Skip to main content

The Thundering Roar - Mi Young Kim Korean Dance Company

The Thundering Roar
Mi Young Dance Company
Tonight (January 9) - Toronto Centre for the Arts, 7:30pm

In the programme for Thundering Roar, Mi Young Kim says her intent is "to show my audience the great range of style and dynamics in Korean dance", and I think the show lives up to that principle. From the slower, more contemplative mood of the opening half to a rousing, colourful finish, I left feeling I'd been shown just that.

Korean dance is often about storytelling, and the first half of the show tended to stay in that mode. The dancers were largely in white - flowing white robes, white caps, with an occasional bright red sash, or black sleeves. Only the hands, and dramatic outlines of the faces are visible. The robes themselves become part of their deliberate movements, either singly or in groups. Heung Sup So took the male role in Mong Yeong (A Love in Dream), a narrative piece. In Crossing, Kim teams up with Sashar Zarif, a proponent of Azerbaijani dance. It's a work that examines the affinities between Korean Buddhist dance, and the shamanic rituals of Korean and Iranian traditions. Zarif, by the way, has a remarkable history, having immigrated to Canada in 1988 from Turkey as a stateless refugee of the UN. Having lived in India, Azerbaijan and Iran, among others, he blends those traditions into a style he calls his own. The stylistic similarities between the swirling movements - including robes - and use of percussion and dance together made for a thought provoking piece.

The second half was more colourful, both in costumes and intent, including drum dances both solo and in company with the Jianggo, an hourglass shaped drum, (in the images, Kim performs a solo changgochum at SooRyu 2007). A highlight was five of the ladies doing a drum dance in synch - you can check out a clip of the company doing a similar dance here at SooRyu 2006, Kim's annual Korean dance event.

The most modern of traditions was featured in the form of B-boys from the Hip Hop Symphony, a quartet of young men who know how to put on an energetic performance. In the end, the elegant ladies and street dancing boys get together for Soo Ryu Drum Dance in a finale that ends on a real high note.

Kim notes that many of the pieces are yet works in progress, but they're polished enough for an enjoyable start to your Saturday night if you're so inclined.

Comments

What Else Is Hot This Week?

Jazzy Pop: Shihori - Soul Trip (Independent / 4 September 2020)

Jazzy Pop:
Shihori - Soul Trip
(Independent / 4 September 2020)New York City based singer and songwriter Shihori's new single Soul Trip is atmospheric and ambient. Interesting rhythms and interwoven melodic vocal lines showcase jazzy harmonic progressions in a slow groove mode. 
As a songwriter, she uses electronic effects with impeccable musical taste. As a singer, her flexible vocals range from a sweet soprano to a strong mid-range.A veteran of the Japanese pop scene, Shihori moved to New York City in 2018, a move she talks about in a media release."I was so surprised when I came to NY for the first time. Independent and strong women are respected and there are lots of different preferences in music and style. I thought, 'oh my God! This place really accepts uniqueness and freedom! I didn't know there is a place like this totally different world that allows you to be yourself. Everybody looks so different. So many races, colors, cultures, fashion, ideas...I am so happy…

FACTORY presents World Premiere ACTS OF FAITH November 19 to 28 2020 - Free Livestream

From a media release:World Premiere
FACTORY presents 
ACTS OF FAITHby David Yee
Directed by Nina Lee Aquino
Starring Natasha Mumba
November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM
Streamed live for 6 performances
Free of charge
TORONTO (October 19, 2020) - To kick off its groundbreaking 2020/21 season, Factory presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19-28, 2020. 
Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond.acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in a digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a questionable r…

Psychedelic Punk Rock | Lord Sonny the Unifier: (All My Friends Live) Underground (Independent / 25 September 2020)

Psychedelic Punk Rock
Lord Sonny the Unifier: (All My Friends Live) Underground
(Independent / 25 September 2020)Stream it on SpotifyLayers of rhythm and percussive piano characterize this earworm track from Brooklyn's Lord Sonny the Unifier. With spooky harmonies and guitar that is all distortion with a psychedelic vibe, it's a compelling single for the time. Sonny builds the track with an almost orchestral sensibility to a big sound finish.
Greg Jiritano, the main impetus behind Lord Sonny, talked about the song in a media release."(All My Friends Live) Underground is a song about iconoclasts and outsiders who find their group of freaks, or Tribe in the shadows and underbelly, outside the conventions of  society. It's a calling to join us and leave behind  what society has embraced as the norms and the acceptable, the well trod path above. Leave the trivialities being thrust upon us since birth and join our Tribe and rediscover there the truths that will enrich you and…

Alt Country | Doc Straw & the Scarecrows: Get on By (Independent / July 31, 2020)

Alt Country
Doc Straw & the Scarecrows: Get on By
(Independent / July 31, 2020)Stream it on SpotifyClever lyrics that tell a story and an appealing acoustic bounce give the new single by Doc Straw & the Scarecrows a classic modern folk vibe. The vocal harmonies are pleasing and the words are an upbeat ode to persevering during tough times.
It's a timely message, and Doc talked about it in a release."I wrote this song after getting off of a 3-hour long phone conversation with my sister, Jessica, and a lot of our conversation that evening  centered around some of the tougher things in life and how we were dealing with these struggles. If a person lives long enough then at some point they will experience these trying seasons. I've learned that it's important to pay attention during those times because that is when we have some of the best opportunities to grow."It has a nicely haunting harmonica line and builds to an emotional peak. Virginia based Mike Straw is…

Recently Released | The smallest Creature: Magic Beans (Independent / 30 September 2020)

Recently Released
The smallest Creature: Magic Beans
(Independent / 30 September 2020)Stream it on SpotifyWith influences from The Beatles to Alice in Chains, The smallest Creature's Magic Beans is an album of alt-rock with an intimate, almost alt-folk feel to it. The lyrics are poetic and integral to the song, lit up with tight chops and accomplished musicality.
Would You Blink has a nice sense of urgency and a driving rhythm, contrasted by October Song, something of an old blues song with a 21st century rock makeover. Their grunge influences come to the fore in Glow, with Let Burn another guitar-heavy rocker. The band goes softer in Break Me, an acoustic song that spotlights Stefanos Marnerides' soft tenor. The smallest Creature hail from Larnaca in Cyprus in the sunny Mediterranean. The smallest Creature is the brainchild of Stefanos Marnerides, with the name starting off as an alias in NYC where Stefanos was performing solo gigs and recording demos. When later Stefanos moved …