top of page

최승희 / Choi, Seung-Hee / Sai Shoki

The track called "A Garden in Italy" was recorded in 1936. Choi has the most remarkable story of the lot, as tumultuous as Yun Siduk’s, but with significantly greater length.

She was born in 1911 and presumably died in North Korea in 1969. She was born in Seoul into an upper-class family during the very beginning of official Japanese occupation/colonization. She graduated from secondary school at the age of fifteen, disobeyed her father (who wanted her to study law) and plunged into studying dancing and choreography under a famous Japanese modern dancer (Baku Ishii). She became quite a famous dancer and branched out into developing dances that evoked Korean themes and folk traditions. Up until this point, Korean folk traditions were rarely evoked in formal art of any sort as they were considered inferior to the colonial culture of the Japanese.

The Japanese intellectual community embraced her and she even appeared in Japanese fiction of the time (Kawabata’s “The Dancer”-he eventually won the Nobel Prize). She knew or was friends with Matisse and the Picassos of the world. She eventually formed her own dance institute and became immensely popular (and redefined Korean female modernity in the process), married a Communist Korean playwright. During the Second World War II she was routinely criticized for performing for the Japanese forces. In 1946 her and her husband moved to Pyongyang and both received posts from the North Korean government. She eventually fell out of favor and disappeared, presumably having died. Later, she was claimed to have died in 1969 according to the North Korean government. When she left South Korea in 1946, her works were banned until 1989.

She recorded this track, A Garden in Italy, for Japanese Columbia Records in 1936. Well worth a look to learn more about her life.

유성기로 듣던 불멸의 명가수_ 얼굴없는 명가수(CD1) (1996)

10 이태리(伊太利)의 정원(庭園) / Garden of Italy (COLUMBIA 40704)

For just being listed as basically an “actress”and obviously, dancer on Wikipedia, I must say that this tango is pretty well sung (piano lead and with muted trumpet solo and accordion), and with a beautiful voice intonation. It is a pretty song with the charming sound of the 30s.

The accompanying band of hers is the Columbia Tango Band.



I assume the lyrics are close to romantic poetry in the style of what reminds me off Müller/Schubert's romantic tradition. It is in that way I translated the texts with help of Google Translate only and a assumption of what the context could be expressing here. If it is too different from reality, please mail me and guide me. Thanks.

최승희- "이태리정원"(1935년)

맑은 하날에 새가울면

사랑의 노래 부르면서

산넘고 물을 건너

님 오길 기다리는 이태리정원

어서와 주세요.

저녁 종소리 들려오면

세레나데 부르면서

사랑을 속삭이며

님 오길 기다리는 이태리정원

어서와 주세요.

"Italian Garden"

If it's new on a clear day

(that I am) Singing the song of love

Crossing the water

Italian garden, I am waiting for you

Please come.

When you hear the evening bells

Calling the serenade

Whispering love

Italian garden, I am waiting for you

Please come.




Fragment from

I got to know Choi Seung Hee after listening to the song called Garden of Italy. If you've watched the movie `` Park Fever, '' this song is not familiar. Choi Seung-hee's Garden of Italy, used as the background music of the film, combined with Park Yeol and Kaneko Fumiko's heartfelt love story, maximized the salty feeling. I've been in deep linger for a while after listening to this song with ending credits.

As I listened for a while, I wondered who was the singer who sang. Then, a few days ago, I saw an exhibition called ``New Women Arrival'' at the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.

Choi Seung Hee is Korea's first female modern dancer and a figure who has spread the beauty of Korean dance to the world. It laid the groundwork for Korean modern and contemporary dance, and had a great influence on Chinese dance. To date, North Korean dance adheres to Choi Seung-hee's modality, and Korea's traditional dancers, including Seok Ye-bin, continue to recreate Choi's dance.

In fact, a few decades ago, Choi could not even be mentioned by name. After the liberation, she was labeled “Pro-Japanese Dancer,” and after that he went to North Korea with his husband. However, since 1989, the view that Choi Seung-hee's position in Korean dance should be redefined. She also became a modern dancer in the face of the bad prejudice that dance was only low life at a time when Choi was not even dancing. In addition, it has gained tremendous popularity in Japan, China, Europe, the United States, and South America. It has been a waste of time to bury her achievements, her passion for dance and her boldness to the world. As a result, the research on Choi Seung Hee has been actively conducted until recently.

"The world-class dancer Choi Seung-hee (1911-1969?) was the first Hallyu star of the 20th century. When the perception that 'a dancing woman is a parasitic or shaman' was dominated, he was a pioneer and female liberator who pioneered his destiny.

