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Second Day: Folklore at its Full during the National Dance Competition
Sep 14, 2018

Hello, this is Choenan social reporter, Nicole.

Cheonan World Dance Festival, one of the biggest and most famous festivals in the city attracts hundred of people every year expecting to enjoy the multicultural experience through a dance competition. This festival is so famous even among neighbors territories, I actually came all the way from another city to Cheonan just to enjoy the festival. Of course, how could I miss it! Since I’m kind of new in the city I thought it could be very hard to reach to the place where the festival is being held, but surprisingly is very easy. From Cheonan train station I found an information stall where I got very helpful indications about the special shuttle bus going to Sangeorii Park (or the place of the festival). There is a red shuttle bus that comes every 15 ~ 20 minutes which leaves you exactly in the main entrance of the festival. From that point and forward it’s all about exploring every corner and each stall.

The second day of the festival might not feel that exciting as the first day but that doesn’t mean that is not interesting. The main event on the second day is the National Dance competition held in Heungtaryeong concert hall, where around 13 Korean teams have the opportunity to show the beauty, elegance and even entertainment of the national folklore. As a foreign I feel always amused and delighted with the delicacy of some traditional Korean performances, I wouldn’t doubt to spend my time enjoying this competition. The National Dance competition is divided in different categories according to age, thus having 4 categories corresponding to student, young adult, adult over 36 years old and adults over 61 years old. During my visit to the festival, the competition was focused on elderly which I think is incredible! Seeing people over 60 years old dancing with so much energy and yet elegantly is unbelievable.

Most of the performances were sophisticated dances with smooth movements and delicate displacements over the stage, the paper fan was the most popular implement among all the performances; however there were some few of them that really highlighted over the rest. Mainly a group of very energetic ladies wearing the red cheerleader style clothes were the group that stole the audience’s whole attention who was clapping so hard at the end and laughing insatiably, these ladies performed a very motivational dance that even included a fun theatrical prologue. Another interesting participants were the synchronized group playing traditional drums and a group performing a kind of German dance of couples jumping all over the place. Surely very interesting proposals!

During the whole competition the stage is filled with beautiful colors, spectacular vestments, amazing performances and the bright smile of each participant giving everything on the stage. Having the opportunity to watch those performances made through the enormous effort that the elder participants put in each dance movement is like experiencing the real Korean traditional culture. It’s admirable!  This competition keeps going everyday until the last day of the festival, on 16th during the closing ceremony where the winner team will be revealed. It’s a spectacle that anyone can enjoy, from the small kids until agers, Koreans and foreigners as well. So come to have a good time while watching the dance and support your favorite teams with a big applause!

After the amazing experience of Korean dance, I had a walk around the festival. I tried many Korean foods and even some international foods as well in the stalls of the World Culture Experience zone. Turkey, Argentina, Japan, Vietnam and many other countries offering the best of the world!  I joined the audience in a live music concert of all kind in the surroundings of the lake (Hosu Stage) starting with rock music and finishing with romantic ballads. I spent a lot of time in the Children Experience zone having fun with some Korean kids, mostly playing with soap bubbles. I walked once again into the Food booths because I could not leave without trying the specialty sweet snack of Cheonan. I stopped by the Walnut cake stall where I got the opportunity to see for first time how this Korean snack is made. By the sunset I joined a small party of very enthusiastic and energetic elders who were dancing freely at the rhythm of a very entertaining music played by two really funny characters. What can I say? my experience in this second day was unforgettable!

Cheonan World Dance Festival is a very complete festival, not just because of the food, activities, cultural and entertaining performances but also the experience of share and make good memories. It’s an amazing and enjoyable environment that gives you the opportunity to talk and have fun with strangers, to meet new people and to learn about the customs, folklore and arts in a multicultural way. The complete and detailed inclusiveness in the whole festival shows up how much dedication is done from the organizers. Families, couples, friends, students, children, elders, travelers, locals or maybe just curious people, everyone can spend a guaranteed good time. Just come to see by yourself, don’t miss this wonderful experience!

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