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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…..

Audience Meeting Party of Musical Dong-Dong

Have you seen the musical ‘Dong-Dong’ which is the second project of ‘Creation-ing’?

In the night of November 10, after the second show of Dong-Dong,
the audience meeting party of Musical Dong-Dong was held in Jeongdong Maru.

스티커 이미지

It was time to be with the audience and the production team having traditional alcohol

in order to have various conversation on the musical.

This is the scene from the beginning of the event.

After the performance finished, many audiences came to Jeongdong Maru.

 From the number of the people, it is assumed how exciting the musical was.

In the corner, many cookies and rice cakes are ready.

And next to them, there were alcohols!

The alcohols were so special. They are signature cocktails made of the traditional alcohols sponsored by ‘Woori Soolbang’.

And Jung hyun Seo, the ambassador of Korean traditional alcohol, made the cocktails in the venue!

It is ssso cooool!!!

The left one is ‘Cocktail Hyeonjong’ based on Lemon and the right one is ‘Cocktail Kanggamchan’ based on grapefruit’.

The taste was so good as much as the color.

With the great cocktails, the conversation session was started.

For the conversation session, director Yukji, Choreographer Jaeseung Kim,
Changryeol Heo and Actor Hyuncheol Jeong appeared on the stage.

Jaeseung Kim told,

“Thanks to Changryeol, I could work with great actors.
At the first time, I was wondering if the actors could complete the Korean traditional mask dance.
However, as time goes by, I was happy to see the actors changed.”

For the question of “Who changed most?”,

He said “Hyeoncheol Jeong. I was surprised today.”

Changryeol Heo, who taught the actors the Korean traditional mask dance, said

“I would like to give a big hand to the actors who mastered the dance in the short time”

And the director Yukji said,

“I’m very proud of the actors. They confirmed that I’m not wrong.”

For the question about the usage of umbrella for the war,

The director said, “I hope not to have stress from the war with swords.
And I would like to describe the meaning of the war as defensing and saving somebody not as cutting others”

“Also, I thought that the umbrella goes with the image of the full moon.”

The director’s intention was very impressive.

The events proceeded on under an atmosphere of freedom.

The MC, Hyeoncheol Jeong was so funny.

Also, ‘contest of 2 line poem’ added more fun.

Here below the 2 line poem by actor Hyeoncheol Park.

Actor Jaehyeon Lee and Yongnam Kim also took a part in the events.

Jaehyeon Lee acted a role of ‘Cao Cao’ in ‘Red Cliff’ and he sang a song for Dong-Dong in the event.

Here is the beat box by Actor Yongnam Kim!

He told that he is so sad because he doesn’t have any song in this musical even if he is a musical actor.

I also so sad about that.

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The event was finished in the hot atmosphere.
At the end of the events, the actors took photos or communicated with the audiences.

Please come and see the musical!

 

Interview with Hyuk Lee

<Lotus, A Flower Comes Out Once More> 

A single-hearted man, the role of ‘Dodam’, a court worrier

Interview with ‘Hyuk Lee’

Here is a man.

A single-hearted devotion. A worrier who loves only one woman.

Dadam, we can call him a romantist.​

I met Hyuk Lee who has role of ‘Dodam’, the pioneer of <Lotus, A Flower Comes Out Once More>.

<Lotus, A Flower Comes Out Once More> has double casting.

The main characters are the king, queen, the best court dancer ‘Seoryeon’, the best worrier in the court ‘Dodam’
and shaman of the court, ‘Mohwa’.

The relationship of the characters is very simple.

Seoryeon and Dodam are loved to each other.

The king has desire of Seoryeon and the queen is jealous to it.

Dodam is a worrier of the court but he loses his allegiance toward the King to protect his love.

A battle between the King and Dodam unfolds

Through the interview, let’s hear from Hyuk Lee, one of the double casted Dodam.

Q.How was your first feeling of the performance <Lotus, A Flower Comes Out Once More>

I was used to  respect Chunghan Kim, the director and choreographer of this performance.

He was director of <Chunhyang> of Jeongdong Theater in 2012 and I acted the main characters Mongryong and Byeon for the performance.

And now I’m very glad to join his work again at the very first time.

Q. What is your best scene of <Lotus, A Flower Comes Out Once More>?

In this work, there are various scenes.

They include an entertainment of the Joseon court, the scene of worriers’ training
and the scene of court ritual which contains Korean traditional aspect.

​Among these scenes, I like the Romantic scene.

You must meet the ‘Romance’ in director Kim’s work.​

In this performance, there is a very beautiful duet scene of lovely man and woman.

In the scene, Seoryeon who was thrown of the court plays Haeguem
and Dodam who was training in a forest suddenly hears the music and starts to look for her.

Finally, the two meet each other and play music together.

After confirming their love, they dance.

The dance under the moonlight is the best scene I think.

Q. What is your favorite role exclude ‘Dodam’?

I think ‘Mohwa’, the court shaman is very attractive character.

She has very huge charisma and she is very similar with the message of this story.

As we have male shaman, I think that I can show very powerful and different shaman character.

Therefore, I would like to act Mohwa.

Q. What is the similarity of the character ‘Dodam’ and you, your self?

I think this story has the things which could happen in our reality.

Love, Jealous and unexpected incidences are included.

Dodam is a man who throw out his allegiance to protect his love.

It is a man’s devotion and sacrifice.

Whoever, Men dream to help their lover to overcome difficulties and to protect her sacrificing themselves.

I think this is similarity between the character and me.

Q. Jeongdong Theater is trying to present new traditional performance.

What is the merit of <Lotus, A Flower Comes Out Once More> as a future-traditional performance?

The dance of this work is based on Korean tradition but it newly created.

In the opening scene, it shows various court dances such as ritual group dance, Taepyeongmu of the queen and the sword dance.

This performance presents beautiful Korean court ceremony with new interpretation for foreign and local audiences.

As it has created piece, the audiences who have no experience about Korean tradition also easily accept it.

​Also, it shows a hopeless love story like Korean version of  ‘Romeo and Juliet’.

Therefore it easily get the sympathy from the audiences.

I’m sure that it is a performance where you can experience the contemporary and modern arts of Korean tradition with the essence of Korean culture through the music which is featured by Aeri Park, one of the best Korean traditional vocalists.​

Q. Before closing the interview, please give some comment to the audience who have never experienced Korean traditional dance.

Korean dance has a connotation as a boring arts.

However, through this performance, you can finally meet various attraction of Korean dance.

 <Lotus, A Flower Comes Out Once More> Double Cast 

​▲Seoryeon_ Haneul Cho / Jiyeon Park

​▲Dodam_ Jinheung Jun / Hyuk Lee​

​▲King_ Euiyeon Cho / Hyunwoo Kim​

​​▲Queen_ Jinkyeon Park / Sumin Kim

​▲Mohwa_ Goun Lee / Narae​

Jeongdong Theater Tradition Series, <Lotus, A Flower Comes Out Once More>

+Period : Till Oct. 29th

 +Performance day : Tue-Sun 4 pm/ 8 pm (No performance on Mondays)