hoeori,” dubbed a vortex, is originated from a natural phenomenon. This Finnish choreographer remembers the day when he first met Korean dancers, describing the meetup as a vortex formed by an encounter of hot and cool airflows.

Tero Saarinen aims to internalize how a perfect level of novelty is created following chaos and conflict in his show. He feels as if he made a vortex merely by flying all the way here.

Naturalism is at the core of “Hoeori.” Born and brought up in Finland, he used to live near forests or on the coast. His childhood experience with nature has inspired the choreographer to combine dance to the philosophy of nature.

The Finnish choreographer describes humans as trees rooted to the ground aspiring to go up to the skies, which may well explain that dancers on the show portray trees by making full use of the upper body with little movement of the other half. He thinks of arms and fingers as a container of the soul. That is why he chooses these body parts as a tool to prove the feel of the soul.

The show is full of melodies constructed as beautifully as its choreographic structure. A vocalist sings with the gayageum zither, haegeum fiddle and piri oboe playing in harmony.

He loves how Korean traditional music instruments make a profoundly deep sound. Likening Korean traditional vocalists’ voice to the cries of a lady living in ancient times, he is deeply inspired by a cry subconsciously coming out of the soul. He feels a vortex in Korean traditional music.

“Hoeori” will become the first overseas show to be invited to the Dance House Helsinki in Finland this September to amuse Finnish audiences.

He does not see this invitation as a mere visit of a South Korean dance show to Finland but considers it an opportunity to break down the borders and barriers of the two countries to better connect them.

The show is scheduled from Friday through Sunday at the National Haeoreum Theater in central Seoul. The tickets are 20,000 up to 70,000 won.

Ji-Hoon Lee easyhoon@donga.com