Choi Seung-hee decides to learn dance after seeing the performance of Ishii Baku, a pioneer of Japanese modern dance, in 1926. After going to Japan and learning modern dance from Ishii for three years, he began to publish his own works after returning to Japan. Sponsored by the Dong-A Ilbo, Danseongsa held a creative dance presentation in 1930 and a New Year dance in 1931. Throughout the country, he held consolation performances for high school students and Korean compatriots, and charity concerts to help victims.

In 1934, he gained sensational popularity in Japan by performing modern dances such as the crew sword dance fan dance. Choi Seung-hee explained in the “Aspiration of the Dancer” in the Dong-A Ilbo, January 1, 1936.

“My aspirations are to spread the existence of Joseon to the world and to bring our unique dance art to the world… . I will try to take the dance of Joseon as the material and to style it into the range of dances possible through my artistic function.

Choi Seung-hee, who moved to San Francisco in December 1937, signed an exclusive contract with the Metropolitan Music Company, which runs the New York Metropolitan Opera House, and will tour the country for six months. Since then he has moved to Europe, performed 23 times in France, 9 in Belgium, 11 in the Netherlands and 2 in Germany. In 1940, he performed 61 Latin American shows, starting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

On January 27, 1940, the Dong-A Ilbo told Choi Seung-hee's overseas activities with the article, “Century dancer Choi Seung-hee who runs the earth, flavor to South America.” After performing the choripdong dance in Paris, France, his choppy hat became a sensation that became fashionable in Paris. Picasso left Choi Seung Hee as a picture, and Henri Matisse, Charlie Chaplin and Romain Roland became fans of Choi Seung Hee. Film offerings have also been poured out of Hollywood.

At the end of the Japanese colonial period, however, he attended a “Hwanggun” consolation performance and dedicated a large amount of national defense contributions. He faced criticism that he was pro-Japanese after liberation. Kim Il-sung treated him specially by setting up the Choi Seung-hee Institute for Dance. After the husband's lining was caught in Chungcheong, Choi Seung-hee was reportedly eventually purged.

His destiny was to be active on the world stage during the historical turbulence, but to be trapped in the situation where pro-Japanese and anti-Japanese, anti-communist and anti-communist crossed. Choi Seung-hee's name fell along with several other North Koreans on the final list of the Pro-Japanese Relations Committee on the 27th of last month."

최승희 평전 한류 제1호 무용가 최승희의 삶과 꿈 book

Pyeong's first Korean Wave: Dancer Choi Seung Hee's Life and Dreams

Fragment from Namu-wiki:

또한 1930년대 후반부터는 미국과 유럽, 남미 등으로 세계 순회 공연을 다니기도 했는데, 어니스트 헤밍웨이, 장 콕토, 게리 쿠퍼, 찰리 채플린, 파블로 피카소, 로버트 테일러 등의 당대의 저명 인사들이 그녀의 공연을 관람 할 정도였다. 특히 로버트 테일러는 최승희와 굉장히 친밀했었고, 헐리우드의 영화 제작자들에게 최승희를 소개 시켜주며 최승희의 헐리우드 영화 출연을 알선하기도 했는데, 태평양 전쟁으로 인해 최승희의 헐리우드 진출은 무산되고 말았다고 한다. 아울러 최승희는 이러한 인기와 함께, 당대의 대표적인 신여성이자 모던걸, 패션 스타로서 조선과 일본의 유행을 주도하였고, 심지어는 음반도 여러 장 내게 된다. <향수의 무희>는 최승희의 자작곡이며, <이태리의 정원>은 <A Garden In Italy>의 번안곡이다. 아마도 번안이 아니라 무단 도용으로 추측되지만, 당시에는 저작권에 대한 인식이 전혀 없던 시절이었으니. 최승희는 음악에도 나름 조예가 있었는데, 특히 리듬 감각이 매우 예민하고 뛰어났다고 한다. 춤을 추던 도중에 가야금을 연주하던 연주자가 어쩌다가 실수를 하면은 추던 춤을 멈추고 연주자에게 어떤 부분에서 틀렸다고 바로 지적을 할 정도였다고 한다. <반도의 무희>를 포함하여 영화에도 여러 편 출연하였는데, 이 중 무용 영화 <반도의 무희>는 최승희가 주연을 하였지만, 일본에서 제작되고, 일본인 감독이 시나리오를 쓰고 연출하고, 일본인 배우들이 출연한 일본 영화다. 내용은 최승희의 자전적인 성공 스토리라고 할 수 있는데, 주인공인 백성희가 부모의 반대를 무릎쓰고 애인을 찾아 상경했다가 굉장한 무영가의 눈에 띄어 뛰어난 무용가로 성장했지만 스승의 죽음을 모른 채 화려한 무대에 선다는, 그런 내용이다. 최승희의 딸 안성희의 원래 본명은 안승자 였지만, 광복 후에 안성희로 개명하였는데, 성희라는 이름은 이 영화의 여주인공 백성희에서 따온 것이라고 한다. 어쨌든 이 영화는 평가부터 하자면 극영화로는 완벽한 실패작이었다. 아사히 신문의 기사에 실린 혹평을 보면 당시의 반응을 알 수 있다.

