Energetically mixing the traditional steps of ancient shamans and peasants with the stark, cool movements of modern Korea, choreographer In-Young Sohn and the NOW Dance Company will present Tradition & Its Changes at the NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts on Friday, October 24. The eight dance routines of Tradition & Its Changes are drawn from over a thousand years of Korean history. They include the Chinju K?mmu, a traditional palace dance performed by a troupe of female dancers who swoop and swirl while skillfully wielding stylized swords, as well as the Muny?mu, a ritual dance traditionally performed by Korean shamans in order to lift them to a higher state of consciousness. Throughout the performance, the dances are infused with new rhythms and movements that capture the vitality of contemporary Korean choreography. The performance reaches its climax with Kabae, an exuberant, 25-minute farmers' dance meant to celebrate the harvest. In-Young Sohn is the founder and artistic director of the Seoul-based NOW Dance Company, which has performed traditional and contemporary Korean dance around the world since 1992. A former member of the Korean Traditional National Dance Company and former artistic director of the Seoul Performing Arts Company, Sohn holds an MA in arts education from Columbia University.
This performance marks the third leg of a four-city tour organized by The Korea Society, a non-profit organization which, among its activities, sponsors Korean performing arts tours around the country. Following Tradition & Its Changes’ successful debut at Synod Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the group delighted over 300 audience members with music and dance on October 19, the show travels to Cornell University in Ithaca, New York on October 21. After the performance at NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts (presented by the World Music Institute) on October 24, the tour closes at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island on October 25 (presented by the Korean – “American Association of Rhode Island).