All photos by Chantelle D’mello
Hundreds of residents and dignitaries gathered at the Katara Drama Theater yesterday to witness a unique mash-up of traditional Korean dance and contemporary breakdancing.
The performance was part of a three-country Korea-Arab Friendship Caravan, a roaming dance troupe that will also perform in the UAE and Lebanon, as part of an effort to highlight the cultural relationship between South Korea and the Arab world.
Organizers turned away more than 100 people waiting at the venue’s atrium last night, as the theater was packed to capacity.
— كتارا | Katara (@kataraqatar) October 9, 2015
The performance is part of many such events held at Katara over the last few years that aim to introduce – most notably – Asian culture to Qatar residents.
Last night’s almost two-hour long performance opened with a traditional Korean fan dance or Buchaechum, where female dancers donned brightly-colored hanboks and jukseons, traditional fans made out of bamboo shoots and paper made from mulberry trees and adorned with pink peony blossoms.
The dancers moved fluidly, gracefully transitioning from mimicking shapes of flowers to those of birds and waves throughout the dance.
The beginning was followed by a rhythmic percussion performance, Jindo Buk-chum, part of a drum dance originating in Korea’s Jindo Province.
The traditional dances culminated in a dynamic performance of the Nongak-mu by the Gyeonggido Korean Dance Company.
The dance, which can be traced back to a folk game among farming communities in rural Korea, involved both male and female drummers and dancers tapping out beats, jumping, whirling and moving in patterns around the stage.
The troupe was led by a dancer wielding a kkwaenggwari, a small handheld gong, and included other dancers playing the janggu (hourglass drum), buk (barrel drum) and jing (gong).
The performances concluded with creative breakdance moves by the Korean B-Boy team Expression Crew under the banner of “Marionette.”
Dancers popped, locked, somersaulted and created elaborate human pyramids, seemingly controlled by a master puppeteer, to carnivalesque music.
The team then moved onto a unique black-light performance that blended moves from Michael Jackson with art and contemporary breakdance, before ending with a vibrant performance of Pharrell Williams’ Happy.
Did you watch the show? Thoughts?