The Korea Herald


Traditional performances for Lunar New Year festivities

By Hwang Dong-hee

Published : Feb. 4, 2024 - 14:55

    • Link copied

The Lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays are a time when there is more than the usual offering of traditional performances.

The National Dance Company of Korea, National Gugak Center and Seoul Namsan Gukakdang are set to create special ambiances which capture the essence of the traditional holiday.

"Festival" (National Dance Company of Korea)

'Festival' with National Dance Company

The National Dance Company of Korea, affiliated with the National Theater of Korea, is ushering in the Year of Blue Dragon with a special holiday production that reinterprets traditional folk dances.

Titled “Festival,” the three-act performance is scheduled to take place at the Haneul Round Theater, from Wednesday to Sunday.

The opening act unfolds with dances for welcoming spirits. After a dancer recites a congratulatory message, the "Jijeon Dance" kicks off, in which performers clutch paper money symbolizing the money to be used for the deceased's journey to the afterlife and pray for his rebirth. The male ensemble then takes the stage with the dynamic "Dosalpuri Dance" featuring the rhythmic beats of Gyeonggi Dodang-gut, a type of shamanistic ritual from Gyeonggi Province.

The second act showcases the exuberant dances that entertain the spirits. The "Jinju Gyobang Gutgeori Dance," originating from the Jinju region, features a calm and delicate performance by a female group. Next the "Jinsoe Dance" employs a gong and a drum to dispel evil spirits. Traditionally a male-group dance, the dance has been reinterpreted as a mixed-gender ensemble.

The concluding act consists of two performances bidding farewell to spirits. "Sinkalmu" offers a reinterpretation of a traditional dance incorporating bamboo decorated with paper money, while "Minsalpuri" is a very spontaneous dance.

Tickets cost 30,000 won for all seats, with a 30 percent discount for those born in the Year of the Dragon and a 20 percent discount for those wearing hanbok.

"Cheongryongi Narasha" (National Gugak Center)

Soaring dragon at National Gugak Center

The National Gugak Center is set to present its holiday production at Yeakdang Hall on Saturday.

Titled "Cheongryongi Narasha" (meaning “Soaring Blue Dragon” in Korean), the performance embodies a wish for a prosperous new year with a series of court music repertoires, drum dances, regional folk music and shamanistic ritual dances.

If your name includes any of the Korean characters “yong,” “ryong,” or “chung,” you are eligible for a 50 percent discount. Additionally, a 50 percent discount will be given if you are wearing hanbok.

On the same day, various hands-on programs will be available from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the front yard, featuring a lion dance show to ward off negative energy. Various folk game booths will also be set up.

At 3 p.m. daily from Friday to Feb. 12, live recordings of four major repertoire pieces -- “Jongmyo Jeryeak,” “Narye,” “Umyeonsan Music Festival” and “Hwa Ee Boo Dong” -- will be released on the National Gugak Center's YouTube channel.

"The Dandelion’s Story" (Modl Theatre)

Family theater at Seoul Namsan Gukakdang

Seoul Namsan Gukakdang is set to enchant families with a children’s play production, “The Dandelion’s Story” (“Aha! Puppy Poo” in Korean), from Wednesday to Feb. 17.

Based on the South Korean picture book titled “Puppy Poo” by Kwon Jeong-saeng, the first illustrated book in Korea to sell more than one million copies, the story follows Puppy Poo who undergoes a transformative journey, ultimately blossoming into a beautiful dandelion flower.

Premiered in 2001 by the Modl Theatre, the production weaves together elements such as dance, holographic visuals, magic and traditional Korean music, creating a multi-faceted experience for children.

A 20 percent discount is offered for foreign attendees and those who come with a copy of the book "Aha! Puppy Poo."