Organized Panel Session
The Candlelight Revolution was a series of protests demanding President Park Geun-hye's impeachment carried out in South Korea between November 2016 and March 2017. After the initial demonstration on October 26, 2016, thousands of South Korean protesters denounced the Park administration as scandal-ridden and corrupt. According to the organizers during the months of protest 16 million people hit the streets in a nationwide anti-presidential rally, the largest protests in Korean history. For artists, the existence of a blacklist and accompanying censorship brought Park's corruption home. At the center of this protest, several artists created a ‘Black Tent’ in Gwanghwamun Square and presented a series of performances. The purpose of this paper is to look back and evaluate the role of dance in these protests. Artivists (artist+activists) use their artistic skills to fight against injustice and oppression through art (Asante 2009). During the Candlelight Revolution and earlier democratization movement, especially in 1987, the arts were an important tool of resistance, used to express nationalism while opposing the government, however compared to other artistic forms of protest dance has been relatively inconsequential in Korean protests. In this paper I bring the role of dance in these protests to the forefront, while investigating the reasons for its limited role Research was carried out through participant observation in the Candlelight Revolution, in the 'Black Tent,' and through interviews with dancer-activists.