Tuesday, September 14, 2010

52 Sangmo Circles!

September 14th, 2010
We went to pick up our thanka (it looks amazing) and then went to meet a woman who’s the advance prep person for a Singaporean TV show. They are doing a show on Korea with six segments, focusing on the Andong Mask Dance Festival. In typical Korean fashion, the people in Andong just supplied my phone number. Of course our love story (our ten year anniversary of meeting falls during the festival and Karjam will perform a short set) is what attracted them. To me, this is an opportunity to get people familiar with Karjam’s music from a different area, since they plan to film his set and feature his music. However, what cracked me up was that during the meeting I mostly just taught this woman who else she should contact, including a lesson on what mask dances exist, where their offices are located, how the Cultural Property Protection Law works (and hence what the titles mean) and so on. She even sent a follow up email asking for more phone numbers.

Ironically on my way to meet her Arirang TV called, I told them to call back and they did and sent an email. They want me to function as a guest announcer who can introduce the festival to the viewers. They also want exclusivity.

I made it to the Seoul practice center for 임실필봉농악 Imshil Pilbong Nongak later than I would have liked, just ten minutes before class was to start. Once class began 이종휘 Yi Jonghui kept us moving for 45 minutes non-stop. First for 15 minutes everyone (not just beginners) had to turn from side to side, bending their knees, so that their ribbon went swish-swish. I hadn’t noticed before that everyone had to do this, not just me because before I didn’t have any thought of doing anything else, but after my success the previous week I was eager to get back to spinning. The one difference between what I was doing and the advanced students is that they also hit the 소고 sogo drum as they turned from side to side. After the 15 minutes were up, we were given the instruction to begin spinning the one type I’d done the previous week. I set about doing just that, and by the time I was instructed to change had managed 12 consecutive circles. My new assignment was to prepare me for 양사위 yangsaui, which is turning your head to each side, one clockwise, one counter-clockwise. I was rather surprised he was already having me work on this, and my form was not so good (the clockwise side was rather forced and awkward). Before the break ended I began spinning again and did 22 circles, crowing to Jonghui elicited a command not to talk to him again until I’d done 50. I managed 52 (yes, a lot of 2s I don’t know why) within 5 minutes, but never exceeded that number for the rest of the class (although I got into the 40s several times), I expect I was just too exhausted. I had to consciously remember to breathe as I spun the 상모 sangmo. It was an absolutely intense workout, and after class ended I didn’t have the energy to leave, instead I sat down with 태강 Taegang and some other students to make 꽃갈 (not sure that’s the right spelling but flower hats). When I got up again, twenty minutes later my knees were so stiff I lurched and almost fell over.

The photo is a crappy photo in low light off my cell phone.

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