Choe Seung-hui Korean dance teaching curriculum, produced in North Korea, 1962

From Corporeal Politics: Dancing East Asia by Katherine Mezur and Emily Wilcox, Editors

  • Asian Studies
  • Theater and Performance
  • Dance
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  • This video shows black and white historical footage from a recent documentary. The original credits in the film are shown in Korean. English subtitles read: “The National Science Film Company Production (1962).” The video shows a room filled with women in long white dresses and white socks dancing in rows to classical music. They toss their hands above their heads, turn, and face one another, then switch positions. There is narration in Korean. The English subtitles read “Traditional movements provide a foundation for creating musical performances, the basis for Korean dancing as a whole.” The screen switches to what appears to be a chapter divider between sections in a dance curriculum. The subtitle reads “The next is arm nothing the arms” (sic). The video then shows a solo dancer demonstrating alternating arm movements while bouncing gradually up and down and walking slowly forward. The subtitles read “One dances to the tune of the rite music (sic). The movement is divided into 4 parts.” The video shifts to a close-up view of the upper body. The arms move in semi-circles up and down on either side of the body. The subtitles read, “The arms move together as one.” Then, the camera shows the dancer’s feet. The subtitles read, “One first takes a step with the right foot, bend the knees, and step with the left in the opposite direction.”