2011 Andong Mask Dance Festival to draw 15 countries

The Andong International Mask Dance Festival, a major cultural attraction for Andong in North Gyeongsang Province, will celebrate its annual fiesta for 10 days from Sept. 30 to Oct. 9 in Mask Dance Park in Andong.

The city is home to Hahoe Village, the most well-known historic clan village in Korea, and was added to the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites last year.

A scene from the mask dance drama, Hahoe Byeolsingut Talnori, in Andong, North Gyeongsang Province. (Andong City)

The festival will shed light on Korea’s ancient kings who visited Andong to find inner peace and offers visitors a chance to imagine being a king under a mask.

The Andong Festival Tourism Organizing Committee said it would invite contemporary mask theater troupes from 15 countries including India, Russia, Indonesia, China and France to showcase diverse mask dance performances.

One of the highlights will be “World Mask Dance Competition,” where visitors will be encouraged to dance to the music wearing a mask.

“World Original Mask Competition” will be held for those who are willing to make their own original masks and the competition will be open for both locals and international tourists.

Other events will include many small mask dance stages prepared by local cultural communities.

The organizer said another highlight will be a launch of the “Talala Dance” as the official dance for the Andong International Mask Dance Festival and a parade in which about 10,000 participants and visitors are expected to join. The dance was first created by the organizer last year.

From Seoul to Andong, it takes about three hours by bus and four and a half hours by train. For more information, visit www.maskdance.com.

By Kim Yoon-mi

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