Wooden Faces in the Rain: Andong’s International Maskdance Festival

Last weekend we visited the 2013 Andong International Maskdance festival, a brilliant display of color, movement, and sound. The festival continues until this Sunday.

Soldier in the RainAn unseasonal downpour of rain, apparently, is not enough to keep fans of the annual maskdance festival in Andong inside. Despite unfavourable weather, the celebrations were still in full swing. Though dance performances were held indoors as planned, the massive puddles of water and continual downpour didn’t deter visitors from exploring the markets, kiosks, and vendors that were packed into a large arena parking lot. Under umbrellas and tents people feasted, shopped, and explored all that the festival has to offer.

Inside the amphitheater, crowds gathered around the stage with 떡볶이 (tteokbokki) or popcorn, sipping hot coffees and watching incredible performances by dancers from around the world.

Singapore GroupSingapore took the stage first, with their routine ending in a beautifully choreographed fan dance. Malaysia kept things traditional with radiant costumes gleaming under the stage lights. China’s performance was punctuated by wince-inducing flexibility and an impressive traditional mask dance in which an old lady is made young again through dance. During the performance she changed masks several times so quickly that the audience wasn’t able to see the transition; a virtual magic trick set to music. Finally, Russia took the stage with a mixture of traditional costumes and dances, and a delightfully campy jazz dance routine that had the air of the 1980’s about it. Jazz hands never get old.

Pork Belly RoastingLike any good festival, a great deal of good food was on hand. Whole pigs and pork bellies roasting on spits, steamed muscles in salty broth, seafood 파전 (pajeon), and a myriad of snacks and traditional street foods.

The festival is a captivating spectacle with a wide variety of activities that can easily fill a weekend. Be sure to head to Andong if you get the chance; be sure to check out the festival’s extended venue at the Andong Hahoe Village.

The 2013 Andong International Maskdance Festival runs until Sunday, October 6th. For more information you can visit their website here


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