Seoul (The Korea Herald/ANN) - Acclaimed choreographer Kim Young-soon first moved to the U.S. in 1977 with just $240, two suitcases, and the dream of being a dancer.
In fact, she was only able to take the flight because she traveled for free in return for taking two babies to America for adoption from Korea on behalf of the Holt International adoption agency.
More than 30 years later, she is seeking funding to bring her successful New York-based modern dance troupe to Korea as part of a homecoming Asian tour.
She wishes to bring the WHITE WAVE Young Soon Kim Dance Company that she founded in 1988 to Korea and China this June.
But Kim must raise $10,000 to make the tour possible, and hopes that artistic funding website Kickstarter can help her reach her goal. The online funding platform invites members of the public to back creative projects, usually in return for special mementos from the artist.
Artistic director Kim said: "We chose to use Kickstarter to raise support because the website has very successfully brought together artists and art lovers. Using their crowd-sourced funding business model enables us to reach out to a wide range of potential supporters from around the world, including from Korea."
But with just 23 days to go before the campaign cutoff date, the fund-raising efforts had only reached $350 by Wednesday. If the goal is not met by the deadline, no money will be taken from current backers and the project will not be funded. Kim is offering thank-you gifts of VIP tickets, free kids dance courses and even home cooked Korean dinners to those who back the tour before May 11.
"If our goal is not met by then, WHITE WAVE will not receive any of the pledged donations, so obtaining support quickly is crucial," Kim added. "I am a little concerned about it, but I feel mostly optimistic."
She added that she would offer Korean backers who give $250 or more two VIP tickets for any one of her performances.
If she raises the cash needed to cover tech and production costs in time, it will be the biggest program she has brought to Korea. It will feature 11 dancers, live music by new-music guitarist Marco Cappelli and live video art, and start in her home city of Gwangju.
Her dancers will perform at Gwangju's Bitgoul Center for Culture on June 23 and 24, and at the Sungnam Arts Center in Seoul on June 27. They will also travel to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong in China as part of the Far East tour.
The timing to raise funding may be tight, but Kim is no stranger to success on a shoestring.
When she moved to the U.S. at the age of 24, she had recently spent all her savings becoming the youngest person ever to put a show on at the National Theater of Korea in December 1976.
By March 1977, the dance graduate from Seoul's Ewha Womans University was in New York. And just six months after arriving in the U.S., she received a dance school scholarship for the Martha Graham School.
She worked with world-renowned companies and soon went on to create new dance works in collaboration with legendary jazz pianist Dave Brubeck.
In 1988, she went on to found the WHITE WAVE Young Soon Kim Dance Company. Since then, Kim has created more than 50 original works for her company's New York seasons, and now produces three festivals.
WHITE WAVE has performed on many principal stages in the U.S. and Asia - including in Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, and most recently Seoul in 1992.
Kim was also featured in the 2003 documentary "Arirang: The Korean American Journey."
"This performance is very important for us," Kim said. "Even though we performed in Korea for the first time in 1989 this will be the first time to bring so many dancers for one show."
For more information go to: www.kickstarter.com/projects/45098288/white-wave-young-soon-kim-dance-company-far-east-t?ref=live.