Yonbaek Peasant Dance

There is Yonbaek Peasant Dance among the cultural heritage created by the Korean nation in the course of their working life.

It is a folk dance that appeared and was traditionally handed down in the Yonbaek plain region including the areas of Chongdan, Yonan and Paechon on the southeastern seashore of South Hwanghae Province.

It is a mass-based and popular dance which was performed merrily to the tune of drum and other instrumental accompaniments while singing songs to pray for and celebrate good harvest.

Since the Yonbaek plain area is the major granary, peasant dance had developed at a higher level than other regions to add amusement of farming and demonstrate the might of unity of the collective.

The performers of this peasant dance include a gong player, drummer, janggu beater and saenap (a Korean brass wind instrument) blower as the band of musical instruments, a taborer, boy dancer and dancer turning round decorative tassels as dancers and a flag bearer and signaler as auxiliary members.

The dance largely consists of kilnoli, phannoli and individual play.

Kilnoli is the starting part of the peasant dance where a peasant band forms a group to go to the dancing place while dancing, while phannoli is part of dancing where the peasant dance conducts a variety of dancing rhythms and stunts, playing of farm music and singing of folk songs by reflecting the emotional feelings of human life and their courses in a certain place.

Individual play is the climax of the peasant dance showing the dance and playing skills of individual dancers and stunts of turning round decorative tassels and riding on another’s shoulders.

Dancing tune and composition, the main means of representation, are very diverse.

There are a group dance rhythm showing a variety of working life including rice-planting, weeding, cutting rice plants and threshing, peasant dance rhythm played to the tune of farm music while beating percussion instruments merrily, skilful turning round decorative tassels, beating a small drum in combination of dance turning round and twelve-disposition as the tactful unfolding of dance composition to demonstrate the unity of cooperative farming team.

Among the costume of peasant dance, there are such Korean dressing as the Korean paji (trousers) and jogori (jacket), or Korean chima (skirt) and jogori (jacket) for woman standing on another’s shoulders. And the dancer wears a sleeveless jacket and is decorated with surplice and hangings while putting on a cowl, felt hat for turning round decorative tassels and hat.

The peasant dance climaxes with a dance turning round.

A decorative tassel on a cap is the imitation in the shape of fur decoration hanging on soldier’s felt hat in the period of the feudal Joson dynasty.

In the dance turning round dancers turn round 12-fathom or longer decorative tassels showing various specialities and the appearance of turning round decorative tassels is arousing the admiration of all.

The peasant dance was created as a short piece of dance with deep national colours and cuts a conspicuous figure at the world art stage. And it is performed as a popular dance of congratulation in national events or the year-end payment places of cooperative farms and as one scene of mass gymnastics.

Folk dance “Yonbaek Peasant Dance” was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage element in 2013.

Categories: Culture, Dance

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