Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Andong Mask Dance Festival

My Cafe Bene is wearing off and it's half past midnight and, let's face it, as the newest inductee into the Hunger Games-obsessed Nerd's Society (HGONS), I'm long overdue for an appointment in my bed with my hardcover. So we'll make this quick. It's all about the photos, really, anyway...

The Andong International Maskdance Festival started two weekends ago and just finished up this past weekend. It's my town's big festival, and one of the larger ones in Korea, I believe. I visited the day it started with my Korean-American posse, Shannon and Inyong (I'm just a wannabe). We were welcomed with fireworks -- literally right above our heads. Shortly after the colorful sparks flew and the clouds of smoke began clearing, millions of tiny pieces of ash started falling upon us. In our hair, on our clothes. It covered the ground, too. I thought it was pretty hilarious.

Something else that was hilarious? Inyong, the New York baller that he is, played a basketball game and got four shots in a row. His prize? A bottle of gin. Only in Korea...

I also went to the festival with my students on Friday. I was getting sick, but I didn't want to miss it. And I sort of had my fingers crossed that my principal would see how sick I was and not let me come to school and teach that day. That didn't happen. 
Mask Dance Festival stage

My 3rd and 4th graders were making masks when I arrived. I love 'em.

I probably seemed like a pedophile, because I kept taking pictures of all the adorable little kindergartners in their matching tracksuit uniforms. There were so many groups and I awe'd over each and every one of them.

My rambunctious 2nd graders

Masks from around the world! And, typically when I think of a school lunch, a turkey sandwich and a bag of chips comes to mind. But I am forever changed. Two rolls of kimbap were our lunch. One of my teachers told me it's a Korean picnic staple food. You don't go on a picnic without your kimbap. Also, my 1st grader, Jeffrey, is a gangsta.


He said, "Teacha!! Look! It's stormy!" They just learned the weather, so I was quite proud. I made my own mug, too. :)

I finally got to see my own baby kindergartners at the professional performance stage. They demonstrated every feeling for me, but kept going back to, "I'm angrrry!" It's their favorite. 

First performance was a modern piece by an Israeli troupe. 

Following was a traditional performance by a group from Malaysia. 

On Saturday night, a few friends and I drove to Hahoe Folk Village, just outside of Andong, for their traditional fireworks in honor of the Festival. I'm just going to copy and paste a video and some words from this guy, because he states/videos it well. :)

"On the evening of the opening and closing Saturday of the Andong Mask Dance Festival, Hahoe Folk Village hosts a traditional firework performance. They string ropes from the village, across the river, to the top of the cliff. The ropes are covered with some sort of sap or dried pine needles and set on fire.  Various performers read poetry and sing songs while sparks are raining down and floating candles drift past on the river. Meanwhile, actors dressed in traditional garb begin performing a play on a barge in the middle of the river, their shadows cast on the cliff face with a spot light.  Finally, at several points throughout the evening, the audience cheers and flaming hay bales are thrown from the top of the cliff into the river. The effect of the whole experience is pretty magical." 

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