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Cultural and artistic performances at Yeosu

The International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012 started on May 12 and is going to finish off its big 93-day run on August 12. Themed on the “Living Ocean and Coast,” the International Exposition Yeosu Korea 2012 (abbreviated as Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea or more simply as the Yeosu Expo) has shed renewed light on the value of the sea and coasts as well as the global issues of climate change, resource depletion, and ecosystem destruction. It has been well received with regard to the composition of the expo site, the embodiment of the theme, and visitors’ participation.

“Foreign visitors and BIE member countries alike say that there has never been an expo more beautiful than Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea,” says Secretary General Vicente González Loscertales of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). “When it comes to the embodiment of the expo theme, the satisfaction ratio is as high as 80 percent. The number of visitors is forecast to exceed the originally expected seven million. In particular, the Big-O Show has made a big splash for being so exciting; it has attracted throngs of visitors every day despite being held at night.”

The Blooming Sea stuntmen pose for the camera under the large LED screen called the Digital Gallery.

The Yeosu Expo is a marine expo with a theme of the sea and coasts, but it’s also a cultural and artistic expo. Two-thirds of the events of the Yeosu Expo were cultural and artistic performances, showing that the organizers truly lived up to Yeosu’s declaration that the Yeosu Expo would not be so much about buildings and technology but instead focus on quality content and people. Some 400 programs and over 8,000 cultural performances and events will have taken place on and around the expo site when the 93-day expo finally ends.

YEOSU EXPO’S SIGNATURE BIG-O SHOW

Every night, the waterfront stage of the Big-O, the major attraction of the expo, has communicated messages of peace and harmony and a future of hope and co-prosperity for all mankind through the fantastic media show named the Big-O Show. The screen for the show is a water curtain formed within a gigantic ring called the Big-O. The outer rim of the 47-meterhigh Big-O has water jets, mist generators, flame generators, light fixtures, and lasers to create a variety of special effects.

THE BLOOMING SEA, A DRAMA WITH CIRCUS STUNTS IN THE AIR AND WATER

The Blooming Sea is a drama that weaves highlevel circus stunts with a romantic story into an artwork of water. A pool in which you can dive from an over 20-meter-high platform instantly transforms into a stage on which performers can walk and act and even do acrobatics and folk dances. On the water stage is a boat where 12 performers dive without a hint of hesitation from 20-meter-high platforms on both sides of the stage. An 11-meter-tall marionette named Yeonani (meaning “coast”) appears with characters that brilliantly express a variety of marine creatures. Water boards and Jet Skis perform thrilling stunt shows on the water, while dazzling circus stunts using wire ropes and trampolines unfold in the air.

FRANCE’S OCEAN OPERA ON A SEA STAGE

The sea is used as the stage. The actors and actresses walk on water using special surfboards and cycle on a bed while dreaming. A woman in a big skirt and a wizard wearing a burning hat appear. A large tree moves across the water, and fireworks are set off to create a dreamy atmosphere of dense fog.

SIMCHEONG, A BALLET ON AN OUTDOOR SEA STAGE

Simcheong became Korea’s first ballet performance that unfolds on an outdoor stage floating on the sea at the Yeosu Expo. The ballet Simcheong premiered in 1986 and has been staged more than 200 times in ten countries, building an international reputation as a ballet based on the traditional Korean folk tale of the same name. The decision to perform it on an on-the-sea stage at the Yeosu Expo was an ambitious step forward since the ballet dancers have to balance on their tiptoes in toe shoes. It has been a resounding success.

Around 10pm every night, DJ Dance Show takes over to electrify the audience with exciting music and spectacular lighting.

EXPO POP FESTIVAL FEATURING K-POP STARS

Every night at eight o’clock, the special stage of the Yeosu Expo heats up with the Expo Pop Festival featuring top K-pop stars. The singer Rain (aka Bi) was the first star of this “hot” festival who threw the audience into a wild frenzy on the night of June 16. Groups of young singers like Shinee, Super Junior, 2PM, Girls’ Generation, and Wonder Girls as well as singers loved by middle-aged fans including Kim Jang-hoon, Lee Seung-hwan, Lee Eun-mi, Insooni, and Sin Seung-hoon all followed suit.

DJ DANCE SHOW MAKES SUMMER NIGHTS EVEN HOTTER

At about 10 pm every night after the Expo Pop Festival has enthralled the audience, DJ Dance Show takes over to electrify the audience even more with exciting music and spectacular lighting. Shaking their bodies in delight to the music, people enjoy the Yeosu Expo as a festival of global villagers. “In fact, I was surprised to see fewer foreigners than I expected,” says Abigail (21) from the US. “I toured the site today, and I think about ten percent of the visitors were foreigners. I love K-pop singers very much, and here at Yeosu, I was able to see them singing and also enjoy the DJ Dance Show. It was so much fun.”

STREET PERFORMANCES FOR PEOPLE IN LONG QUEUES

Numerous street performances at the Yeosu Expo certainly take the boredom out of waiting in long queues to enter pavilions or see shows. Wherever there is a long queue of people, a group of performers appears to render a surprise performance, making it a sheer joy to wait. Winners of the Daidogei World Cup, Japan’s world famous street performance festival, entertain visitors with very skillful juggling and rope walking. During a performance of Ganggangsullae based on the traditional Korean folk dance of the same name, the performers and visitors mingle and dance together. Famous groups of mimes silently amuse tired and bored people that are waiting in the streets under a roasting hot sun. All these street performances have been taking place from 9 am to 7:30 pm throughout the Expo.

*Article from Korea Magazine (August, 2012)

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