This fall, Kennedy Theatre’s 59th production season will focus on a single mainstage production. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Theatre and Dance is working on Form Within a Form: Echoes and Reverberations, a transformative dance concert with a cast of 60 performers, featuring dynamic, interactive and powerfully innovative collaborations between original dance, music, mixed media, scenic art and costume design. Audiences will be transported through a wide spectrum of dance genres and traditions, among them works created by international guest choreographers from the Korea National University of Arts.
The National Endowment of the Arts gave the UH Mānoa College of Arts, Languages and Letters a $10,000 award for the production, which helped bring renowned artists Jae Hyuk Jung and Samjin Kim to the Mānoa campus to train students for a few special numbers to be featured in the concert. Both are serving as resident dance artists this fall.
Jung’s focus is teaching students to use repetitive movements as a method of skillfully combining two opposing elements of Korean tradition and contemporaneity. Kim’s choreography challenges dancers to blend movement utilizing breath techniques and improvisation.
“It’s very honoring and awe struck, as well because we’re learning culture from people who are directly immersed in it. So it’s a direct transfer of knowledge and it’s very enlightening,” said Nani Marcos, a dance BFA major at UH Mānoa.
Korean dancers bring deep expertise
Marcos is a classically trained dancer from Waipahu, and thrilled to have the opportunity to immerse herself in Indigenous contemporary dance practices, which is helping broaden her connection to the art form.
“In Korean dance everything comes from your breath. From the music phrases you wanna catch the beat of the music with that first breath that you take and it leads you into all of your movements,” said Marcos.
Jung and Kim have also hosted a series of free dance workshops for the public. Their residency at UH Mānoa has captured positive headlines in South Korea, and citizens are pleased that traditions from their homeland are being shared.
“Back in Korea many people are interested in this project because it is an opportunity to raise awareness of Korean dance through the exchange,” said Kim. “I am very honored and thankful.”
Ticket prices range from $8 to $25 for the in-person production at Kennedy Theatre on November 11, 12, 18, 19 and 20. The concert will also feature choreography from local artists and UH Mānoa dance and music faculty: Sai Bhatawadekar, Kaʻohinani Yojo Daniels, Betsy Fisher, Kara Jhalak Miller, Amy Schiffner and Jonathan Clarke Sypert. Original music compositions by Keith Cross, Takuma Itoh and John Signor, with movement-based media art by Larry Asakawa.
For more information, go to the department’s website.