Saturday, December 18, 2010

Learning Arts from Clubs

December 16th, 2010
On Thursday Karjam went with me to 봉천놀이마당 Bongcheon Noli Madang. We had a good turnout for practice, though 장미이 Jang Mi’i was a bit late and 선우 Seonu reviewed with us for the first twenty minutes of class. After class, as usual, we exchanged our views on how class was going—although some people feel it’s hard and one seems about to give up (he even sat out the second half of class whether because it was physically exhausting or because it was frustrating, I’m not sure), most people express that it’s fun, interesting or enjoyable (the three most common vocabulary words they use). We spent more than half the class dancing in a circle, which is how the beginning exercises are done at 고성오광대 Goseong Ogwangdae’s training as well. Dancing in a circle is much harder, especially since we change directions and even if the teacher is in front of you while going one direction, she’ll be behind for part of it as well. I am actually really enjoying the class and feel very comfortable with the Goseong motions, also, if I just practiced a little more I know I’d be able to do the entire thing from memory. This is fortunate as we have a sort of graduation presentation where we show what we’ve learned on the 28th. I am not sure if I will participate or not, since it’s usually a day for 상모 sangmo.

With my dissertation support group I’ve started to write daily to start fleshing out parts of my dissertation-to-be. I wrote this paragraph which is somewhat related to Bongcheon Noli Madang. There is a lot more after this paragraph, but I’ll share this for now as it’s more related and because part of what’s next is notes on who to interview and what to ask
–Comments welcome-

Perhaps the most promising method of arts teaching/learning for widespread dissemination of traditional performing arts knowledge is the club setting. Clubs bring a group of people together to socialize in this case through the learning and performing of traditional performing arts. The clubs generally welcome any interested party and group activities extend beyond practice and performance to, in particular, group drinking parties. Clubs for school and university students are generally called dongari, and at best they will have their own room for storage and meetings with the ability to request rehearsal space at the school. If the club is for adults, outside of a school, then the club generally has a rented room or rooms. In the club setting the members of the club generally contribute funds which are managed by a club financial officer. If the club has a rented room, such as Bongcheon Noli Madang or the group Beodulrim I drummed with from 1999 to 2003, these fees are rather assigned to rent, electricity, an honorarium for the teacher and other expenses. Many such adult clubs have two types of fees, one for the members of the club who join together for business meetings and make decisions related to the activities of the club, and one for short-term students, who pay a higher monthly fee. Members may pay fees even if they have quit active participation for a number of years, but may drop in on any class or meeting anytime they want.

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