Friday, March 6, 2009

The NYT reviews "Kisaeng becomes you"

The Gray Lady has a dance review on "Kisaeng becomes you," a collaboration of Dean Moss and Yoon Jin Kim. It's very gushing, like an arts review for people who read arts reviews:
How did they develop the idea of the kisaeng, Korea’s answer to the geisha, with their intense and isolating training and lowly status, into a surprisingly natural metaphor for contemporary-dance artists? Which decided to roll the dice every night and gamble the entire show on several dazzling, sophisticated bursts of audience participation?

Who selected the five striking Korean performers, and who thought, Aha!, let’s throw a Janis Joplin song into a mix that includes biting kisaeng love poems, original music by Okkyung Lee and what appear to be Korean pop songs?
I finished reading and still had no clear idea what the performance was about, but that may have been intended. I only post it here because (a) this kind of thing represents a secondary ripple of the Korean Wave and (b) I want to give kudos to the New York Times for going with McCune-Reischauer spelling (other wise it would have been gisaeng). Kisae

Oh, and I wouldn't exactly call the kisaeng "the answer" to the geisha. It's not like Koreans looked across the Tsushima Strait and said, "Damn, we gotta get some of those." (Kisaeng, by the way, is spelled 기생/ 妓生.)

[above: It might be worth the price of admission just to figure out just what the hell is going on here.]

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