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Nov. 5, 2012
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SPAF and SIDance lead the rush of Korean festivals
One of the Republic of Korea’s largest performing arts festivals, the Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) organized by the ROK performing arts center HanPAC was held from Oct. 5-27, having opened with performances of (A)pollonia by the Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski. Held for the 12th time in 2012, the program included 27 works from the ROK and 12 nations including Poland, Germany, France and Japan among others. Works highlighting the program included Bernarda by Korea’s Nottle Theater company, The Odyssey again by the young Polish director Krzysztof Warlikowski, a Japan-Korea collaboration director by Korean Lee Ju Hyoung and Japanese choreographer Ney Hasegawa titled The Absence of the City, French choreographer Mathilde Monnier’s Soapéra, a collaboration between Japanese pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama and Dutch choreographer Nicole Beutler collaborative work White&Black and others. This time attention also focused on the works of new Korean choreographers in the selection performances of the Seoul Dance Collection organized by HanPAC.
This year’s 15th SIDance (Oct. 5 – 20) organized by the Korean center of the International Dance Association presented a program of invited works and international collaborations totaling 57 works by 53 groups from 16 countries. The festival opened with the Sweden’s Cullberg Ballet presenting three works including On stage. Other highlights included a collaborative production titled Double Exposure by Korean Ahn Sungsoo’s Pick Up Group and Finland’s contemporary circus company WHS; the Seoul Ballet Theater presents Community, the result of work with homeless people; France’s Nacera Belaza Company performed Le Temps scellé; Switzerland’s Compagnie 7273, winners of the Swiss Dance & Choreography Award in 2011, presented the work Nile; Israeli choreographer Yasmeen Godder presented the work Love Fire; and Canadian choreographer Daniel Léveillé presented Amour, Acide et Noix. The festival also has a strong program of international collaborations in its Asia-Africa-Eastern Europe Dance Exchange program and its Korea-Japan Project, in which Butoh dancer Yoshito Ohno participated this time.
During the same period, the Hi Seoul Festival (Oct. 1 – 7) organized by the city of Seoul, the Performing Arts Market Seoul (PAMS) (Oct. 8 – 12) and the Media City Seoul international exhibition of media art (Sept. 11 – Oct. 4) were all held in Seoul. Meanwhile, in other cities around the country festivals including the Gwangju Biennale of contemporary art (Sept. 7 – Nov. 11), the Busan Biennale (Sept. 7 – Nov. 24), the Project Daejeon (Sept. 19 – Nov. 18) and the Daegu Photo Biennale (Sept. 20 – Oct28) have been held.

Festival Outline
+ Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF)
Launched in 2001 after a merging of the Seoul Theater Festival (founded 1977) and the Seoul Dance Festival (founded 1978), the Seoul Performing Arts Festival (SPAF) is now an independent comprehensive theater and performing arts festival. Since 2011 it has received national government funding and organized by the South Korea’s HANPAC performing arts center. The artistic director for the dance program is Ahn Aesoon.
+ SIDance (Seoul International Dance Festival)
SIDance was first held in 1998 by the Seoul Section of the International Dance Council CID-UNESCO and since then has presented programs of 10 to 20 works each year involving around 100 performers from various countries and drawing an audience of over 10,000 annually. The artistic director is also SIDance’s founder, Lee Jong-Ho. In addition to the festival’s programs of invited works from Korea and abroad, it also puts major efforts into collaborative productions with overseas artists each year.