The Palace: Tale of Jang Nok-Su, Learning Korean Traditional Dance Pt 1

Hello, this is Jeongdong Theater. It is Autumn in Korea and watching the seasons change slowly and the trees change colors seems to fill the heart with joy. But if you add culture and dance to this rich emotion, will the rest of October not be a little happier?

Jeongdong Theater, located on Jeongdong-gil, filled with ambiance and romance, is a traditional performing art and performance center representing Korea. We present high-quality performances that reinterpret our traditional culture and art.

In particular, Jeongdong Theater’s permanent performance is a creative dance-drama that shows the story of Jang Nok-Soo, who lived a dramatic life from an innocent, tomboy-like slave, to one of the best dancers and singer of her time, to becoming a woman of the royal power, this show unfolds her life as an art piece.

According to Nok-su’s identity, Korean people’s culture, giseng culture, and palace culture are shown through the play and dance. In particular, The Palace: Tale of Jang Nok Su is a performance that pays attention to Jang Nok Su as an outstanding artist.

So be prepared!

We have divided this series into two. Today, let’s take a look at the dances that Nok-su performed in her early days.

Janggo Dance

Nok-su became a courtesan after her skills and talents were recognized by Je-an Daegun . Devoted to a full-fledged giseng training, she dances with her Janggu strapped on her shoulders. Janggu Dance is also called Janggo-mo or Janggo Dance.

Janggu dance is divided according to whether it is mainly dancing or playing the drum. Janggu dances performed in Gibangs are dances, and Janggu dances in Pungmulnori are mainly playing the drums.

Of course, the courtesan Nok-su was dance-oriented. Thus, this is a Janggu dance show with fun and flirty behavior. It is not known when the instrument called Janggu was incorporated into this particular dance. However, it is said that the style of hanging the rope at an angle with a string attached to the Janggu and tapping the Janggu was mainly performed by the private artists of the Joseon Dynasty.

Hanryang Dance

Under the teachings of Je-an Daegun, Noksu blossoms artistically and becomes the best courtesan of Joseon. And Nok-su as an entertainer was to entice the men.

Hanyang Dance is a dance that expresses elegance and excitement. In this scene, Nok-su dances with a fan. However, the dance form is not constant and there are no rules. The dancer can freely improvise according to the situation. However, in this situation, she was dancing for the scholars(Seonbi) so Seonbi’s elegance was infused with the dance. In particular, the figure of a crane symbolizing scholars is shaped and danced.

Kyobang Salpuri Dance

Kyobang is an institution that presided over teaching gisengs dances and songs around the Joseon Dynasty. There are various types of dance like sword dances, bridge dances, etc

The dances featured in are Salpuri dance and Fan dance. First of all, the Salpuri dance is a word from shamanism that means to loosen the flesh. Therefore, it can be called ‘dance to lose weight’. Originally, it started as a shamanic dance with a strong ritual attached to it, but it was later reestablished as an art. Flirting is required in this dance so it’s famous among the gisengs and it’s also a very delicate dance.

For more check out the video
https://youtu.be/4yprzvwhva8

Fan dance

The fan dance is probably the most famous traditional dance. In fact, the fan dance is not a traditional dance of Korea. This dance was created by dancer Kim Baek-bong in 1954.

Of course, there are many dances with fans in the national dances of the world, including shaman dances. But most of those dances are not fan centered. However, Nok-su’s fan dance shows the best technique to open, fold, wind, and spread.

This technique-oriented fan dance was first presented at the Kimbaekbong Dance Presentation at the Seoul Construction Center on November 1954.

Then in the 1968 Mexico Olympics, the fan dance was reconstructed and developed into a group of dances. The Korean Folk Arts Group played a fan dance at the World Excellent Art Festival and World Folklore Festival held together with the Olympics. Since then, fan dance has become one of the most representative dances in the world.

For more check out the video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T6Jck510Lw

This concludes the first series, in the next part, we would continue with Nok-su’s dancing in the palace.

To be continued…..

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