Somatic Dance Class Video, University of Hawaii
"UNEARTHING BORDERS BENEATH BORDERS." - BRIAN SEIBERT, THE NEW YORK TIMES
Directed by diversely cultured Hee Ra Yoo, Yoo and Dancers strives to push through cultural and language barriers and appeal to the collective human condition. Using the universal language of dance, the company connects with audiences on a fundamental, emotional level, pulling from the members' own diverse experiences.
Our company is full of curiosity and mystery, exploring who we are – what is unique, what is exotic, what comes from far away, and what is close by? We create experiences, expressed with well-developed movement. For example, breathing can give an impulse to movement, a notion that is common in my native Korea, but can lead to an unexpected experience for a western audience.
Two elements are important to the work of Yoo and Dancers – beauty and synthesis. Beauty comes from strong lines, and from the release of tension. Synthesis in our work comes from a melting pot of movements – local dances from around the world, gymnastics, martial arts, and both classical and modern dance.
In its first season in 2009-2010, Yoo and Dancers premiered six original works. The Jamaica Performing Arts Center commissioned work for their Making Moves Festival, the company performed in The Traditions in Transition Festival at the 14th Street YMCA, The Movement Research Open Performance Series at Dance Theater Workshop, and in the Cool New York Dance Festival/The DUMBO Dance Festival at the John Ryan Theater in Brooklyn. The company premiered "Catwalk II" at the Dance Theater Workshop as part of The Field's Artist in Residency program.
In 2011, Yoo and Dancers premiered "160 Miles" at the Dance New Amsterdam Theater in December. In 2012, we premiered "Uneven" at Dixon Place and "Slippery, Hippery, Flippery" at the Manhattan Movement Arts Center. In 2014, we performed "Glass Ceiling" at the Korean Culture Association and at Dixon Place.
Yoo and Dancers is cooking without recipes. We have a well-defined structure, but add within that structure our own culture and experiences. We want to be inside, outside, behind, underneath, and on top of the subject.