Yo! Dance for Love!A new form of musical, the "dancecal" Sa choom
Yoo Ji-hyun Cub Reporter  |
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승인 2006.04.01  00:00:00
트위터 페이스북 구글 카카오스토리

PLEASE TURN off your cell phone during the performance. Or not," says a flashing neon sign at the beginning of the performance. Unlike most other performances, it also mercifully allows picture taking and even encourages yelling and shouting during the performance. The performance Sa Choom declares freedom to all people who come to see the show. Sa Choom is an abbreviation for its Korean title that can be translated into "If You Are in Love, Dance." As the title suggests clearly enough, this  is a performance full of dancing and love.


  The form of the performance is as free as it allows its audience to be. Deviating from the traditional form of usual plays and even musicals, Sa Choom creates a whole new genre called "dancecal." "The word dancecal is partly a play on words: We previously called it a dance musical but we gave it the new name 'dancecal.' It satisfies the many people who wish to distinguish it from the general division of musical," explains Choi Kang-il, the director of the performance. Choi, who majored in play directing, says that he got his idea from a foreign ballet-and-tap-combined performance. "It made me wonder why we don't have our own dance performances. We can do much more than that. I wanted to challenge the world. I wanted to pursue our own dance culture from heung" (heung meaning the Korean traditional emotion of merriment).

  Not a complex story, but direct passion

  As it has to convey the entire story through dance, the performance cannot hold a complex plot. However, it is much more dedicated than other plays in expressing the feelings and emotions of the characters. As a character comically introduces the play in the beginning, the storyline can be summarized into a couple of sentences: "Some people are born, they grow. And.... that's about it." However, the overflowing passion from the dances fills the space of the storyline. Every second of the 100 minute dancecal conveys varying levels of emotion, and especially a great amount of passion and love. From the start, it shows the love between two people who come together to form a life. The children who are born grow up to also experience their own love. The dancecal portrays three children at three different stages in life:ages 7, 15, and 19 -and the love story associated with each stage of life. The whole dancecal is devoted expressing love.

  Diversity of dance

  In order to express the love in different stages of our lives, the performance makes use of diverse types of dance. Not only does it introduce several genres such as jazz, hip-hop, tap, break dancing, and modern dance, but it also presents these styles in numerous ways. The most unique presentation would be the "life dance" which portrays the race between the sperm and the union of one sperm with the egg. Also, the lantern dance is another presentation that mesmerizes the audience. It looks like a fire show, but done with lanterns instead of fire. In addition, in order to show the love and passion between the lovers, the play uses couples in dances that include many techniques like enlevement, the dance technique where a male dancer holds his partner in the air.

▲ The "Sperm Dance" expresses the process of birth.
  Heat from the audience

  Another attraction of Sa Choom is the fact that it is not just a performance to watch. It is one to actually join in. The dancers hold events to get some of the audience to come up on the stage and perform small actions, such as skits or movements. Though shy at first, the chosen ones experience great satisfaction as they find themselves
performing what they never dreamed of. Also, at the end, all the people are led to stand up to dance to the main song of the dancecal. Although it is somewhat unfortunate that the space is not big enough for people to dance freely, smiles still show on their faces as they shyly imitate the dance on a smaller scale. The director also explains that his first intention was to make the whole audience stand the whole time, so they can participate more in the dance. However, he changed his plan considering the lengthy performance.

▲ The young pranksters are also shown on stage.
  Non-verbal play

  Communication scientists say that only twenty five percent of communication is done through language. The rest is done through non-verbal factors like facial and body expressions. Sa Choom proves it well by introducing a brand new genre of the performing arts. People who are not familiar with this kind of presentation might be confused at first by its lack of linguisting expressions. However, a spectator who understands how much people can express their feelings without words will be able to feel mesmerizing passion through the dances. Maybe that is why Choi, the director, once said "Dancing is the most honest language of all."

▲ Passionate love is expressed through the sensual couple dances.


  Q: How long do the dancers prepare for the performance? Do they ever complain about too much practice?
Sa Choom has been edited and based on a previous dancecal I produced called Dancer Edison. It took about 5 months for the dancers to work on Dancer Edison, and one and a half months to work on Sa Choom. It is a lot of work for the dancers of course, but they have never complained about it. They love dancing. They enjoy performing because they can express themselves through dancing. These days when there are performances in production, they spend more time on stretching and general health maintenance.

  Q: You majored in Play Directing, but your performance covers a lot of dance aspects. Do you have a lot of knowledge about dancing, and can you also dance?
Ironically, I cannot dance at all. My dance ability is worse than horrible; however, I can tell the difference between bad and good dancing. I do not have to show the dance myself while directing, so my dancing ability fortunately has not been a barrier.

The "dancecal" Sa Choom
Dec. 2 2005~ May 28 2005
SH club, Daehakro


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