Monday, October 18, 2010

Little Kids Learning Traditional Arts

October 18th, 2010
I had 봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum in the evening, as usual for a Monday. On the way to class 원중 Wonjung called to tell me how his final audition had gone, he sort of got lost in the song and had to double back to sing the part he’d skipped over, but he didn’t think it went too badly. His voice, however, was almost gone. I talked to the security guard guy, went upstairs and sat with 김은주 Kim Eunju (the teacher) for about twenty minutes, then changed clothes and we had class.

The class was pretty ordinary, except we gained another male student, 병호 Byeongho, who is also a student at Korea National University of the Arts in the traditional theatre department. He expects to graduate next year. I have definitively regained my role as a senior and advanced member of class (a role I lost after not practicing more than a handful of times after June of 2006). As usual on Monday I tried to keep my perspective on the annoying kindergartener who practices with us. The kid is too young to really understand what to do, and is constantly goofing off, arguing with his little brother (who mostly sits with mom while she reads to him) and running around poking people (not me) in the butt. I am torn as I want him to love Korean traditions and applaud his mother for bringing him, but he’s just too young to start yet, and he’s really irritating. I know Kim Eunju well enough to know she’s a little irritated, too, but she’s much too sweet to let on. The thing is, when else could he learn? If there isn’t a program at his school, it’d be hard for him to find a class with other kids. Our class is supposed to be an “adult” class and in the past (January 2005-June 2006) the only kids there were 1) the kid who actually performs the part of the monkey for Bongsan Talchum Preservation Association performances (who practiced reasonably single-mindedly) and a mentally retarded middle school boy from the neighborhood. Now we’ve got a high school girl and two high school boys, plus this little kid. Since the high schoolers are and will apply to arts university, they're actually just about the best students, but this little boy is a different thing altogether. Yet who could argue with having him attend?

After class ended I stayed and practiced taiji (I guess I’m feeling better, since I still had some energy left over after Bongsan Talchum), and taught a little to 정현 Jeonghyeon who was staying after to rehearse for an audition for a musical next week.

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