Dancing with an open mind, without vanity or greed, and realize that as an artist you have to be even more honest to yourself and to others, because of life itself. Decoding shared experiences with the audience as a form of feedback. Meet Project UNIT 828 384 – the Korean choreographers Jo Hyun Sang, Kil Seo Young, Lee Jung In and Lee Seung Ju, who’ll arrive for “NIGHT / Plovdiv” to jointly present their project “Common Ground” with ATOM Theatre. It is part of the special program “Open Arts” and you’ll be able to see live fragments of original pieces of their works “Kafka on the Road”, “In the Box (ing),”Impossibility in Its Purest Form.” The event will be held in the unique atmosphere of the Small Early Christian basilica in Plovdiv , where movements will redefine spaces, and layers of ancient history will connect with the layers of ancient human soul through dance.
What does “Project UNIT 828384” stand for and are there particular impressions or feelings you’d like people to take away from your work?
We are interested in the small things in life. We do not want to do big glossy performances. As we already know, there are many things what we can share together. Movements and effects are just action. We should open our eyes and mind to find new sense, to try to feel how energy flows around us, so we can connect to others by one and the same experience.
Which themes you find most challenging and inspiring to explore in your dance performances and why?
Nowadays we are very focused on sharing. When we perform, we do not want to press for an answer from the audience. Rather, we want to hear what people are saying and thinking, then collecting these impressions and then transform them through creative acts. We love to meet new people and gain experience at unknown areas. We think shared experiences are a great form of feedback. They give us a new direction and make us better.
Dance is often described as an art form pushing its boundaries and arguing with itself. Do you agree?
For many years, perhaps since we started doing dance productions we have been asking ourselves: “What are we doing here?”, “Why do we do what we do?”. What do you think then happened? Did we have a solution for these fluctuations or a new idea? No. So we abandoned this line of thinking and just went ahead. If you focus on something to create, you need to find it obsessionally. Of course, there will always be someone who loves to measure dance work, but you have to accept it and try to think about it differently (if possible – positively). The most important thing is not to lose focus of what you want to do. When you do this – then there will be more storms within. And it would be a good sign. Because you’ll be ready to talk or argue about things you would do with joy.
Your performance in Plovdiv will take place in the Small Basilica. To what degree are you influenced by the space where you perform and the energy of the present public?
Only one of us has been to Plovdiv, which was four years ago for sightseeing. It will be their first visit to the city for the others. We have already received photos, videos, etc, but it is not enough cause we don‘t have direct approach to the place. We will however try to create the connection between dance and space in our imagination. We find deep inspiration in historical locations and this will surely help us create a good atmosphere at “NIGHT”. We expect to accumulate synergistic effects of performances there. Let’s see if this will become true.
Could you share your impressions of the Bulgarian dance scene and the local artists you have worked/work with so far?
Last April, Project Unit 828 384 had a joint performance with ATOM Theatre at HOUSE Creative Hub. There we had an open show after we finished our residency program at Euro Culture pays getanie in France. For us this was an amazing experience, at heart. Since our stay in Sofia was short, not many people were able to see us, but after this performance, we shared many details of our work with attendee, and the way we create our dance productions. We must admit that we were quite surprised. Lord! When these young people came to see us, they started talking to us with their eyes twinkling bout their feelings, ideas, doubts … It was a brilliant and impressive moment for us. We were able to establish a deep connection with each other, despite the language barrier and our different cultures. Lee Jung In worked in Bulgaria three years ago, but said that she never managed to feel something quite like this back then.
We are sure that young Bulgarian dancers can change many things with their own value as artistsWe have already seen it and really support them on this path. ATOM Theatre and Project Unit 828384 have established a good friendship and will continue to work in the same line of strong cooperation for the future. We hope that we will be able to present a new vision for collaborations in the arts between South Korea and Bulgaria.
And finally – which are the traits that the greatest dancers have in common and what makes your heart skip a beat when you watch someone else dance?
Just to keep an open mind and have no vanity. As artists, we should be more honest – for us, for you, because of life itself. If dance without vanity and greed, we can provoke and society will share our vision of life. We need to broaden our outlook and not narrow our consciousness, because there is much more to the world around us than we know.
Programme “Open Arts”, 23 and 24 September
The Small Basilica, Maria Luisa Blvd. 31
23 and 24 September from 21:00 to 22:00 – Common Ground
Artists: АТОМ Theatre and Project UNIT 828384 (Jo Hyun Sang, Kil Seo Young, Lee Jung In, Lee Seung Ju)
Project UNIT 828384 is a cooperation of Korean choreographers, that work in the field of contemporary dance in different parts of the world. The project that brought them together was an artist residence in France in 2016 where they worked on works by Kafka. ATOM Theater is based in Sofia, Bulgaria and is a group of young Bulgarian artists who work in the field of contemporary dance. Project UNIT 828384 and ATOM Theatre met in 2016, when Project UNIT 828384 presented their work at АТОМ`s studio in Sofia. The two teams worked together very successfully and decided to continue with other projects. The first of them is “Common Ground” for the festival Night/Plovdiv 2016.
“Silence” (Solo, 13 min) – Choreograph: Jo Hyun Sang
The moment I am alone after a storm. I am surrounded only by silence, emptiness and lost feelings. At this moment I can`t move at all, even the smallest finger. And yet this is the biggest opportunity for me. In this moment I could become stronger and can prepare myself for a bigger storm. The silence is a powerful and sacred moment in the time.
“Kafka on the road” (Solo, 12 min) – Choreograph: Kil Seo Young
A point of reference for the work is an inspiration from Kafka`s novel. I apply tortuous values in a conflict with the body image. I combined organically breath, energy and emotion. I develop the construction of the body that reach this point of state and I will make an attempt to restore the order of body, spirit and soul, to integrate the body and the mind and to enjoy the moment. I concentrate on the attempt to express the vital energy generated by the moment of the dancing.
“Drifting Island” (Solo, 13 min) – Choreograph: Lee Jung In
The delicate emotion – known by the sensitive sensation from the deep gap. I stay on a drifting land, I touch dry sand and smell the rain in the air. The silence is broken by a sound of scratch. I am there and I am not. I step into the water and slowly shake the body… like a dance.
“In the box(ing)” (Solo, 8 min) – Choreograph: Lee Seung Ju
Limited space, hesitation, contraction, light, spread.
“Impossibility in its purest form” (A dance fragment, 13 min) – Choreograph: Stefania Georgieva
The piece is inspired by the work of the painter Maurits Cornelis Escher. The bodies examine the impossibility like a kind of hope, longing, desire and at the same time like wickedness, destruction, fecklessness, and impossibility.