‘Cheoyong’ dances on stage
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.