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Massive dance celebrates Arirang Festival in DPRK

08-04-2010 08:49 BJT

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The Democratic People's Republic of Korea's famous Arirang Festival opened on Monday evening in the capital Pyongyang.

A spectacular show of synchronized dance and gymnastics wowed the audience. The performances, called "Arirang" after a folk story well-known in Korea, feature a cast of approximately 100,000, according to organizers.

Many of the performers are schoolchildren and students.

The mass performances are taking place at Pyongyang's May Day Stadium on the Taedong River, and will run through October 10th.

The festival presents displays of dance and gymnastics in a way that DPRK has honed over decades of similar mass performances.

Thousands of DPRK schoolchildren are trained to make the backdrop of the performance, holding flashcards that they change in rapid sequence according to an exact grid, to present large images of Pyongyang's official presentation of the country's history, agriculture, economy, and leaders.

The performances, called "Arirang" after a folk story well-known in Korea, feature a cast of approximately 100,000, according to organizers.
The performances, called "Arirang" after a folk story well-known in Korea, feature
a cast of approximately 100,000, according to organizers.

Audience members gave two thumbs up to the performance.

Andreas Heckes, German tourist, said, "It's very great, really great, fantastic theatre here and performing is perfect. That's one of the best things in North Korea I have seen. Very, very good. I can talk to everybody that I have seen it too, and it's one time in the world to see it and I am very proud to see this this evening here."

"Arirang" was first staged in 2002, and since then it has been put on in 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has attended the event on a number of occasions.

Most recently, he watched a variation of the "Arirang" performance with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last October in honor of DPRK-China Friendship Year.

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