Arirang: ei a We Go Beyond the Crossroad
Sunhwa Chung/Ko-Ryo Dance Theater
ON May 11th and 12th 2012 at Dance Place....
“Arirang: ei – We Go Beyond the Crossroad” explores Chung’s experience of coming to the United States from her homeland Korea in the Winter of 1994. She felt a need to remain close to her roots but also to become secure enough to venture outside her own culture and learn to accept the new customs and ideas of America. Her 17 years here have enabled me to truly understand what it means to be a Korean in America. Building upon, and in a sense, chronicling Chung’s technical, physical and most importantly spiritual growth during her first 17 years in America, the dance portrays her mental and emotional struggle to understand and create a new identity as a performer and choreographer.
Beginning with Korean traditional dance flowing into modern style, the dancers will re-create the passage between cultures. Chung works with the tensions created by differences, but also reveals the harmonies that may emerge.
Ko-Ryo Dance Theater seeks to combine a contemporary vocabulary of movement with the sound of the Korean drums in a collaboration with Vongku Pak, a Korean traditional drummer. Arirang, a term of obscure origin and meaning, refers to arguably the most popular of all Korean folk songs, one which has taken on numerous regional and other variations over its long history. This folk song is believed to have begun as a song addressed to the mountain spirit in Korea’s distant past. It later evolved into a variety of generally cheerful and humorous work songs among farmers and fishermen and even into funeral songs as well. Arirang may indeed be called the “song of the land” as the variations have traditionally been sung in every Korean village.