"무엇보다도 시나리오 자체가 충분히 연구되지 않았고, 돌연히 은사의 죽음이 설정된 이유도 불분명하다. 그 밖의 스토리 전개 또한 매끄럽지 못하다. 그리고 조선 로케가 무엇 때문에 필요 했는지 알 수가 없고, 무대가 동경으로 바뀌었다 해도 동경과 같은 느낌이 나지 않는다. 또 여주인공을 사랑하는 센다가 무엇 때문에 출연했는지도 알 수가 없다. 다만 최승희의 무용만이 돋보일 뿐이다. 그렇다면 구태여 극영화를 만들 필요가 없지 않나 생각된다."

-아사히 신문 1936년 3월 21일자 기

또한 최승희의 오빠 최승일의 친구이자 화가인 안석주는 <반도의 무희>에 다음과 같은 평을 하였다.

나는 그녀가 주연한 <반도의 무희>라는 영화를 보았다. 나는 이 영화를 조금도 사랑하지 않는다. 또 이 영화에 나온 그를 정말 최승희로는 보지 않았다. 그렇게 생각하기가 싫었다. 그러나 그 영화 중에서 홀로 무용 선생에게 훈련과도 같은 기본 연습을 맹렬히 할 때의 그 모습은 틀림없이 최승희의 모습이었다. 그러나 나는 그녀가 영화배우로서는 마땅치 않음을 어서 빨리 깨닫고 무용가로서만 지내기를 진심으로 바란다.

"Since the late 1930s, he has toured the world in the United States, Europe, and Latin America. It was about. In particular, Robert Taylor was very close to Choi Seung Hee, and introduced Hollywood movie producers to Choi Seung Hee and arranged Choi's Hollywood movie appearance, but Choi Seung Hee's entry into Hollywood was lost due to the Pacific War.

In addition to this popularity, Choi Seung Hee led the trends of Joseon and Japan as a representative new woman, modern girl, and fashion star of the time, and even many records. Perfume Dancer is Choi Seung-hee's own song, and Italy's Garden is a modified song of A Garden In Italy. Perhaps it is not fraudulent, but unauthorized fraud, but at that time there was no copyright awareness.

Choi Seung-hee was also accustomed to music, especially the sense of rhythm was very sensitive and excellent. During the dance, the player playing the gayageum, if he made a mistake, stopped the dance and immediately pointed out to the player that he was wrong.

He appeared in several films, including The Dancer of the Peninsula. Among them, the dance movie The Dancer of the Peninsula was starred by Choi Seung Hee, but was produced in Japan, written and directed by a Japanese director, and starred by Japanese actors. It's a Japanese movie. The content is the success story of Choi Seung-hee's autobiographical success story. The main character, Bae-Hee-Hee, went to Seoul to find a lover with his parents' opposition, and grew up to be an outstanding dancer who was a prominent dancer. , Such content. Choi Seung-hee's daughter Ahn Sung-hee was originally Ahn Seung-hee, but after the liberation, he was renamed Ahn Sung-hee."


Also, Ahn Seok-ju, a friend and painter of Choi Seung-il's brother Choi Seung-il, made the following comments on <The Dancer of the Peninsula>.

I watched her movie, The Dancer of the Peninsula. I do not love this movie at all. Also, I didn't really see him in this movie as Choi Seung-hee. I didn't want to think so.

However, the movie must have been Choi Seung-hee's appearance when he vigorously performed the basic exercises like a training to a dance teacher alone.

But I really want her to realize quickly that she is not a movie star and to live only as a dancer.


