Choe Seung-hui in Moscow World Youth Festival, 1957

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

Subjects
  • Theater and Performance
  • Asian Studies
  • Dance
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Transcript

  • This video shows black and white historical footage from a recent documentary. It has English subtitles and narration added onto the original film. The first shot is of buildings in the Soviet Union. The caption reads “Moscow, 1950s.” The narrator states, “Her activities were far-ranging even in China. She travelled to Eastern Europe with her students and presided over the dance competition at the World Youth Conference held in Poland. The video shows a group of female dancers wearing long Korean garments with striped sleeve extensions with white edges dancing outdoors around a tribute statue. There is a sign in German in the background. The caption reads “Choi Seunghee Dance Company on Eastern European Tour.” The narrator continues, “With her dance company alone, she was earning North Korea badly needed foreign exchange. There was no reason for North Korea to restrict her activities. Though not exactly the complete freedom she had experienced in Western Europe, travelling through Eastern Europe allowed her to recall her past freedom and glory.” The dancers spin to a high-pitched horn and drums. At the end, they toss their sleeves into the air and bend backwards. Flags fly above the wall behind them. The camera pans to a cheering European audience giving a standing ovation. At the very end, a blonde child presents flowers and hugs a member of the North Korean delegation.