Like Fireworks, Like Butterflies (3 stars)

This article is from 2014

Like Fireworks, Like Butterflies

A Korean legend revisited through dance, storytelling and puppetry

Once described as 'the Isadora Duncan of Korea', Choi Seung-Hee's vibrant career is explored here, through dance, storytelling and puppetry.

Performer Kim Kyungmin selects an audience member to help her carry a suitcase, in which a box of letters is hidden. Once opened, she takes up the mantle of reviving Choi Seung-Hee's life in the 1920s, where she escaped to Japan to learn dance under the tutelage of acclaimed dancer Ishii Bangu.

Singing to alleviate her loneliness, Seung-Hee developed her own movement style and became a world wide star in the 40s, in spite of being criticised for not supporting any political ideology during the outbreak of World War II. Kyungmin blends traditional fan dancing with more playful, jazz-inflected choreography, showing the shifting nature of choreography.

Sexual and cultural stereotypes abound, which Seung-Hee rejects, declaring 'my body is my dance'; and symbols of freedom appear in the form of butterflies - her art as the true form of self-expression and release.

Some transitions are not always as smooth as they could be, and there are a couple of moments of melodrama, but Kyungmin is mesmerising and humorous, giving a passionate portrayal of a true trailblazer, dancing with precision, elegance and majesty.

The Space North Bridge, 0131 570 2386 4-16 Aug, 4 pm, £10 (£7).

Like Fireworks, Like Butterflies

  • 3 stars

Kkachidong Theatre Company A girl who went aboard alone to learn how to dance at the age of 16 in the 1920s, Choi Seunghee! Korea‘s legendary dancer, one of modern Korea’s original cultural icons. She pioneered the development of modern dance in Korea and remains a legend in Korea after more than 100 years after her…