One of the immense privileges bestowed by the Edinburgh Fringe is finding world-class art on our doorstep. BreAking by the Korea National Contemporary Dance Company has come all the way to Dancebase from Seoul and it’s thrilling to see it taking up residence this week in a studio in the Grassmarket.
BreAking sees eight dancers confront the audience in silence in a black box of a studio, challenging us to judge them. Alongside a compelling soundtrack that mixes a nod to traditional Korean folk music with electronica, dance and hip hop constructed by Lee Ilwoo of the Korean post-rock band Jambinai, five contemporary dancers and three top street dancers explode into action.
Their only props are a collection of flexible transparent plastic panels and they use these with incredible creativity, slithering on them, lumbering around the space carrying them, peering through them, rolling in them, piling themselves up in them. It’s a visually ravishing performance.
Choreographer Lee Kyungeun‘s inventive piece fuses classical ballet with contemporary dance, break dancing and hip hop to question our tendency to accept the norm, to not push beyond what’s expected, to not try and break out of the convenient packages in which the world is served up. It then celebrates the freedom that comes with challenging convention with a glorious exuberant euphoria.
This is a fun, frisky, funny, fresh 35 minutes of dance from Korea’s leading contemporary dance company. Catch it if you can.