Korean Dance Among Highlights of Asia-Pacific Dance Festival

Two rep­re­sen­ta­tions of Kore­an dance will be among the per­for­mances fea­tured in the Asia-Pacif­ic Dance Fes­ti­val at Kennedy The­atre on the UH Mānoa cam­pus Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, July 30 – 31, 2011. Along with Kore­an dance, the fes­ti­val will present works from Japan, Oki­nawa, India, the Philip­pines, and Hawai’i.

Fea­tured dancers and chore­o­g­ra­phers for the Kore­an por­tions of the pro­gram include Mary Jo Fresh­ley, dancers from the Hal­la Huhm Kore­an Dance Stu­dio, and Ellen Cho.

Per­for­mances are at 7:30 p.m. on Sat­ur­day, July 30, and at 2:00 p.m. on Sun­day, July 31. The Sun­day mat­inée will be fol­lowed by a free pub­lic forum in the Gar­den Din­ing Rooms of the East-West Center’s Imin Cen­ter (Jef­fer­son Hall) begin­ning at 4:45 p.m. and includ­ing UHM pro­fes­sor of anthro­pol­o­gy and author Chris­tine Yano; UCLA pro­fes­sor and for­mer dance crit­ic David Gere; and many of the chore­o­g­ra­phers and dancers. 

Tick­ets range from $5 to $25 and are avail­able at www.etickethawaii.com/orc.html or call (808) 944‑2697 or vis­it any UH Tick­et out­let. For more infor­ma­tion, vis­it www.outreach.hawaii.edu/community or call (808) 956‑8246.

The first Kore­an selec­tion on the progam is Alo­ha Kim­chee Nori, fea­tur­ing a tra­di­tion­al chore­og­ra­phy adapt­ed and arranged by Mary Jo Fresh­ley and includ­ing non­gak vari­a­tions taught by Hal­la Pai Huhm, Kim Duk-soo, and Kim Pyŏng-sŏp; samul­nori taught by Kim Duk-soo; and the hula chore­og­ra­phy of Nona Beam­er. Music includes Kore­an drum rhythms taught by Hal­la Pai Huhm, Kim Duk-soo, and Kim Pyŏng-sŏp and Kahuli Aku, a tra­di­tion­al Hawai­ian chant. The dancers will be Fresh­ley and stu­dents of the Hal­la Huhm Kore­an Dance Studio.

The oth­er Kore­an item on the pro­gram is SÅ­ngmu and an excerpt from Inter­sti­tial Space. The chore­og­ra­phy for SÅ­ngmu is by Yi Mae-bang, as taught by Kim Myo-sŏn in 1995; the excerpt from Inter­sti­tial Space was chore­o­graphed by Jen­nifer Lin (2010). The music for the Inter­sti­tial Space excerpt, Walk­ing in Small Steps, was record­ed by Sagye Kayagum Ensem­ble. The per­form­ers will be, for SÅ­ngmu, Mary Jo Fresh­ley and Ellen Cho and for Inter­sti­tial Space, Ellen Cho.

Mary Jo Fresh­ley is the cur­rent direc­tor of the Hal­la Huhm Kore­an Dance Stu­dio and con­tin­ues the lega­cy of the studio’s founder, Hal­la Pai Huhm (1922 – 1994). Huhm began her stud­ies of dance with Pae Ku-ja in Japan pri­or to immi­grat­ing to Hawai‘i. She returned to Korea on numer­ous occa­sions to learn from such mas­ters as court dancer Kim Ch’ŏn-hÅ­ng and shaman Lee Ji-san. Like Huhm, Fresh­ley has con­tin­ued her own stud­ies by fre­quent­ly vis­it­ing Korea to study with Kim Ch’ŏn-hÅ­ng and such rec­og­nized drum­ming spe­cial­ists as Kim Duk-soo, founder of the renowned orig­i­nal samul­nori group, and Kim Pyŏng-sŏp, rec­og­nized non­gak per­former and teacher. Also like Huhm, Fresh­ley works to retain the dis­tinc­tive char­ac­ter­is­tics of tra­di­tion­al dances she has learned as well as to cre­ate new works in a man­ner that respects their sources.

Ellen Cho stud­ied Kore­an dance, bal­let, and mod­ern dance in Korea before immi­grat­ing to Hawai‘i in 1998. Since then her inter­ests have expand­ed to include such forms as jazz and hip-hop. She has con­tin­ued her stud­ies of Kore­an dance with Mary Jo Fresh­ley at the Hal­la Huhm Dance Stu­dio and of bal­let and mod­ern dance at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, where she earned her B.A. in dance.

Pro­gram notes for the per­for­mances were writ­ten by Cen­ter for Kore­an Stud­ies emeri­ta fac­ul­ty mem­ber Judy Van Zile, who is serv­ing as artis­tic and human­i­ties con­sul­tant for the festival.

Asia-Pacif­ic Dance Fes­ti­val: The Cross­roads of Con­tem­po­rary and Tra­di­tion­al Dance is pre­sent­ed by the UHM Out­reach Col­lege with fund­ing pro­vid­ed by the Hawai‘i Pacif­ic Rim Soci­ety; Friends of Hawai‘i Char­i­ties; con­trib­u­tors to the East-West Cen­ter Foun­da­tion, includ­ing mem­bers of the EWC Arts ‘Ohana; the UHM Cen­ters for Kore­an Stud­ies, Japan­ese Stud­ies, and Philip­pines Stud­ies; the UHM Diver­si­ty and Equi­ty Ini­tia­tive; the Hawai‘i Coun­cil for the Human­i­ties; and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Stu­dent Activ­i­ty and Pro­gram Fee Board.