June 30, 2022
KCNA Naenara (En)

Civil Art Organization–Sadangphae

Date: 23/05/2022 | Source: Naenara (En) | Read original version at source

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Sadangphae is a civil art organization in the period of the feudal Joson dynasty (1392–1910) which specialized in singing and dancing with urban and rural communities as its arena of activity. The word sadangphae originated from the meaning “group of kwangdae .” In olden times there was no word paeu (actor in English) in Korea, so the entertainers were called kwangdae . Hence, sadangpae was an organization of those entertainers, and the dance performed by them was called sadang dance.

It can be said that sadangpae was formed between 15th and 16th century when the feudal culture was developing.

Its heyday was between 17th and 18th century, and the sphere of its activity covered the rural villages and towns in Phyongan, Hwanghae, Kyonggi, Chungchon, Kyongsang and Jolla provinces.

Entering the 19th century the activities of new famous phansori (a long epic song) singers emerged, and the Japanese imperialists, who occupied the country militarily in the early 20th century, started to crack down the folk events and group gatherings. This made sadangpae wander around rural areas and live on penny donated by peasants. Most of its members were artistes of farmer origin or their descendants who had gathered to seek a way to make a living amid poverty and hardships. So they suffered all sorts and humiliation and maltreatment from the feudal rulers.

As men and women lived together in one group, its internal regulation jungbop was so strict that the one who violated it was forced to be driven out of the organization. Songs and dances performed by sadangpae mainly dealt ideological feelings and aspiration of the working farmers and revealed the corruption and incompetence of the feudal rulers and the vulnerability of the feudal society.

The group made contribution to developing song and dance into one of the theatrical art based on popular songs and dances, and played some positive roles in the development of the country’s national culture and traditional virtue and excellent custom.

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