SOAS University of London

Centre of Korean Studies

Traditional Korean Dance: Tal Chum (mask dance)

Tal Chum

Date: 16 June 2017Time: 6:00 PM

Finishes: 16 June 2017Time: 8:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: G3

Type of Event: Workshop


Koreans are people who are full of excitement and when they are having fun they dance naturally to the music. There are many kinds of traditional Korean dances and Talchum is one of them. Talchum is a mask dance accompanied by songs and dramas, delivering the wisdom of old people who overcome the tiredness of reality through dance. This dance was popular among village people in the Joseon period (1392-1910). By dressing up as a nobleman or shaman, a wife or concubine, or even a servant, the common people could find enjoyment in the tense situations of real life. In addition, for the people who lived an unfair life ruled by an unrelenting upper class, the masks offered freedom to anonymously express their criticisms of powerful local people, helping them to release pent-up frustrations. There are about 12 different types of mask dances throughout South Korea, and each region has its own unique masks and choreography representing the movements, language, humor, and life of Koreans.

Through learning one of typical mask dances, palmokjung-chum (팔목중춤: the dance of the eight dark-face monks), the class will focus on understanding the basic movements, lines and rhythms of Talchum. Dancing and acting as the monk of Korea, student will be able to experience the emotions, expressions and historical moments of Korea. Since palmokjung-chum is a group choreography, called hapdongchum (합동춤), students can also accomplish harmonious and integrated energy while they dance together. The embodied movements of Talchum will be a useful exercise to learn the vernacular and physical language of Korea, guiding students to develop their interest to the Korean culture and arts. It is two-hour class consisting of the brief introduction of Talchum including video watching, learning the basic choreography of palmokjung-chum, and a Talchum showcase of students.   


Haein song is a Korean traditional dancer, director and digital practitioner born in Seoul. She is passionate about creating multi-cultural performance by finding an interesting convergence between traditional and contemporary culture and arts. She trained in Korean Traditional Dance at Gukak National Middle and High Schools, and studied choreography at Korea National University of Arts. After working as a dancer, director and producer at Korean Performing Art Development Corp., MARO for three years, she came to London to explore digital performances. She completed a MA in Contemporary Performance Making, Brunel University, and now continuing her PhD, researching about ‘the interactive digital practices in connection with Korean shamanic rituals, Kut’ at Brunel University. Her recent direction work 'Leodo', is selected as the 2014-15 Openstage programme by Korean Cultural Service NY, the top Korean Performances at Assembly Korean Season in Edinburgh Fringe 2015, and also nominated as the Best Performance in Dark Chat award in EdFringe 2015. She has taught a Korean traditional dance at the Korean Society of SOAS University of London since 2015.

Her personal website may be found here.

Organiser: CKS/KCCUK

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