In Seoul, South Korea, at the Jongmyo shrine, a royal ancestral ritual of prescribed music and dance is performed annually. The tradition to praise and honor the ancestors of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) has been kept for over 600 years. This dance form, called ilmu, which translates as “line dance” or “one dance,” requires 64 dancers positioned in eight lines of eight moving as one in restrained unison. Wearing long, full, colored robes and carrying symbolic props in their hands, the dancers perform the slow, controlled, set sequences reinforcing Confucian ideals—order, harmony of yin and yang, and filial piety—in the service of societal stability. Similar rituals were originally practiced in China as well, but the practices were discontinued there with the abolition of the monarchy.
The son of a painter and a set designer, director/choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot was, it seems, destined to have a life in the theater. Born and raised in Tours, in central France, in 1960, he studied dance and piano at the Conservatoire Nacional de Région de Tours before joining the Rosella Hightower International School of Dance in Cannes.Plus
One would think that a dance inspired by the events of the January 6 insurrection—yes, a dance!—would not be the ideal stuff of theater, but the eight members of Laurie Sefton Creates (formerly Clairobscur Dance Company), succeeded in giving life to Sefton’s premiere “Herd. Person?”, while the dance, itself, was occasionally problematic.Plus