- Category: interviews
- Published: Wednesday, 09 December 2009 02:07
- Written by Cloud Dance Festival
Ji Park (Flexa Dance Theatre) - by Laura Capelle
The thrice-yearly Cloud Dance Festival also brought back favourite artists for its Parade edition, and among them was choreographer Ji Park and her company, Flexa Dance Theatre, performing there for the third time. Their latest work, Festival and nagune (wayfarer), unfortunately had to be performed with less dancers than originally planned, but Ji graciously answered questions about her background and an artistic process that is centered around the performers.
Can you tell me about your background?
I was born in Korea, but I learnt European contemporary dance as well as ballet, tap and jazz. After my graduation, I worked for different Korean companies. Seven years ago though I had a very bad knee injury, and I couldn’t carry on as a dancer – I was very depressed, and I started doing different things, including yoga and meditation. I started choreographing because I couldn’t dance properly any more.
I came to England about five years ago – I quite like British history, and I needed something different. After a year I started a BA course in Theatre Arts near Brighton, and at the end I started my own company. We have a partnership with Worthing College, and we have created 8 pieces so far, but financially it is very difficult. I work by day to have money for the shows.
What was the thinking behind your piece for the festival, Festival and nagune (wayfarer)…?
It’s not easy to explain, because I usually work not only with dancers, but also with actors and musicians, or even non-dancers. The process really involves them. I never have a definite plan before auditioning, because I’m waiting to discover the participants. Some didn’t want to be performers, but I give them a chance, I try to make them performers.
The process for Festival and nagune has been very difficult, because originally I had six dancers – in my mind I needed six, with the props, the music, the lighting – but two weeks later a dancer dropped because of illness, then another one, then another one. And every time I had to change my mind, to change the piece. Last week I found out that another of my dancers was very ill, she still was the day before the performance, and two dancers will be dancing in the end. But it remains about the artist’s story. I use their background – some of them are also singers, some are more physical. The process is more important than the result.
What are your inspirations?
It would be a long story, because there are a lot of different inspirations in my work. My choreography is influenced by Baroque art. My favourite company is Les Ballets C de la B, I like their philosophy and the work they produce. Since my injury, I’ve also done a lot of research on art, art history and national history, anatomy. I collect all those ideas when I start working on a show, and there are a lot of them. Music is also important, but I’d rather work with musicians than simply be influenced by it.
What’s next for you after the festival?
I need a long holiday after this show, and then I have plans to make a new solo piece – I haven’t been on stage in seven years. I feel ready to do it.
Any Christmas wishes for your company?
I hope my performers will find good jobs, and I wish Chantal [Guevara, director of the festival] all the best. For myself, just happiness would be fine, but my dancers and musicians work so hard that I really wish them the best for their careers.
Many thanks to Chantal Guevara for making these interviews possible.