ETD's Journey to the East: Busan International Dance Festival 2019
BIDF is one of the largest dance festivals in Korea and not only showcases companies from around the world, but also competitions offer a chance for local emerging and amateur choreographers a vital opportunity to be seen -- something we also strive for too with our annual New Choreographers Grant. I will be joining ETD principal dancers Chris Bell and Nicole Baker, with the intention of making it a multi-purpose trip for the company. For as honored as we were to be invited to perform, BIDF only covers local costs -- the international companies must get themselves there -- and with such a busy year for ETD, I had to weigh the costs and value of such an investment. The significance of our first performance in Asia was certainly a major consideration, particularly at this time when I feel it is so important we show the rest of the world that there are still good Americans, despite what international news might reflect. The other main deciding factor was that this trip could serve as a very unique opportunity for my continuous research for EARTH -- our ongoing project throughout 2019 into 2020.
I'm fascinated with how other nations relate to our planet and contribute to the healing or further destruction of our fragile Earth. In a recent trip to London, I was both shocked and rather impressed that environmental activists were literally glueing themselves to transit, disrupting bus routes and blocking major intersections- immobilizing the city while mobilizing thousands -- all in an endeavor to raise awareness to the dangers of climate change and call out the government for not acting swiftly enough to cut carbon emissions. While this is certainly an extreme, it made me curious to learn more about how other cultures and nations feel regarding these issues, how aware or concerned they are and what their habits on things such as recycling, conservation and preservation of the planet may be? No better way than to visit in person and ask them myself! So this will be the dual mission of ETD in South Korea.
Back to the dancing, I feel very strongly that such festivals serve as a crucial opportunity for cultural exchange and give us the chance to share the American spirit in a positive way. To this, our two pieces could not be more different. The duet, Grand Duo (2016), is very Americana, right down to the music by Nina Simone, Otis Redding and Billie Holiday and universal themes of love, loss, separation, forgiveness and this is the piece that BIDF chose themselves. The other -- The Missing (2010) -- is like a possession and exorcism. This is a solo piece performed by Nicole Baker who must express with her acting skills and emotions as much as her body. It’s an incredibly intense and demanding piece and it is clear that there is only one way to do it -- all in or not at all. Fortunately, Nicole is such a brilliant and dimensional performer that she contains not only the training and physical abilities as a dancer, but the emotional depth to express it. There is no greater delight for me as a choreographer than to watch audiences rapt with attention when watching my work performed by our talented company members; even more so when the viewers are international and the universal language of dance and the beauty of the human form and spirit is what unites us. I truly feel that this is going to be a phenomenal experience and I'm thrilled to announce Eryc Taylor Dance has been invited to perform two pieces in the Busan International Dance Festival (BIDF) in South Korea this summer, marking our first tour to Asia, something that has been a dream and goal for ETD, finally to be realized at BIDF. We are truly grateful for the opportunity and thank everyone involved for making this a reality.
Photo (top to bottom): Hunter Canning & Nikola Bradonjic