World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


Hearan Chung

Dance Origin: Korea
: Korean Traditional & Folk
Artistic Director/Choreographer
: Hearan Chung

First Appearance in SF EDF:

Hearan Chung choreographed this piece in 2009. Artistic Director of the Northern California Korean Dance Association, Chung has mastered various Korean court, folk, and creative dances. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in dance from Ewha Women’s University. She taught for twenty years in leading Korean universities, has choreographed over forty-eight works, and published four theses. She's performed around the world, and locally at the Asian Art Museum, Women on the Way, ODC Theater, and PBS SPARK. Chung was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award, and has received grants from Silicon Valley Foundation, Alliance for California Traditional Arts, and CA$H Grant.


Title: Honryung
Hearan Chung 

Honryung tells the story of a Korean child, an only daughter, who suddenly dies. Her soul resists leaving the world at such a tender age, and her restless spirit clings to her family. Her parents yearn for peace, so they hire a shaman to lead their daughter to the kingdom of the spirits. The result is a playful dance between soul and shaman. The girl hides in a jar and steals the shaman's clothes, enticing the shaman to have fun.  

Shamanism is Korea’s indigenous religion and it is very much alive in contemporary Korean society. Shamans, called mudang, are usually women, and they are selected for their spiritual integrity and skill. The mudang acts as an intercessor between the spirits—a person's ancestors, an unknown force from history, or a deity. Through ritual and ceremony she can help with all aspects of life, from illness and marriage, to school exams and the lottery. The shaman also assures the dead and their families a final peace as she helps guide souls to the next world. Rituals may run a few hours to a few days at a rural shamanic facility. Some mudang, especially in the northern regions, follow a spirit-possessed, ecstatic tradition.

When a shaman channels spirits, she dons elegant and colorful costumes. She holds a fan to represent dignity, and a bell to call the gods. She dances to traditional Korean music, played on gongs, drums, and the piri flute that is required in shamanic ceremonies.

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