Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Bongsan and Sangmo Practice

February 21st, 2011
I worked on the computer and then headed to 봉산탈춤 Bongsan Talchum class in the evening, just barely arriving before 김은주 Kim Eunju, my awesome teacher (who is always a couple minutes late). We had one new student, 나례 Naryae, who was sunny and bright, a perfect addition to our group. 수미 Sumi and 하연 Hayeon were there as well as 정현 Jeonghyeon and 병호 Byeongho and 허세준 Heo Sejun (sp?). There were a total of 10 students, but with four key members absent. We practiced all the monk parts, then proceeded to practice 소무 Somu, then 사상좌 Sasangjwa and finally 사자춤 Sajachum (lion's dance). In other words, we actually have a lot of things we know now. If we can keep a key group of people coming we may actually be ready for a performance in April or thereabouts (since the performance in January fell through).

Class has become increasingly dominated by people who are in the class to either add to their bag of tricks (as actors or some such) or to prepare for school entry. Of the people who are regularly attending now, of those whose employment I know (almost all), only 미행 Mihaeng (who is taking a break this month but text messaging me periodically) is not in the larger field of performance/preparing to be a performer.

February 22nd, 2011
I spent the day on the computer and in the later afternoon headed to the Seoul training center for 임실필봉농악 Imshil Pilbong Nongak to practice 상모 sangmo. We have been meeting at 6, but today there was a class in the space, so we had to wait. I talked to the 교포 gyopo (Korean-American) while waiting. Her name is 이 은 Yi Eun, and she graduated from Northwestern with a degree in music education, but is now spending this entire year in Seoul working on her Korean (she's in Level 4 at Yonsei KLI) and learning 풍물 pungmul. She had previously learned a little, now she's in the intermediate class. She has never studied at Pilbong, however. But I gather she's not been in Seoul for long.

Class was tough. As I get better 이종휘 Yi Jonghui becomes stricter—he more or less constantly corrects me these days, then constantly corrects 현석 Hyeonseok, then looks back at me and corrects me again. He was already pretty strict! Or maybe it's just comparison with 이재정 Yi Jaejeong's style of teaching. At any rate, sangmo is a challenge mostly because you have to coordinate a very large number of different motions which must be properly synchronized. Now that I have to use the 소고 sogo (beating out the rhythm as I step and spin) it is even more complex.
Potential mistakes, all mentioned today:
1. my chin is too low (too close to my chest)
2. when doing a high step, my foot looks like it's kicking rather than just be lifted
3. instead of doing 1.9 spins and then reversing direction, I'm doing 1.7
4. I'm minimizing my knee bends on count 2 and 4, but they need to be the same as the bends on 1 and 3
5. When turning to the side for a two count, I need to turn 90 degrees on 1 and 3, instead I turn 80 degrees on 1 and then 10 degrees on 2 (but funnily 3 and 4 are not a problem)
6. My beat is too early on the sogo
7. My beat is too late
8. I'm doing the move too fast
9. I'm using too much power to turn so I don't look fluid
10. My sogo is pointing down instead of out
11. My sogo stick holding hand is not bent enough at the wrist
12. I'm not timing the very first pre-move correctly
I think I'm probably still forgetting some mistakes I made.

After class I interviewed Jonghui. He started playing when he was in fourth grade, and began sangmo when he was eleven.

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