Sunday, 30 August 2009

‘A Scoop of Korea’: Bringing Korea to the Heart of London

‘A Scoop of Korea’ is being held as a part of The Mayor’s Thames Festival, a spectacular, free celebration of London and its river, taking place on 12th and 13th September 2009. It is presented by the Korean Cultural Centre (Director: Kyu Hak Choi) and sponsored by the Korea Tourism Organisation. ‘A Scoop of Korea’ will take place at The Scoop at More London; it will feature over 60 artists and performers direct from Korea to showcase the best of traditional and contemporary Korean culture.

This is the third year that the Korean Cultural Centre (KCC) has brought Korean performances to the Mayor’s Thames Festival and it has helped to build lasting relations between the Thames Festival Trust and the Hi Seoul Festival held in Korea. The 2009 programme is the most ambitious yet in terms of the diversity of the acts that will be shown. Performances will include traditional Korean dance, and a demonstration of Korea’s national sport – Taekwondo. There will also be a master class in Korean Cooking by the Institute of Traditional Korean Food and a screening of a Korean film. The highlight of the weekend will be the performance of Monsters’ Theatre from SOREA – a fusion of contemporary music played on traditional Korean instruments with hip hop beats and break dancing.

Traditional Korean dance has its roots in shamanistic rituals of 3,000 years ago, and has since developed a wide range of folk and modern dances. Performers from the Korean Traditional Music Association will perform a total of nine dances and audiences will be able to enjoy the internationally acclaimed Fan Dance which uses fans decorated with pink peony blossoms.

In contrast to this, Monsters’ Theatre from SOREA will showcase a performance that pioneers the new age of Korean music and performing arts. SOREA was recognised as the leading creative music group of Korea when it was awarded the Gold Award at the Creative Korean Classical Music Competition in 2005. In 2006, it was selected by the Korea Creative Content Agency to perform at the International Music Exhibition MIDEM in France. During the 2006 World Cup in Germany, the group was invited by the organisers of FIFA Fan Fest to perform throughout Germany. At ‘A Scoop of Korea’, SOREA will give a performance of its latest project. Monsters’ Theatre is a new performance developed by SOREA, and the performers – known as ‘Jammers’ – present a fresh take on Korean performing arts by combining taekwondo, break dancing, percussion and comedy.

In recent years there has been growing interest in Korean cuisine and the health benefits of following a Korean diet. The Institute of Traditional Korean Food will introduce a definitive collection of Korean dishes to the audience and demonstrate how to make them. There will also be a mock Procession of the Emperor of Korea to demonstrate traditional dining etiquettes.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art that can trace its roots to 50 B.C., and it is the world’s most popular martial art with an estimated 50 million practitioners worldwide. At ‘A Scoop of Korea’ over 20 members from the Korea National Sport University Taekwondo team will perform high-flying kicks, acrobatic flips and board-breaking. The team will also demonstrate some practical self defense techniques.

In the evening there will be an open air screening of ‘The Good, The Bad, The Weird’ (Director: Kim Ji-woon). The film was inspired by Sergio Leone's ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ and contains exciting action scenes based in the wilderness of Manchuria.

‘A Scoop of Korea’ is a celebration of Korea’s cultural diversity, and it will provide a supreme opportunity to Londoners and international visitors at the Mayor’s Thames Festival to immerse themselves in Korean culture.

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