Organized Panel Session
Buchae-chum (Fan Dance), Hwagwan-mu (Corolla Dance), and Buk-chum (Barrel Drum Dance) are three representative Korean Dances, unsurprisingly all three dances are commonly regarded as traditional Korean dances. But Han-guk Muyong was fostered by the Korean government after Korean Liberation in 1945. From 1950 to 1960 most fledgling Asian nations, such as the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, and Korea developed their national dances with government political support to demonstrate their new national identities on domestic and international stages. Han-guk Muyong was an important propaganda medium for an unknown and impoverished nation. An analysis of dance types and characteristics clearly shows the way nationalism impacted the dance canon. In particular I focus on dances used as part of mass games and employed at national events staged during the regime of Rhee Syngman (1948-1960) and dances leveraged in cultural exchanges and demonstrated by diplomatic delegations under President Park Chunghee (1961-1979). This study is based on oral histories from senior dancers, government documents, policy texts, newspapers reports, and documentary film. Through these sources I reveal the creative process that resulted in what we think of as Han-guk Muyong today. I argue that the Han-guk Muyong performed from 1950 to 1960 was not "traditional Korean dance," but a new development from historical roots designed to reflect the desired image of Korean cultural identity and the development of the form was deeply impacted by national cultural policies of that era.