© 2019 by YOO & DANCERS

PRESS + REVIEWS

More than Memory
May 2019 at HERE in Soho

"Yoo and Korean guest choreographer Ji-Hee Lee fuse modern dance and Korean dance aesthetics to create a five-part work that gives the effect at times of a chain reaction, with dancers' sudden movements creating links and activating one another. In other sections there's a great deal of hesitation and striving, a jaggedness to the dance and occasional collapses, as if the future is unknowable or nearly unattainable."

- Joe Sullivan, Dance Teacher, May 16, 2019

9 Movements, The Solo, Silk Road, Chae
January 2019 at 92Y

"International choreographer Hee Ra Yoo uses an east-meets-west approach on her mostly female ensemble. The west provides the base, which ranges from balletic pointe work to sweeping modern sequences. The east adds ornamentation with gentle hooks of the wrist and delicate arrangements of the fingers, like bouquets of posies."

- Erin Bomboy, The Dance Enthusiast, January 13, 2019 

"A sense of her soft strength, no matter how and where she stood in space, felt clear. Yet a desire to find flight remained. The work struck me as both aesthetically accomplished and full of poignant meaning.... Contact improvisation-inspired movement and partnered lifts allowed for both grounding and a resisting of grounding (flight) – aligning with that overall theme in Yoo’s presentation.... Yoo managed to mold movement and supporting aesthetic elements to speak powerfully about that concept of grounding and the desire for flight, as well as several other meaningful ideas in human existence. The presentation illustrated how dance can portray the innately human in ways words sometimes can’t."

- Kathryn Boland, Dance Informa, January 5, 2019

160 Miles

Choreography:  Hee Ra Yoo

Dancers: Mary Ellen Beaudreau, Lauren Camp, Leigh Schanfein, Annika Sheaff

Lighting: Nick Kolin

Costumes: Lara De Bujin

Music: Cheating Lying Stealing and Stick Figure by David Lang, edited by Hee Ra Yoo

Premiere: Dec 16, 2011 at Dance New Amsterdam Theater, Manhattan 

 

Description: A Dance Narrative on North Korean Quality of Life and Dictatorial Control: What it is like to live in North Korea now and over the last 60 years? Separated from the rest of the world, North Koreans are unaware of the concept of a free society. By awakening the audience to the ways in which the actions of a few individuals debase the lives of so many, this dance strives to inspire audiences learn more about life in North Korea and to improve life in all countries. 

North Korean quality of life continues to diminish and dictatorial control continues to grow. A single individual, ruling through fear and trepidation, severely affects the lives of millions. 160 miles is the length of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. 

 

 

"Hee Ra Yoo was born in South Korea, and her “160 Miles” presumably refers to the demilitarized zone that divides the South from the North. Though the hieratic gestures meant to suggest border hostility weren’t consistently convincing, an effect with adhesive tape was clever, making it seem as if the four dancers were peeling away the stage floor, unearthing borders beneath borders."

- Brian Seibert, The New York Times, September 7, 2012

 

"Highlights of the [American Dance Guild] festival included Hee Ra Yoo’s 160 Miles…. Centered on the theme of constriction, the dancers, in cream-colored body suits crisscrossed with rope-like designs, peeled lines of tape from the floor, and then rolled across the stage, binding themselves up in the stuff. At the finale, one dancer balanced precipitously on a line of tape. She balanced for so long on a single foot that I wondered, 'When will she ever find a safe place to put the other one?'"

- Veronica Hackethal, The Dance Enthusiast, September 17, 2012

 

"Yoo & Dancers were up first performing a political dance piece entitled “160 miles.” Its choreographer, Hee Ra, explained in a telephone interview that the current dictatorship in Korea was the inspiration for the piece. 'One dictator changes millions of lives,' Hee Ra said, and, 'as an artist passing the message is important.' Her dance troupe were entwined and entangled in a solemn and haunting representation of domination that was modern and provocative. Dancers ripped and tore tape as part of the performance and the sounds were an emotional backdrop that lingered beyond the fall of the curtain."

