Korea Tramway, Glasgow

Four stars

An awe-inspiring degree of stamina and strength is to the fore in this double bill of contemporary dance from Korea. The prowess on stage, however, has meaningful humanity at the core of the choreography in both pieces. And while few - if any of us! - could emulate the bravura activities of the dancers, we can certainly identify with the issues and scenarios they explore in their movement.

In Sung Im Her’s Tomorrowisnowtodayisyesterday, it’s the impact of social media on our everyday lives that is the driving concern.

The three performers - Sung Im Her, Martha Passakopoulou and Seo Jun Lee - enter into a frenetic unfolding of behavioural responses to the influences that lurk just a click or a swipe away. What emerges, even when the trio seem to be having fun, is an increasing loss of individuality.

Instead, as they thresh, jitter or twitch - sometimes in silence, sometimes to a sound score by Husk Husk - they develop a uniformity that increasingly suggests herd mentality controls their lives.

The pace here is unrelenting, punishing even. The repetitive phrases border on the robotic, the meticulous precision throughout never falters - but within this regime, there is no moment of physical contact…

In Flight - the shorter duet from Melancholy Dance Company that opens the programme - hands-on connections are intrinsic to choreographer Cheolin Jeong’s evocation of hope, endeavour and the longing to break free of limitations.

The sense of risk and brinkmanship that underpins Jeong’s interactions with fellow dancer Jisoo Ryun brings poetic intensity to a relationship that veers between tense rivalry to supportive camaraderie. There are virtuoso lifts, mid-air leaps and reassuring catches - all done at unfaltering speed and all powered by a shared need to defy gravity. The final moment, when they run up Tramway’s back wall into an unknown darkness is both moving and uplifting.

It’s the first time that the Festival of Korean Dance - established in London six years ago - has shown work in Scotland. An enthusiastic audience clearly hopes for more.

Below - Flight by Melancholy Dance Company Photo credit - Park Sang Run