Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sangmo in Seoul

August 31st, 2010
After a visit to Professor 김혁래 Kim Hyukrae in the afternoon I went to the Seoul practice hall for 임실필봉농악 Imshil Pilbong Nongak for상모 sangmo class. Class is 70,000 won for a month (if you’re not a student, apparently I am not), but the classes meet only once a week, in my opinion this is too much (prices have probably risen but a few years ago you could go to a normal martial arts class an hour per day five days a week for a month for this price). At any rate, the office manager, 김진국 Kim Jin’guk was so sweet he even called as he left the subway station to see if I wanted to walk with him (to help me find it) I was already almost there without needing to call for more directions, but I waited for him to catch up as I ate some 유부초밥 Yubu Chobap from the store nearby (dinner on the run, again). We walked the rest of the way there together. I’d definitely seen him before in Pilbong, and this turned out to be true of almost everyone who came to class. Of the people who came to class there were two people whose names I know, 허태강 Heo Taegang, one of my 개전연 Gaejeonyeon friends from last summer and 김림하 Kim Rimha from the recent class. The latter was very late. But the most interesting (research wise) arrival of the evening was (I think I have the name right) 원 중 Won Jung who is also in my 봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum class! (This made it sort of embarrassing that I was wearing exactly the same clothes). He came together with two other high school boys who are also learning Bongsan Talchum (but hadn’t been there on Monday), I’m really excited for the prospects here for the arts and for some really rich future interviews. There were two other women in the class, one of whom I know from Pilbong, the other is the 후배 underclasswoman of my Gaejeonyeon friend Yumi. The instructor, 이중휘 Yi Junghui and the assistant, 변 Byeon something (I’ll have to ask again) were very good. I was sort of shocked (by comparison with class at Pilbong) when Yi switched out the spinning apparatus on my sangmo, his had had a washer inserted in it and the difference was huge. I could really feel where it was, even when it was behind me, and I felt like I was going to start spinning correctly at any moment (except for the fact that my knees hurt SO much, partially just the usual and partially because of Bongsan the night before). The class went by quickly. We made two rows facing a full mirror, and I was in the back (behind Taegang). Mostly the assistant watched those of us in the back, while the instructor was in front. Both dictated how much to do before resting (500 sequences of spins one time, 20 minutes another for the most advanced four people). For the more advanced of the girls (the one at Seoul Women’s University is at the same stage as me) they were asking for 10 sequences on a four count rhythm without mistake. Both of the men really got right in there and moved both my head and the head of the beginner girl. I didn’t notice any physical correction of the others, mostly imitation of mistake was employed along with perfect modeling of the motion with verbal explanation accompanying it to emphasize the key points. After the class ended some of them were going out for drinks, I couldn’t as I had to get home to a husband who’d already called me only twenty minutes after the class started! Did I mention Karjam finds it untoward that I am out and about at night?

A photo of Professor Kim I took in the elevator (hardly the best light) on Karjam's camera

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