- Karen Clements, Jamaica Examiner, 9/19/11

 

 

"There was an ingenious set up for Hee Ra Yoo's quartet 160 Miles. During intermission a large figure eight pattern... was drawn on the marleyed floor with two inch wide white tape to then be concealed by matching lines of black tape....[The dancers] lunged aggressively at one another, their bodies sometimes repelling to the floor away from each other."

- Attitude, The Dancers' Magazine, Vol. 25, No. 3   Pat Catterson  

 

Catwalk

 

Choreography: Hee Ra Yoo

Dancers: Ashley Marinelli, Marissa Maislen, Cori Marquis, Min Hee Kim, and Mary Sullivan

Music: Daniel Platzman and Frank Bretschneider (edited by Hee Ra Yoo)

Costumes: Lara de Bruijn

Lighting by Nick Solyon

Premiered: Dance Theater Workshop (New York Live Arts Theater)NY NY Residency work from "The Field "

 

"Hee Ra Yoo’s “Catwalk” is the showstopper that ends the program. Five women all in white, dressed couture-like by Lara De Bruijin, compete on the catwalk. The dominant one (probably Yoo), all you see is her back (in a low cut gown) and oh what a back, as she twists her shoulders diagonally in haughty disdain. The others dodge her slicing arms. The other four get their moments in the spotlight, then challenge Yoo. Design, movement, technique, emotion, suspense, it’s got it all." 

-Barbara Figg Fox, The Princeton Comment, 2010

 

Trace

 

Choreography: Hee Ra Yoo

Dancer: Leigh Schanfein

Costumes: Hee Ra Yoo

Music: Jonathan Howard Katz

Lighting: Dave Lough

 

 

"The influence of Yoo’s classical ballet training was readily apparent in Trace. Schanfein, in a beige chiffon dress with dark brown spots, danced on pointe with the discombobulated movements of a robot. Displaying a broken ballet port de bras, she peered at her hands as if they were alien beings, disembodied from herself. Dispossession, in fact, seemed to be the point of the choreography: dispossession from the body, dispossession from the self. It concluded with Schanfein keeling over in a disjointed heap, vaguely reminiscent of the blank-faced puppet doll in the ballet Coppelia."

 - Veronica Hackethal, Dance Enthusiast, June 4, 2013

 

Glass Ceiling 

 

Choreography: Hee Ra Yoo

Dancers: Hee Ra Yoo, Yuki Ishiguro

Costumes: Hee Ra Yoo

 

"By shifting traditional notions of orientation for a dance performance, Glass Ceiling literally opens the viewer’s mind to different perspectives, new ways to think of their relationship to the space. New aspects of movement and physicality emerge when the focus is rotated and the audience is no longer the dancers’ focal point. When the dancers are presenting towards imaginary audiences, real viewers are given the opportunity to question their own role in the performance environment. Real audience members are simultaneously allowed to view the performance as if they were peering in as outsiders to the show. As their eyes travel the space, the viewers’ imagination can also journey as the dancers create an awareness of the potential of every surface."

 - Oberons Grove, January 31, 2013

 

San Jo

Choreography:  Hee Ra Yoo

Dancers: Nicole Gallo, Kaila McBath

Costumes: Hee Ra Yoo

Music: 

"San Jo confirms my first impressions of your choreographic intent, your theatricality, your craftsmanship, and most of all your artistry. The work is deep, thought provoking, intelligent, sophisticated, and for me a reason for the curtain to rise... I was with your vision from movement one until the end." 

- Lance Westergard, Former program director and associate professor of Hofstra University Dance Department

Treasure, American Dance Guild, 10/16/2017

Unwritten B

 

Choreography: Hee Ra Yoo

Dancers: Sean Hatch, Mary-Elizabeth Fenn

Costumes:

Music: Ritornare by Ludovico Einaudi

 

"... a truly original work in which a young woman deconstructs and re-builds a male statue; live piano music enhanced the performances of Mary-Elizabeth Fenn and Sean Hatch, who carried out the choreographer's idea with a lovely seriousness of intent."

