Korean Dance Studies Society of Canada
The Korean Dance Studies Society of Canada (KDSSC) is a charitable organization in Toronto founded by Mi Young Kim, the artistic director. The KDSSC is a creative dance organization that collaborates across cultures and generations while honouring Korean tradition and culture.
Board of Directors & Administrative Management
Board Chair – Bong Lim Im
Vice Chair – NamSoo Kim
Treasurer – SooJa Chang
Auditor – Francis Kim, CA
Executive Committee Sung Tak Hahn, Natasha Wauthion, Joong Yol Park, Eun Jin Kim, Soon Ja Lee, Vincent Wong
Board Members Hakil Kim, Bangran Kim, In Hyung Oh, Jungki Min, Soonja Lee, Kilsung Lee, Jinkyun Kim, Yoojeong Kwon
Staff Mi Young Kim – (Artistic Director)
Cindy Yip – (Administrator)
Hye Ran Jung, Jung Hee Min – (Teaching Assistant)
HeeRin Kim, GuiRhan Choi – (Children's Class Instructor)
Additional arts administrative services are provided by Dance Umbrella of Ontario
Yunhak Kim’s Background
Yunhak Kim was born in Seoul, Korea in 1922. He attended school in Tokyo, Japan at the age of 13. From 1938 to 1941, Yunhak Kim studied modern dance under Ishi Baku, a Japanese dancer who studied in Germany and became a pioneer in Western dance in Japan and influenced many Koreans aspiring to be dancers. In 1942, Yunhak Kim was still living in Japan and earned a living with his art while working as a postal clerk and studied Korean traditional dance under Bonam Kim, dancer of Iwangjik A–ackpu (a Chosun Dynasty art group) and formerly National Centre for Korean Traditional Performing Arts.
Kim Yunhak Dance Academy (Seoul, Korea)
In August 1945, Yunhan Kim returned to Korea after liberation from the Japanese and immediately founded the Kim Yunhak Dance Academy in Seoul, collaborating with Kibongham and Chuwha Chang in numerous state performances. Additional collaborations were with instructors Inbang Chung and Yongja Cho. In 1948, he became the commissioner for the National Federation of Cultural Organization. In 1950, Yunhak Kim was responsible for the dance units in the army in the arts and culture department; and in the same year, he organized a performance by the Korean Dancers Association at Shigongkwan, formerly the National Art Theatre of Korea, where his own performance was the highlight of the evening. He was also a member of the Korean Dance Association. His work and achievements make him known as a top pioneering leader of Korean cultural dance.
From 1946 to 1975, Yunhak Kim continued his work in passing down knowledge and skills to his eager students. Quoted by Heungdong Cho, the former director of the National Dance Company: I met my lifetime teacher, Yunhak Kim, in grade nine. I can remember my encounter with teacher Yunhak so vividly it was a life changing event for me. I was overwhelmed by his performance when I went to his recital for the first time. I found my way to his studio and I begged him to accept me as his student. Teacher Yunhak Kim was deeply impressed by my determination being the only male among about 50 female students. He also kindly arranged for me to receive extra lessons from his daughter Mi Young Kim, who was widely known as a prodigy.
Yunhak Kim also taught at Kyungkee Girls High School along with many other educational institutions. Many of his students displayed excellent talent and placed highly at major dance competitions held by Chosun Daily Newspaper and Yi Hwa University. Among his students were: Min Ku, a famous radio actor; Heungdong Cho, the former director of the National Dance Company, as well as his daughter, Mi Young Kim.
Yunhak Kim’s Repertoire
Through passion and commitment; a record fifteen performances at the National theatres; and a countless nationwide dance curriculum for many years, he helped popularize Korean dance among the younger generation. Some of his original artwork and learned dances include: seungmu and osangpulshim (monk’s dances of varying types), shaman dance, buchaechum (fan dance), keummu (sword dance), kyeonwoojiknyeo (legend of two young lovers), talchum (mask dance), wharangmu (honoured soldier on horseback), village of the flower blossom, chuwolkangsan (harvest moon, river and mountain), and changgochum (hour–glass drum dance).
Some of these dances have been passed down generations and are now being performed by the KDSSC’s Mi Young Kim Dance Company. Yunhak Kim has the distinction of being designated as a Korean National Culture Treasure. He helped transform traditional Korean dance to its present form for the professional stage and inspired new artists to continue in his footsteps. In 1975, he founded a senior dance community, Donam Senior College, and formed relationships with other senior schools in Japan and Taiwan while actively travelling East Asia. He served the senior community until he passed away in 1993 at the age of 73 with his wife and children at his side.
Korean Dance Studies Society of Canada
The Korean Dance Studies Society of Canada (KDSSC) is a not–for–profit organization, founded by Mi Young Kim who is the artistic director of the KDSSC in Toronto. KDSSC was founded in 1979 under the name of Mi Young Kim Korean Folk Dance Institute and renamed of KDSSC in 1987 (affiliated with the Mi Young Kim Dance Company for professional dancers). It is dedicated to educating and training young people the rich Korean dance heritage, and to spreading awareness of traditional Korean dance among the Canadian public by staging dynamic performances and all over the world.
The Mi Young Kim Dance Company & The School of Korean Dance and Drum
KDSSC is affiliated with the Mi Young Kim Dance Company and the School of Korean Dance and Drum. Mi Young Kim Dance Company is a professional dance company of KDSSC with professional dancers. The School of Korean Dance and Drum runs a Youth Program and a Pre–Professional Training Program. 15 students are currently in the Pre–Professional Training Program, and they will be performing as a professional dancer in Mi Young Kim Dance Company after completing the program.
SooRyu Dance Festival
KDSSC held its first edition seasonal performance under the title SooRyu Dance Festival: Symbiosis in November 2003. The performance demonstrated how harmony of light, movement and sound within dance forms from various cultures could create symbiosis which, in turn, transcends us into another realm and perspective. KDSSC invited special guests including: Jung Ae Noh (Vancouver), Jeffrey Chan (Ontario), William Lau (Ontario), Kozakura Sensui (Ontario) and Zab Maboungou (Montreal). The performance was very successful, particularly Jung Ae Noh's performance of SangMo Spin, Salpuri and Soko Dance. Since 2004, KDSSC has been invited by Ontario Dance Weekend.
The Society’s repertoire spans the full range of Korean ancestral dances: from group performances such as the graceful and colourful Fan Dance, to the solo Buddhist Nun’s Dance (performed to the beat of a ritual drum, the nun’s dance begins slowly, accelerates, and reaches a climax, representing the inner evolution from mental conflict to the attainment of Nirvana). Other dances of the Society’s repertoire include the Farmers’ Dance, the Sword Dance, the ritualistic dances of Korea’s native shaman religion, as well as original creations based on traditional forms.