Korean dancer-choreographer Hong Sunmi taking the world by storm

 Korean dancer-choreographer Hong Sunmi taking the world by storm

Some dance for money, some dance for fame and then there are some are like Hong Sunmi who dance for the love of the art and dedicate their entire life to live their passion on and off the dance floor. A Korean dancer-choreographer, Sunmi is one of the most renowned and recognised faces in the world of contemporary dance in Asia. He is now making a mark in the other continents too.
I met this super dynamic teacher of dance in Egypt while we were both conducting our respective workshops in Cairo and since then I have been admiring her unmatched talent. She recently organised the very successful Seoul Dance Play (SDP) International Festival, I spoke with her about her journey. Excerpts:

Tell us about your dance training and your dance company?
I majored in Modern Dance (contemporary) and studied it for many years. I studied at Ewha Womans University and during the initial days of my dance career I was adjunct professor at Sahmyook University. Currently, I work as a professor, choreographer, director, dancer and art director. I am the CEO of Korea Dance Play Association and Director of Seoul Dance Play International Festival. My dance company always pursues a dance drama with a message, as I believe that art is worthless without any messages/ At my dance company, which was founded way back in 1997, we make sure that each dance recital ends with a meaning and we work hard to send the message loud and clear.

hong Sunmi

You have performed all over the world, which has been your most favourite performance and why?
Oh yes, I have performed all over the world and each country has left a significant mark in my heart and mind. But the most unforgettable and the most memorable experience is my mother’s pot that I performed in Morocco. We had an unbelievable audience from 17 different countries who cried out loud; the way the emotions were conveyed and the dance was understood it was truly magical. It was more meaningful for me to be on the show with my daughter, who was the actress in the show. Thinking of the audience response still gives me goose bumps.

Dancers from which country have fascinated you the most?|
Through my dance workshops, shows, events, performances and festivals I have been fortunate to teach and work with some brilliant talents from all over the globe. But there was an African dance teacher I saw in America and that was the most memorable time. I had chased her rhythm and excitement right behind her. I am very captivated, intrigued and very interested in the movement by and of the black people. The way they move and dance it is incredible and totally spell bounding.

hong Sunmi

Tell us more about your recent festival, why did you organise it and how did it come around?
The Seoul Dance Play International Festival (SDP) began in 2017. It was created in the hope that artists from each country could interact. Like my art museum, I want to collaborate with other genres such as dance and theatre. I hope that the genre of dance will also be explored in the work. Dancer teachers from France, Russia, Thailand, Japan and Spain were a part of our festival. It was a great success and people from all over the globe were a part of it and appreciated our efforts and loved each day of it but I still feel we are a small size festival and we have a lot more to achieve.

How were Covid times for you as a dance company and how is the situation now?
The COVID-19 period was financially very difficult. I had to cancel a performance, for which I had even bought the plane tickets at the last moment. I was so disappointed that I stopped teaching as well. But like they say there is always a brighter day after a dark night, now, the performances are back and are keeping my team and me extremely busy. Though Economic difficulties still remain, but we are overcoming the crisis with passion to be on the stage. I look forward to continuing the festival, shows and performances for dancers of my country Korea and other world dancers too.

hong Sunmi

What are your future plans?
I have next series of shows lined up in France and Germany, post that the same work will be performed in Italy and Spain too, so in a way it will a Europe tour of my dance shows and workshops. But you know I really am very enthralled by India and Indian culture and I surely want to perform in India once. Plus, I want to invite great artists from India to my festival and have a wonderful exchange program as well. I have always had huge plans for my dance company and it is being done little by little, one step at a time.
We did some online or like we call it non-face-to-face workshops this year, but I look forward to meeting many more artists next year.
I am also looking at more funding for my festival so that I can make it bigger and better, I feel It has not been able to expand much because it has not received much funding yet. But I never give up I will surly make it happen soon. I am also going to Cairo, Egypt for a dance drama workshop then to Spain too, my calendar is full but I always find time to create new and more performances. I hope to be a good partner in the future for many dance festivals all over the world.

Sandip Soparrkar holds a doctorate in world mythology folklore from Pacifica University USA, an honorary doctorate in performing arts from the National American University, He is a World Book Record holder,
a well-known Ballroom dancer and a Bollywood choreographer who has been honored with three National Excellence awards, one National Achievement Award and Dada Saheb Phalke award by the
Government of India. He can be contacted on [email protected]




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