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TALCHUM DANCE – East Asia: ‘Korean Mask Dance’



Talchum is an intriguing Mask dance of East Asia Korea .This mask dance is said to have originated from the Hwanghae Province located in North Korea. This dance style is said to be highly dramatic in nature, and is said to possess theatrical elements.Furthermore, the masked performers usually represent ordinary people, animals and supernatural beings. In addition, this dance style is known as Sandae noli in Seoul or the Gyeonggi Province, and Yayu in the southern coast of Korea.

a. History/origin of the Talchum:

It is said that initially this dance form was developed as a form of shamanic ritual to provide protection against evil spirits as well as to provide farmers with a good harvest season. Furthermore, it is gradually over the years that this dance developed from a form of a ritual to pure entertainment. In addition, this dance was also once performed in the royal court belonging to the Koryo dynasty.

b. Costumes used in the Talchum:

The costume used in this dance form is a colourful hanbok i.e. the traditional Korean attire. Furthermore, the use of facial masks as a prop also forms an integral part of the costume used in this dance style.

c. Music involved in the Talchum:

The musical instrument used in this dance style basically includes haegeum (fiddle), daegeum (flute), janggu (hourglass drum), and buk (barrel drum).

d. Training availability and technique involved in the Talchum:

In terms of technique, this dance basically requires the performers to rhythmically jump, leap, and squat to the beats of the accompanying music. As for training centres/schools, there are a few training centres available in Korea for those interested in learning this unique Korean mask dance.

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