Choi Seung Hee was detained in China. Only on May 29, 1946, he was able to return home, but at a press conference immediately after his return, he said, "I will not excuse my independence or opposition to Japan." Is it possible to come and atone in the liberated homeland, which will contribute to the creation of only one Korean ballet? " But the press distorted and misrepresented Choi Seung-hee's remarks and said, "Choe Seung-hee, who had been a prey to Japanese guys, is now a protagonist of American guys. The public opinion about Choi Seung Hee worsened, and he was told that he should hand over Choi Seung Hee to Banmin right now, which made her more frightened.

... a reporter said, "Your husband went to Pyongyang. Why are you here?"..

Choi Seung Hee's final fleeing to North Korea was due to his fear of being convicted of pro-Japanese national traitors and his desire to work on better conditions.

biography (2006)

Wikipedia Biography:

Wikipedia Biography : BornNovember 24, 1911 Jegok Village (Hongcheon County, Gangwon Province), Korea DiedAugust 8, 1969 (aged 57) North Korea Other names Sai Shōki

Occupation: modern dancer, actress

Choi was born into a yangban-class family in Seoul, Korea during the colonial period, and was also known by the Japanese pronunciation of her name, Sai Shōki. Despite the Japanese policy of Sōshi-kaimei, a policy of changing Korean names to Japanese names, she retained her Korean family name of Choi. Sai is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese character for Choi, and was not considered Japanese. When she was a child, her family faced financial trouble after their lands were taken away by the Japanese.[2] Their only income came from her brother Choi Seung-il’s manuscripts.

After graduating from Sookmyung High School at the age of fifteen, she tried to become a teacher to help her family financially.[4] She passed seventh amongst 860 applicants, but was rejected due to her age.[5] She was told to return a year later.

Her brother, Choi Seung-il, suggested her to join Bac Ishii to learn the art of dance. Bac Ishii was a prominent Japanese modern dance and ballet dancer (and the father of Kan Ishii who became an actor and a classical composer during the 1940s-1960s).

She was mesmerized by Bac Ishii’s performance, especially at his expressions of darkness and torment. Ishii accepted Choi, and even offered to teach her for free and send her to music school. After Choi gained her parents' reluctant permission, she left for Japan with Ishii, his wife, his sister, and his students on the next day in March 25, 1926.

Choi was Ishii's second Korean student. The first was Kang Hong-shik who left Ishii later and became a movie star under a Japanese name. (The maternal grandson of Kang Hong-shik is Choi Min-soo, who is known as one of the most acclaimed actors in South Korea now).At a time of anti-Korean sentiment heightened by the Korean independence movement and a false rumor that the ethnic Koreans were taking advantage of the 1923 Great Kantō Earthquake to commit violence, which triggered the Kantō Massacre upon the Koreans, Ishii was progressive and open to the Koreans.

Although the dance group performed successfully and brought in a lot of income, they struggled financially because of Ishii's debts. He did not have the sufficient salary to give to his dancers. To pay his debts, Ishii lowered the quality of the performances in exchange for quantity.[ Choi and two Japanese dancers decided to leave the group.

Choi returned to Korea and founded her dancing art institute called the 최승희무용예술연구소. She had both Korean and Japanese students. During this time in Korea, her brother introduced her to his alumni, Ahn Mak (originally named Ahn Pil-seung). The couple married on May 10, 1931. Just three months after their wedding, Ahn Mak was arrested for his connections with Communist sympathizers, and was released on October 15 ]. Ahn Mak went to Tokyo for the winter semester exam.With Ahn's permission, Choi funded her institute from money earned from sending Ahn's manuscripts to the newspaper companies.Funding was also gained from the sponsorship of The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper company. Choi began to perform Korean folk dances during this time in Korea.[28] Ahn returned temporarily after learning of Choi's pregnancy. Their daughter Ahn Seung-ja was born on July 20, 1932.[30] Choi disbanded her institute.

Choi returned to Japan with her daughter and with a student from her disbanded institute, Kim Min-ja. Kim Min-ja wanted to follow Choi to Japan, and she offered to work as Seung-ja's nanny. Choi continued to study under Ishii where she distinguished herself as a talented dancer. She developed her own modern dances inspired by Korean folk dances, which had been considered by a lot of the Koreans as lowly works. It was Ishii and Ahn who suggested her to learn the Korean folk dances.Ishii introduced Choi to Han Song-joon who taught Choi more of the Korean dances.[At a modern dance competition that was hosted by a monthly magazine 영녀계, Choi performed her Korean dances, one of which she was disguised as a man and artistically imitated her father's drunken dance (After the competition at the end of one of her later performances 풍랑을 헤가르고, she took off her mask of an old man's face on stage).

