Korean Dance Studies Society of Canada to Premiere 'Canada Arirang' at Soo Ryu Dance Festival

On December 15th to 18th, 2014, the Korean Dance Studies Society of Canada will host the highly anticipated 8th Soo Ryu Dance Festival, featuring the Canadian premiere "Canada Arirang," Artistic Director Mi Young Kim's newest work.

This year's festival programming will present an exquisite buffet of dance; from folk and contemporary dance forms, to traditional Korean cultural dances, performed by over 35 culturally diverse dancers. December 15th's opening night festivities will begin with a celebratory networking dinner, with performances by participating artists from South Korea, the USA and Canada. On December 16th and 17th, Mi Young Kim will celebrate the 35th anniversary of her work in Canada, by presenting her newest choreography "Canada Arirang." The festival will close on December 18th with a master dance workshop at Canada's National Ballet School.

"Canada Arirang" is a new work performed by 10 professional dancers from Mi Young Kim Dance Company. The work is inspired by Arirang, a folk song often considered the unofficial national anthem of Korea. In December 2012, UNESCO inscribed the song on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity program. There are 3600 variations of the song and different versions are usually prefixed by their place of origin.

Arirang embodies the deepest sentiments of the Korean people and represents the oral traditional that underpins Korean culture. A great virtue of Arirang is its respect for human creativity, freedom of expression and empathy. Anyone can create new lyrics, adding to the song's regional, historical and genre variations, and cultural diversity.

"Canada Arirang" exemplifies how the Arirang serves as a platform of inspiration for Mi Young Kim to explore the human sentiments shared by Korean-Canadians, and other Canadian immigrants alike: journeys of longing, despair, sorrow, struggle, consolation, love, hope and healing. It is a contemporary story of how the emotional elements of the cultural mosaic of Korea's Arirang are perceived within Canada.

The Soo Ryu Festival's 2014 artists include Mi Sook Song and troupe, JinSu Mun (Korea), Zab Maboungou (Quebec, recipient of the Martin Luther King junior Achievement Award), Nyata-Nataya (Quebec), Chris Baek (Samulnori Canada) and Jeffrey Chan and Elena Quah in Chinese dance form (Ontario). The award winning solo work "Re-Quickening" (Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award, Dora Mavor Moore Award), choreographed by Santee Smith (Kaha:wi Dance Theatre), will be performed. Each guest artist will present his or her own work, 8 to 10 minutes in length.

Mi Young Kim initiated the Soo Ryu Dance Festival in 2003 to celebrate artists from diverse cultures and dance genres. The festival became a biennial event in 2006. The Soo Ryu Dance Festival is committed to enriching diversity and multiculturalism in Canada, by offering the stage to an array of highly artistic dancers, both emerging and established, who illustrate the rich cultural connections that exist between different dance forms.

The 2014 Soo Ryu Dance Festival is generously supported by the Government of Canada, Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Consulate General of the Republic of Korea in Toronto, Overseas Koreans Foundation, Dance Umbrella of Ontario, the National Ballet School of Canada, Korean Canadian Cultural Association, and All TV.

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