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07/22/2019 HYU News > General


Korean Traditional Fan Dance Performed by Foreign Students

The traditional fan dance (buchaechum) of the 2019 summer class


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K-pop, K-dramas, and Korean food are becoming global phenomena. However, in comparison, not much is known about Korea’s traditional aspects. In the 2019 summer school, as an attempt to introduce Korea's traditional culture to foreign students, Hanyang University opened the only traditional fan dance (buchaechum) class for the summer school students in Korea.

For the 2019 summer school, Hanyang University opened a traditional fan dance (buchaechum) class for the foreign students.

The fan dance is a traditional Korean dance for celebrations. As the name tells, the dance involves using two large traditional fans decorated with pink feathers, which the dancers move to form the shape of birds, flowers, butterflies and waves. Dancers wear bright-colored hanbok (Korean traditional dress) and Korean bridal crowns when performing the fan dance.

Shin Kyeong-a (Department of Dance), the teacher of the fan dance class, explained the goal of the class, saying “most students only know about K-pop dances and are surprised to find out that we have a preserved traditional dance. We wanted to create an opportunity for foreign students to get to know a bit about the traditional culture.”

Adjunct professor Shin Kyeong-a (Department of Dance, left) and Park Jin-young (Department of Dance, doctor's program, right) were the teachers of the fan dance class.

There are 16 students from various backgrounds in the class. During the four-week program (from July 2nd to 26th), the class gathered and practiced for two hours from Monday to Thursday. By the end of the third week, they mastered the 6-minute-long intricate fan dance moves.

One of the students, Alison Murphy (Athabasca University, Canada), said “it’s fascinating that none of us are dancers, yet we’ve managed such a beautiful flower shape with fans.” Galia Nankin (University of Bridgeport, Israel), another participant, agreed and said, “I’ve never danced, so coordination was the hard part. It gives a really big sense of satisfaction that I can do this beautiful dance.” They added that they are looking forward to performing at the summer school graduation ceremony on July 26th.

Students of traditional fan dance class (from left), Galia Nankin, Chifan Lin, and Alison Murphy talked about their experiences of learning the fan dance. 

Students picked the arrangement of fans in a flower shape as the hardest, yet most beautiful dance routine.

The teachers hope that after the class, students will leave with a fresh interest in the culture. “I keep in touch with last year’s students and they still have a continuing interest in Korean culture,” said Park Jin-young (Department of Dance, doctor's program), the assistant teacher. “I hope this year’s students were also able to learn about our tradition, and take them back to their home cultures."

Lim Ji-woo

Photos by Kim Ju-eun

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