허권 사무총장 기조발제 모습2
Director-General Kwon Huh giving his keynote speech

Present and Future of Asian Ethnic Dance

ICHCAP and the Institute of Asian Dance Culture jointly hosted the 2016 One Asia in Dance International Academic Forum held at the Pukyong National University Mirae Building Convention Hall on 1 September under the theme “Preservation and Sustainable Development of Asian Ethnic Dance as Intangible Cultural Heritage.”

The 2016 One Asia in Dance (OAID) event was held from 29 August to 3 September to introduce traditional ethnic dances of Asia to the Korean public. The international academic forum was held as part of the event and included a special session on Central Asia, participated by ethnic dance experts from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Mongolia and experts from East Asia—Korea, China, and Japan.

Director-General Kwon Huh of ICHCAP opened the forum with a keynote speech highlighting the role of ethnic dance in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted at the 2015 United Nations General Assembly. This was followed by Session 1, which provided an overview of recent developments in the arts policies of Korea, Japan, and China, showing that continued efforts were being made by private entities and governments to safeguard ethnic dances in all three countries. The first presentation was on the evolution of dance festival related policies in Korea, presented by dance critic Jeong-min Shim. It emphasized the importance of consistency in policies implemented by central and local governments to ensure the viability of dance festivals, based on a balance between mass appeal and specialization. Next, Xu Mei, Dean of the Yunnan Arts University in China, gave a presentation on establishing an education system to foster the development of ethnic dance. The presentation introduced recent education policies in China responding to the need to foster artistic talent with unique specialties by restructuring academic departments, creating new departments, and enhancing the curriculum. Hitoshi Mogi, Manager of Fostering Research at the National Theatre Okinawa, gave a presentation on Okinawan arts as well as the background behind establishing the National Theatre Okinawa and the Cultural Heritage Protection Act in Japan.

A lively discussion between the experts from five Central Asian states and Korea took place during Session 2. The main theme revolved around ethnic dance transmission and arts policies in Central Asia, which is a relatively unexplored field of interest for Korean academics. The session began with a presentation by Nazokat Klicheva, Head at the Department of Folk Art, Ministry of the Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan, on Tajik dance ensembles as case studies that represent the current status of Tajik arts policies while presenting recommendations for the direction of future development. This was followed by presentations on developing ethnic dance and facing challenges for the future in the respective Central Asian states.

The presentations showed that oral traditions have been the chief medium of cultural transmission in Central Asian states, due to the nomadic culture. This poses a challenge to academic research due to the lack of documentation related to ethnic dances, resulting in disputes over the definitions of traditional dance and its transmission.

There remains much work to be done in the research of traditional and ethnic dances of Central Asia. ICHCAP and the Institute of Asian Dance Culture will proceed from this international academic forum with efforts to strengthen networks to safeguard Central Asian ethnic dance and foster academic exchange as well as to increase public interest in Asian ethnic dance.

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