As part of the promotion, I was one of the KTO's K-performance supporters invited to attend MiSuDa, one of the showcased performances of the festival. As it turned out, it was more of a cultural experience than a performance, but I was excited to be there regardless.
I arrived at the National Theater of Korea at the Namsan-gol Hanok Village this past Saturday to find myself in the middle of some sort of harvest celebration, or a reenactment of one, anyway. The drums and cymbals immediately put me in a cultural mindset, as the Hanok Village does whenever I go there. I waited with some of the other bloggers in the courtyard, who seemed just as excited as I was to be in such a quaint place oozing with old-world charm.
We were finally instructed to head downstairs where we would begin the MiSuDa transformation into proper Korean ladies. We put our things into the high-security lockers and practically stampeded into the dressing room. Hanboks (traditional dresses) of every color hung along the walls, inviting us to touch them and admire their beauty. To say that we were giddy would be an understatement. Sure, we were all grown women (and one man) but I suppose dressing up in pretty clothes is fun for all ages. The attendants helped us dress, which proved to be a heck of a lot easier than putting on a kimono, and we were allowed to pick out a hair accessory to go with our hanboks. I decided to go all out and picked the wig-like royal headpiece, adorned with sparkly ornaments. I was even more excited to find that they had a single pair of shoes big enough to fit my oversized Western feet.
Our first etiquette lesson was how to sit down, stand up, half bow, and full bow properly, as if we were "swans on a lake." I immediately imagined myself tripping on my hanbok and smashing all of the porcelain pieces in front of me to bits. Fortunately, I managed to complete the lesson without falling or breaking anything, so that was a win in my book.
I have seen many a tea ceremony in my day since moving to Korea, but this was the first time I was able to have a hands-on lesson on how to serve tea to a guest. Being the tea fanatic that I am, I was eager to learn all the right steps. I had an interpreter sitting next to me, explaining each step in English and making sure I was following our instructor's guidelines correctly. I was a bit confused at times, as the whole process is precisely orchestrated and each movement of the hand is symbolic, with no room for improvisation.
MiSuDa runs daily from Tuesday to Saturday at 4PM. Learn more at their website or Facebook page.