The Opening and Closing Ceremonies for both Summer and Winter Olympic Games are often times favorite parts of the Olympics for the audience. From Queen Elizabeth II’s stunt double parachuting above the stage in the London 2012 Summer Olympics to giant hammer and sickle floating in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, countries often showcased the unique cultural and historical traits to the globe.
After we saw a glimpse of what is to come from PyeongChang in the Closing Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies became highly anticipated by many across the globe. And to add fuel to the ongoing anticipation, it has been announced in July of 2015 that Song Seung-hwan, the creator of well-known “Nanta” shows, has been appointed the Executive Creative Director for the Olympic Games ceremonies.
Song Seung-hwan is a very well-known actor and theater producer within South Korea. His greatest achievement as the producer of “Nanta”, also known as Cookin’ Nanta, has helped expand global recognition of Korean culture.
“Nanta” (난타/亂打) is a nonverbal performance where performers use daily kitchen utensils to create the rhythm of traditional Samul nori, a genre of Korean percussion music in Korea. “Nanta” shows are similar to STOMP performances in the UK in that dance and percussion are interlaced, and the upbeat performance is often filled with humor and drama.
Created in 1997, Nanta shows are the longest-running theater performances currently in Korea and have gained global recognition at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. There have also been Broadway performances of Nanta in 2005 and 2006.
The selection of Song Seung-hwan as the Executive Creative Director is a promising move made by the Korean Olympic Committee because not only are his works timeless, the incorporation of the Korean traditional music with modern dance in the performances could easily entice foreign audiences with the charms of Korea.
Song Seung-hwan has stated in his interview with the Yonhap News regarding his new role as the Executive Creative Director, “I will try hard to make it an opportunity to newly promote Korean culture.” If he is able to produce a performance that surpasses the creativity and grandeur of the Nanta shows, we are definitely in for a treat.
This article was written by an official college student reporter of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games, WINNERS.
Some contents might be different from the official position of the Organizing Committee.