Sep 27, 2011

Namsadang Nori - Traditional Korean performance

Various Performances of Namsadang Nori

Pungmul Nori
Pungmul nori is the first and central performance of namsadang nori, combined with music, dance3, and various other activities. 20~30 troupe members play pungmul instruments that comprise four percussion instruments such as jing (gong), kkwaenggwari (another kind of gong), buk (drum), and janggu (double-headed drum), and several sogo (tabors) and taepyeongso (double-reed), which make unique melodies and rhythms. The four instruments, jing, kkwaenggwari, buk, and janggu are closely associated with farming and symbolize wind, thunder, cloud and rain respectively.

Beona nori

This performance uses beona which is a wide and flat leather version of sieve frame. Performers spin and toss the beona into the air by using a tobacco pipe or a long wooden stick while exchanging witty talks with a clown called maehossi.


The word salpan comes from the saying that “if you do well, you will live (salpan), and if you don’t, you will be dead” (jugeulpan). It is also called ttangjaeju, literally meaning talents held on ground. The performers execute various acrobatic feats like somersault diving to attract applause and exclamation from the audience.


Tightrope dancing by namsadang is called eoreum because the nori is as difficult and cautious as walking on thin ice (eoreum means “thin ice” in Korean). The performers or eoreum-sani dances, signs songs, and does aerial stunts on the rope which is tightly fastened 3 meters off the ground as seen in the movie the King and the Clown. The performers also exchanges witty talks with a maehossi on the ground.


Deotboegi means “seeing with the mask on”. Generally, this performance has good humor and tendency to tickle the fancy of the public. Deotboegi enjoyed high popularity among the common people. It also contains keen satire on the society and Yangban(noble) class of the Joseon Dynasty.


This puppet play is played last and uses about 40 puppets and around 10 hand props. The entire namsadang nori performance lasts seven to eight hours and each stage is flexibly run.

If you are interested in watching the real life Namsadang Nori performance, click below link for performance schedule.

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