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Tradition bears fruit today in Korea

炫 (Hyun) means "vibration," like the sound created from a plucked string on a musical instrument. The Hyun Dancers, representing Korean Culture in Dancing Joy, use classical Korean dance movement to express universal human goals.

The Dancing Joy film crew arrived in Korea somewhat worse for wear. Our director, Lan Tsubata, was fighting fever and chills and body aches. Thankfully, Mr. and Mrs. Choi, the power-team and parents of our Unit Production Coordinator JeungHee Choi, met us at the airport with a large van for our luggage and a warm welcome.

Traveling to Suwon, our temporary home while in Korea, we stopped for some grocery shopping and a good meal. Lan was getting worse, so we decided that the next day's b-roll shooting would not include her; she was to stay home and sleep. After a day of shooting Hwasung castle, restaurants, markets, and fishing boats, we came back to find her even worse than when we left. She finally accepted the need to be seen by medical professionals, and we found ourselves in Ajou University Hospital, where, with the help of JeungHee's brother, Sangbok, we ascertained that she was probably suffering from a viral gastroenteritis.

Returning home at 3 a.m., we were nevertheless able to scout our location the next day with Mr. Choi. Upon seeing the beautiful traditional Korean house and gardens, we were thrilled, but then chilled when the weather forecasts were for continuous thunderstorms for the entire next day--our only day to shoot the dancers.

Lan was still very sick, and the weather reports were ominous. We prepared by purchasing clear plastic sheeting and duct tape, to protect both dancers and cameras. However, when we arrived the next morning at the site, we found that a hazy fog was our main condition.

Urgently, we shot all morning, with our Production team working hard to move heavy objects and create optimal danceable spaces. (Hashim Muhammed and Jeung Hee were both on set, along with Mr. Choi and myself as the non-camera crew)

Lan, though weak, was thankfully able to direct, only sitting down occasionally to conserve her energy. The dancers were pros--they understood the need to shoot multiple angles before any rain would interrupt the shoot. They performed their graceful and beautiful movements at the various locations chosen by our cinematographer, Henrik, to frame the specific dance. Interestingly, he set one dance, performed with beautiful pink lotus blossoms, at the side of a pond where those same flowers were blooming among the lily pads!

Both crew and dancers worked unstintingly through the morning and early afternoon, ignoring the heat and humidity to capture the dance. Only when we finally broke for the meal did the rainclouds burst, drenching the gardens as we recovered our energy.

L-R YongMi Kim (Mr. Hong's wife), Mr. SaJong Hong, and Producer, Kate Tsubata.

Our hosts, Mr. Hong SaJong and his wife, Kim YongMi, invited me to their on-site coffee shop, soon to open, to talk about our film's vision. Interestingly, they have a similar love of the deep roots of Korean culture and native plantings, expressed in the meticulous design of the gardens and houses of Mr. Hong's ancestral home. Mr. Hong is a columnist who has written extensively on cultural issues, and now focuses on designing landscapes to express his love of his homeland. Mrs. Hong is an active entrepreneur, owning her own cosmetics company. They were fascinated with the film's approach, and excited to have their historic home featured within it.


Host:Okran Cultural Foundation

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