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EUN-ME AHN - DRAGONS production photo

all about theatre four star review

Dragons is the latest piece of work by South Korean Choreographer Eun-Me Ahn and is based around the Millennium, which is the year of the dragon in the Korean zodiac. The piece doesn't follow a story rather it looks at what the dragon represents in Eastern culture joy, optimism and lightness.

For this show Eun-Me Ahn came up with the idea of using a pan-Asian cast who had been born in the year 2000, Ahn selected the dancers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan but before rehearsals could start the pandemic hit so rehearsals had to be done via video link.

Eun-Me Ahn's plan to bring the dancers to South Korea to take part in the live shows failed due to the lockdown procedures which were put into place during the pandemic, to overcome this hurdle it was decided that video projections of the dancers would be used instead. So along with Eun-Me Ahn and the eight dancers on stage at intervals throughout the show the six young dancer appear via video projections, sometimes they dance independently and sometimes they interact with the live dancers on stage. This idea worked extremely well and provided the audience with a visually stunning experience and added something a bit different to the show which I hadn't seen done before.

EUN-ME AHN - DRAGONS production photo

The dancers were not the only projections used in the show Taeseok Lee's video design included lush greenery, flowing water, large bubbles, a flower garden and snake like tubes which crept around the stage. the projections were done very well and worked really well alongside the dancers on stage. My favourite part of the show which used projections was the part with the giant bubbles, it looked like the dancers were inside the bubbles at one point and the movement od the dancers bodies directed the movement of the bubbles. I also enjoyed the projection of the flowing water as it looked stunning.

EUN-ME AHN - DRAGONS production photo

The stage design by Eun-Me Ahn was quite simple but effective it consisted of the side and back walls of the stage being lined with flexible silver metallic tubing witch the dancers could pick up and use in there dance. The tubing was also used as props throughout the show by the dancers using pieces of tubing on there arms to create interesting shapes and to extend their body movements. On part of the show which I enjoyed was where they used the tubing from the walls, a dancer held a piece of tubing from the left hand side wall in one hand and a piece from the righthand side wall from the other, I thought this created a really powerful visual as the tubes extended the dancers body movements.

EUN-ME AHN - DRAGONS production photo

The lighting design by Jinyoung Jang really added to the set design by lighting it up with different colours and seeing the way the metallic tubes reflected this lighting really added another dynamic to the show. The costumes which were also designed by Eun-Me Anh were beautiful some were brightly coloured with hints of traditional dress, some were metallic and reflected the lighting beautifully, my favourite part of the costumes were the flowing skirts, the choreography featured a lot of twirling which created beautiful movement with the skirts.

EUN-ME AHN - DRAGONS production photo

The choreography throughout the show was quite fast pace and high energy with only a few moments were it slowed to a more relaxing state, they used a lot of spinning in the choreography in order to show off the beautiful movement in the beautiful flowing skirts which they all wore at certain parts in the show, there were also a lot of sequences with coordinated hand movements which were interesting to watch.

I found Dragons to be a visually stunning the combination of live performance and video projections worked really well, the show was high energy and a lot of fun, slightly strange at times but very enjoyable.

Dragons is on at The Lowry until 27th September, you can purchase tickets by clicking on the button below.

Photo Credit - Sukmu Yun

*Our tickets for this show were kindly gifted in exchange for an honest review


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