The team gathered outside the arena, the music, chants and sounds deafeningly loud. We waited and waited and waited.The call finally came…SPAIN!It was finally our turn. We walked out and onto the catwalk, my eyes blinded by light. I waved at the cameras, at the thousands of supporters swaying and moving to the directions of the crowd leaders. The sight was incredible, the festivities only beginning.
The Namsadang consists of male performers who present various performing arts. It is said that Namsadang was spontaneously formed before 1900 during the Joseon Dynasty and used to wander about marketplaces and villages.The troupe was well-organized and strictly disciplined by rules. Namsadang’s performances were held on the ground instead of theaters. Their sequence comprises of music, dance, acrobatics, spinning streamers, percussion, spinning dishes in the air using sticks whilst exchanging witty banter with a clown,tightrope walking and puppet plays.
Probably the most famous and eminent person ever in the history of nNmsadang is Baudeogi. Her real name was Kim Amdeok. She was born as the daughter of a poor peasant farmer and joined the troupe at the age of 5 in 1853. She had the great makings of the six performances, and with her amazing skills and artistic talent, became a big star among the public. When Baudeogi was 15, she was unanimously elected as the leader of the troupe by the troupe members. This was quite unusual because at that time only men could become leaders and she was so young. However this is testimony to her talents and high popularity. In 1865, Heungseon Daewongun, the regency, called in her troupe to court and had them cheer workers who engaged in constructing a new palace. They were very successful in their task, and the regency gave her a jade headband button. At that time, only high rank officials could possess this and from that point on her fame spread all over the country. This moment is regarded as the beginning of Korean entertainment business and Baudeogi is considered to be the first popular entertainer of Korea. A festival is held in Anseong every October and is called the “Baudeogi Festival” in her honour.