 

"Choreographer Hee Ra Yoo casts a spell with Unwritten B, a work that investigates the wish fulfillment of one girl. Sean Hatch, outfitted in a sandy brown tunic, poses as a graceful Greek statue, one hand cupping his raised elbow. Doe-eyed Mary-Elizabeth Fenn enters the stage as the ostensible page-turner for pianist Jonathan Howard Katz. After a few dutiful turns of Katz’s pages, she spies Hatch and strolls over, enamored by his splendor. Fenn lightly traces his physique with her hands and worms her body in between the open crevices of Hatch’s body. Emboldened, she runs her chin along the curve of his arm and begins to mold him into new positions. Bit by bit, he comes to life, and the two engage in a duet replete with gorgeous lifts. As her statue-turned-man becomes less tractable, Fenn sadly folds him into his original pose and returns to her page-turning duties. With compelling performances from Fenn and Hatch, Unwritten B entrances."

 - Erin Bomboy, Oberon's Grove, April 24, 2013

Without A Net

 

Choreography:  Hee Ra Yoo

Dancers: Lauren Camp, Lindsey Mandolini, Sean Hatch, Yuki Ishiguro, Annie Saeugling

Live Piano: Jonathan Howard Katz

Lighting: Han Hyo 

Costumes: Hee Ra Yoo

Premiere: Jan 30 2013 at The New York Korean Culture Service Gallery, 460 Park Avenue 6th Floor, New York, NY 10022

 

Description:By shifting traditional notions of orientation for a dance performance, “Without A Net” opens the viewer’s mind to different perspectives, new ways to think of their relationship to the space. New aspects of movement and physicality emerge when the focus is rotated and the audience is no longer the dancers’ focal point. When the dancers are presenting towards imaginary audiences, real viewers are given the opportunity to question their own role in the performance environment.

“Without A Net” was commissioned by The New York Korean Culture Service.

 

"Hee Ra Yoo's “Without a Net” looked at the American Dream in a multi-cultural setting. The piece combined symbolic movements with humor."  - NYCultureBeat, translated from Korean, January 30, 2013

 

"...'Without A Net' is truly inventive and was expertly performed by Yuki and four fellow-dancers. To live piano music,...  they are danced inside-out and sideways, so to speak." - Oberon's Grove, January 31, 2013

 

Uneven

 

Choreography:  Hee Ra Yoo

Dancers: Lauren Camp, Leigh Schanfein

Music: Henry Gorecki 

Lighting: Rob Lariviere

Costumes: Hee Ra Yoo

Premiere:  May 20, 2011, Dixon Place, Manhattan

 

Description: Tension between North Korean and South Korea is portrayed in this duet performed by two female dancers.

“Uneven” space grant by Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.

 

 

"…There are moments of hesitant togetherness, one taking the other’s hand to guide her along in attempts to get her to follow the path she is taking, before a new truth is revealed and the rivalry begins anew. Neither will cede to the other and movements become more violent and dynamic, occasionally involving some interesting partner work where grasping hands try to ensnare the other. In the end, there is a clear winner: a woman, wearing the brighter costume, stands over the other wearing earthen tones and proudly scans the horizon."

- FitEngine, May 23, 2012

The Unwritten

 

Choreography: Hee Ra Yoo

Dancers: Lauren Camp, Mary-Elizabeth Fenn, Lindsey Mandolini, Samantha Parsons, Rebecca Walden

Music: The Chemical Brothers album edited by Hee Ra Yoo

Costumes: Hee Ra Yoo

 

"I am not sure at first why this segment of The Unwritten is en pointe. Why would a modern dance company create contemporary ballet? It is easy to see why Hee Ra Yoo could go in that direction with her background as a ballerina with exemplary companies around the world, but her own company has a focus on the modern genre. It leads me to take her for her word that Yoo and Dancers is without borders. After seeing a well-made contemporary ballet like this, it’s exciting to know that as a modern choreographer Yoo has successfully transferred her sensibility of movement to the pointe-clad dancer."

 - Leigh Schanfein, Dance Informa, January 30, 2013