‘Cheoy­ong’ dances on stage

The Korea Times - - CULTURE - An­na­j­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Mark­ing the 10th an­niver­sary of Ko­rea’s tra­di­tional mask dance “Cheoy­ongmu” be­ing added to UNESCO’s list of In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage of Hu­man­ity, the Na­tional Gu­gak Center (NGC) will present a new cre­ative pro­duc­tion ti­tled “Cheoy­ong” this Thurs­day and Fri­day.

The NGC Dance Theater has in­cor­po­rated the el­e­ments of tra­di­tional Korean dances with cut­ting-edge in­ter­ac­tive me­dia tech­nolo­gies for the orig­i­nal dance pro­duc­tion.

The dance drama is based on Ko­rea’s cen­turies-old folk­tale of Cheoy­ong who sup­pos­edly lived in United Silla in the 9th cen­tury.

Ac­cord­ing to a folk­tale book called “Samguk Yusa,” or “Me­mora­bilia of the Three King­doms” com­piled in the 13th cen­tury, the fic­tional fig­ure of Cheoy­ong, the son of a dragon king, saves his wife from the evil spirit of pesti­lence through singing and danc­ing. Cheoy­ongmu orig­i­nated from this legend, and it now is con­sid­ered the na­tion’s old­est sur­viv­ing Korean court mask dance.

The mask dance has also shaman­is­tic roots, as it used to be per­formed at the end of the year to drive off evil spir­its.

It em­ploys cre­ative chore­ogra­phies along with the lat­est stage tech­nolo­gies to add con­tem­po­rary and dra­matic el­e­ments into the tra­di­tional dance form, yet it would still al­low au­di­ence mem­bers to grasp a vivid un­der­stand­ing on the legend of Cheoy­ong, the Cheoy­ongmu mask dance and the main themes of the age-old folk­tale.

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