Saturday in Scottish Rite Auditorium, the Korean National Dance Company presented a sampling of Korea's varied cultural traditions in a program substantially the same as the one given at the Olympic Arts Festival last July.

The differences involved a welcome emphasis on Korean music, with orchestral and vocal selections providing new evidence of the weighty emotionalism in even the most classic court styles. In addition, the lack of scenic spectacle in the dance-drama "Tomi's Story" on this tour shifted the emphasis to the Shakespearean richness of the situations and the restrained intensity of the leading dancers.

More than before, this tale of undeserved suffering seemed to celebrate women's resistance to the evil that men do--not just the faith and fortitude of Tomi's wife, but her self-sacrificing friend and the defiant queen as well.

Soo-ho Kook danced Tomi powerfully and brought fervor to the "Buddhist Dance" on the first part of the program. Sung-ok Yang had both the fatal charm and character strength for Tomi's wife. But earlier, in the "Salp'uri" solo, she generalized and over-sweetened actions that had been unforgettable when performed last year by one of Korea's "living treasures," Young-Suk Han.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World