The Place, London
May 3, 2023
A Complementary Set: Disappearing with an Impact by Choi x Kang Project is more of an experimental performance than a dance show. In fact, the dance consists of very few, repetitive movements, all choreographed and performed by Min-sun Choi and Jin-an Kang
They reveal these to the audience, and to the camera that Taekyung Kim, also on stage, carries with her. She records those parts of the choreography that seem interesting to her, while playing with the zoom and angles to make it more captivating.
Then, everything resets to the beginning. The choreography restarts while the filmed material from the previous run plays on a monitor at the side of the stage. With each iteration, the dancers change some elements of the choreography. They adapt it so that what is seen on screen can be seen at the same time on stage, but the two are never quite the same. Sometimes, the zoomed in part is the same but what happens with the rest of their body is different. Other times, they introduce props to make the same noise or light effect.
As the dance and film evolve, it’s like some sort of co-evolution. It brings interesting perspectives that free the imagination. It also brought laughter to the audience on more than one occasion, as well as reminding us that what we see on screen is usually very much different from what is happening in real life.
A Complementary Set: Disappearing with an Impact is not a show for fans of technique-oriented dance, but certainly one for those who like to explore new ideas and see how different arts come together.
Art Project BORA is known to break out of conventional concepts and styles by exploring new movement, images and colours. In that sense, Byeol Yang, presented by two marvelous dancers in Yejin Suh and Seungri Sohn, redesigns the way in which two humans can interact.
If I were to explain this with no context, I would say I saw two aliens have different sorts of exchange. But let me elucidate. During the dance, there is a sense of exploring the most unfamiliar ways in which a body can twist and bend and connect with another. The dancers seemed engage in a conversation with their bodies that none of us could explain. They explored not only the mobility of their limbs but also their rib cage and torso, their hair, their toes… Every single little muscle and part of their bodies contributed to the dance and discussion as the sensational duo made them stretch or tremble at will.
The mainly contemporary style also makes use of many gymnastics and distorted classical ballet elements that contribute to break expectations of the limits of the human body. Disappointingly, the choreography seems to lack changes of dynamic, the choreography keeping a regular tempo and the same plastic quality most of the time, however. The music, by Jaeduk Kim, contributes to this monotonous feel. Nonetheless, there are many surprising moments and figures that astonish and sometimes make one even confused or a bit uneasy.
Byeol Yang ends quite suddenly. The dancers leave the stage while the music keeps playing, leading the audience to believe a big finale is coming. The awaited return does happen, but only for bows, the music still playing in the background. Despite several reservations, it is an interesting experience thanks to the dancers and their incredible technique and control. They were the highlight of the evening.