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History of Korean Performing Arts

Dancing and singing are an essential part of Korean culture believed to allow an individual to reach a state of heightened emotion and spirited pleasure (otherwise known as heung). In 1962, legislation was passed by the Korean Government to encourage the conservation of folk traditions. Ancient music and dance are divided into court and folk genres, where performances range in amateur (or local) styles and professional (or urban) forms.

Dance and music are often integral to traditional Korean festivals, such as masked dramas performed at Dano, the shamanistic festival held on the fifth lunar month (usually in June). Pure masks, or Tal, are worn for the performances at the Andong Mask Dance Festival held in late–September or early–October. It is believed that if a person does not attend one mask festival in their lifetime, they are unable to go to heaven. Furthermore, folk dances are performed on the third of October for National Foundation Day, a national holiday celebrating the legendary Korean nationality founder, Dangun.