Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sangmo Class with Wonjung and Hyeonseok

December 6th, 2010
Tradition is the past reborn in a shifting context. (Park, Chan E. 2003)
봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum class had to be cancelled because 김은주 Kim Eunju couldn’t make it and no one else was available. I worked on writing and editing at Starbucks, in the evening we went shopping.

December 7th, 2010
We have almost finished mailing all our Solstice/New Year cards! Yay! I feel so on top of things! The only remaining cards are for those people who really don’t know how to respond to emails asking for an address (okay, I should have remembered to bring my address book with me…).

상모 Sangmo class was a blast today, not quite sure why. I seriously was in a great mood and it was just me, 현석 Hyeonseok (the tall and sort of ungainly 10th grader) and 원중 Wonjung (his first day to do sangmo instead of just practicing drumming while we did sangmo). I really have gotten –so- much better. I must insist that Karjam come to my next class.

Observations from today:
I’m definitely getting treated differently, perhaps being female, older, or a foreigner, but 이종휘 Yi Jonghui puts so much more pressure or Hyeonseok. Or does he just expect him to need to be pushed? I suppose it could be because of differences in personality.

Generally he will talk to us about how we need to correct our motions, but then with only three students present, he’ll be back in just a minute or two to see if we’ve taken his advice. Both Wonjung and I do this thing where the circle of the sangmo needs to be strongest on the downstroke (if you’re going counter-clockwise as we usually are this means starting at 11 o’clock) but we both are stronger on the up (with a little extra push upward from about 2 o’clock in my case). This is a habit I’ve been fighting to break since I first was able to reliably spin the sangmo. But most of what Jonghui corrects is much more significant and immediately-actionable.

Today I was working on a quick side to side without spinning, but because you’re making a figure 8 (sideways) with your chin, it actually appears as though the sangmo is spinning. I need to do this without moving my upper body, because if I do I lose track of where the spinning rod is (my movement hides the sensations of its movement and if I lose it, I lose the motion and it will stop). I worked from transitioning from the 양사위 yangsaui with 1 ¾ spins on each side to this figure 8 and back again. The figure 8 is incorporated into two major motions, one is just to do the 8 so fast it’s hard to believe I’ll ever be able to, but it looks really impressive. The other is 나비사 nabisa, the butterfly motion where you make the 8, then draw forward and back at the center to make the body of the butterfly.

Wonjung, who practiced around three years ago but not much since, was working on the same things as me all class. Hyeonseok was working on a routine where you kneel and do the 8 super fast coordinated with the 소고 sogo motions.

I walked with Hyeonseok and Wonjung to the subway and on the way we began a conversation about a version of the script of 봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum that was not referenced (probably because it was unknown or unfindable) by 이두현 Professor Yi Duhyeon when he wrote up the original report on Bongsan Talchum leading to the arts certification and inclusion in the Cultural Property Protection Law as Intangible Cultural Asset #17 in 1967. This means that the 원형 wonhyeong, the archetypal original form that legally the Bongsan Talchum preservation association must adhere to may not be based on the oldest/most “authentic” records. According to what Wonjung has learned (he seems to have read parts or all of a modern translation of it) it is better. Now I personally do not have any stake in this matter, and tend to fatalistically hold to the opinion that since the Cultural Heritage Administration has proven their inability to adjust the wonhyeong there is just no use fighting about it, but it was interesting to hear Wonjung excitedly telling Hyeonseok all about it, and his attitudes in general (very excited about the new information he’d learned, not too knowledgeable about the way the law works, dismissive of the wonhyeong).

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