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Sejong Summer Festival to turn Gwanghwamun Square into dancing clubBy Hwang Dong-hee
Published : Aug. 1, 2023 - 19:34
Seoul’s iconic Gwanghwamun Square is gearing up for a remarkable transformation into a space for dancing, DJ parties and an opera performance later this month.
The outdoor Sejong Summer Festival will be held under a “Groove” theme from Aug. 11 to Sept. 9, according to the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts on Monday. This is the first outdoor event organized by the Sejong Center in four years and the first since the pandemic.
Five performances are scheduled, with seating capacity ranging from 800 to 900 people for each performance. Sixty percent of the seats will be allotted for online reservations through the Sejong Center's official website, while 40 percent will be available at the site. All performances are free of charge.
The summer festival kicks off with Ahn Eun-me Dance Company's "Dance Dedicated to Ancestors," on Aug. 11-12.
Contemporary dancer-choreographer Ahn traveled across the country in 2010, collecting the rhythm and movements of older people who never had formal dance training, and incorporated them into her unique repertoire.
"(The story) is that anyone can enjoy dancing," said Ahn. "We hope the performance to become a club where three generations -- grandparents, mothers and their children -- can all enjoy and dance together."
Two electrifying DJ parties are scheduled for Aug. 18 and 19.
On Aug. 18, DJ Conan will throw a disco party with Disco Experience.
On Aug. 19, DJ Bagagee Viphex13 is to team up with DJ Koo, J.E.B and ZB for “Gwang.Nol” -- short for “Gwanghwamun Nolja,” meaning “Let’s play Gwanghwamun.”
“The charm of outdoor performances is that they can captivate passersby,” said Bagagee Viphex13. “We hope to attract even tourists at the square visiting Korea for the first time.”
Scheduled for Aug. 25-26, Ambiguous Dance Company has chosen padded jackets as the dress code for its new production, “Club Ambiguous Dance Company,” to beat the heat with more heat.
The same day when a heat wave warning was issued for Seoul, Kim Bo-ram, the artistic director of the dance company, was wearing a padded jacket for the announcement.
“If you can’t avoid the heat, why not enjoy it,” Kim said. “We plan to have a blast … I always thought about turning the city into a club. Seoul is the hottest city, so we’ll make the hottest club.”
For the closing weekend, Seoul Metropolitan Opera will grace the square on Sept. 8-9 with a 70-minute opera show of “Carmen,” featuring fire shows and aerial acrobatics.
“There is a perception that opera is boring and uninteresting, but we wanted to show that opera is the epitome of comprehensive art,” said director Park Hye-jin.
“The demand for arts has changed after the pandemic,” said Ahn Ho-sang, CEO of the Sejong Center for the Performing Arts. “Performing arts venues worldwide are offering free access to programs during the theater’s offseason. We seek to make a balance: During the regular season we offer excellent programs, and during the offseason we open the space to the people, providing them with diverse artistic experiences."
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