Reviews

SAI / IN BETWEEN presented by the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance MFA | April 27-28, 2018

Just as every city necessitates its own sense of design, just as every language produces its own rules for narrating the progression of time, every musical and choreographic tradition carries its own rhythmic patterns and its specific lexicon of movements.  It’s a realization that may be obvious to many, but one that is still worth restating: the singularity of each of these structural organizations is so radically localized that its by-product -- culture -- innately defies representation.  Instead, what we identify as the visual and performing arts is not so much the material representation of this culture, but rather an experiment in form, an activation of a political and social space, an entry into investigating theoretical questions that perhaps cannot be solely resolved within the limited purview of words.  

The nuance of this perspective is precisely where DaEun Jung’s practice as a dance maker, dancer, and teacher resides.  Her choreographic investigations are informed by her professional training in classical Korean dance, ballet, as well as modern and contemporary dance.  She also draws from her rich collaborations with artists and colleagues, such as Wilfried Souly, Chantal Cherry, as well as pansori singer Melody Shim.  Her recent work is informed by her ongoing experimentation with chance operations, as she works to transpose her muscle memory of culturally specific dance phrases into a set of standardized movements.  In a project (Byoul) presented at the REDCAT Studio in fall of 2016, Jung abstracted the most ubiquitous movements of her learned tradition, to correspond to the three morpho-syllabic blocks of the Korean alphabet. 

Jung continues this structural logic in both Invitation and 43152.  The former is proposed as a playful yet empathetic projection for how her contemporary body can respond to the polemics of our cultural climate today.  She invites and listens to a variety of vegetables, in a symbolic action that not only showcases her artistic mediation of learned tradition, but also inverts the power dynamics inherent in binary considerations of the subject and object.  Likewise, in 43152, Jung extends her sense of play to engage in a rhythmic dialogue with choreographer Wilfried Souly.  The title corresponds to a rhythmic pattern that was determined with the throw of a dice, so as to neutralize the dominance of one culturally informed rhythmic pattern over the other.   Within a contained space, marked by spatial and instructive parameters, the two dancers are able to explore their own traditions by improvising with the direction of a random operator. 

Invitation and 43152 will be debuted at the Glorya Kaufman Theatre on April 27 and 28 at 8pm, as part of the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance MFA showcase.  The evening program is entitled Sai (In Between), and will also include a presentation of Chantal Cherry’s Head Above Water and Our Bodies at Night.

 

Carolyn Park