Choi and Ahn researched historical texts on the forgotten Korean dances. Choi had already seen the sword dances of the shamans and the kisaengs in Korea.Choi seeked an energetic style. Ahn found texts of ancient Korean militaristic sword dances from a library.

Choi began to work as a model. She used the money that she earned from modelling to fund her performances. She also began to appear in musicals.] Ahn used his money that was meant for tuition fees to fund Choi's performance.

Ishii continued to have financial problems in 1936. In order to help him, Choi and Ishii's six students performed in Taiwan.[44] Their performances in Japan and Taiwan were all successful. Not long after her return from Taiwan, Choi bought a two-story mansion in Tokyo.

Choi Seung-hee drinking a cup of coffee at the Chosen Hotel (current Westin Chosun Hotel) in Seoul, Korea, 1940.

A Korean marathon runner named Sohn Kee-chung won the gold medal in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Because Korea was under Japanese rule, Son had no choice but to represent Japan. The Japanese Government-General of Korea had the CEOs of two Korean newspapers, The Joseon Joongang Ilbo (조선중앙일보) and The Dong-a Ilbo (동아일보), lose their jobs after they had the photo of the Japanese flag on Son's uniform erased on their news articles. After losing their jobs, the two former CEOs organized a celebration banquet for Sohn upon his return. They invited Choi who had returned temporarily to Korea.[48] Years later, when Sohn heard of accusations on Choi being a traitor for Japan, it was said that he exclaimed, "then are you going to look at me as a supporter for Japan because I ran with the Japanese flag on my chest?"

She was supported by numerous Japanese intellectuals, including Yasunari Kawabata, and corresponded with both Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso. She was also a vocalist, and made recordings at Taepyeong Records and Kirin Records (in Manchukuo), before making her 1936 album Garden of Italy at Columbia Records Japan.

In January 11, 1938, Choi, Ahn, and her pianist Lee Gwang-joon arrived in San Francisco.[50] By this time, Choi and Ahn researched many different traditional dances including the bosal dance (보살춤).Choi's performances were held in San Francisco (January 22), in Los Angeles (February 2), and in New York City (February 19).The reactions of the audiences and the reviews were good. In New York City, she watched the performances of the famous Broadway musicians and dancers. In early November of 1938, famous people such as Leopold Stokowski, John Steinbeck, Maurice Dekobra, and Charlie Chaplin went to the Guild Theatre (now the August Wilson Theatre) to watch her perform.[55] Because of her use of the Japanese pronunciation of her name when she performed in the United States, she was criticized as a Japanese collaborator by Koreans in the Korean independence movement, but the Japanese government saw her as working for Korean independence, as pro-independence souvenirs were sold at her American shows.

Choi and her group left the United States in December 17, 1938, and they arrived at Le Havre, France in December 24. The performances were held in Paris(January 31, 1939), Brussels (February 6), Cannes (February 26), and Marseille (March 1). They performed in Switzerland during mid-March, and in Italy during late March. Starting from April 1, they performed in the smaller cities of Southern Germany. In mid-April, they performed in the Netherlands. All of Choi's performances in Europe received rave reviews. According to Choi's letter to her student, her traditional hat (the 초립동 모자) became a fashion trend in Paris.]In 1939, in an international dance competition in Brussels, Belgium, Choi was appointed as one of the judges along with Rudolf von Laban, Mary Wigman, Serge Lifar, and Anton Dolin. After this competition, Choi was invited to perform at an international music and dance festival in Hague, the Netherlands.[64] Afterwards, she performed at the Théâtre national de Chaillot in Paris. The audiences included Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Jean Cocteau, Romain Rolland, and Michel Simon. Picasso sketched a drawing of Choi and gave it to her after her performance.

The people in France were used to the tense situation in Europe that they learned from the newspapers and the radio news. Everyone whom Choi met in France believed that there would not be another world war.[ Hence, Choi and her group decided to stay despite a warning from the Japanese embassy. She was expecting to perform in Italy, Northern Germany, and Scandinavia.[71] When Germany invaded Poland in September 1, 1939, France declared war on Germany two days later.[72] It was the beginning of World War II. Choi wrote that after the declaration of war was announced on the radio, the French national anthem La Marseillaise was aired, and the French wives began to weep.[73] By this time, the German 46th Division had advanced on Końskie, Poland, and the German 24th Infantry Division had crossed the Bzura north of Lodz.[74] German troops reached Warsaw in September 8 where the Poles continued to defend for weeks.[75] On September 17, 1939, after signing a cease-fire with Japan, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the east. As the war in Poland raged on, Choi and her group began to evacuate. Their original plan was to evacuate to Italy. This was before Italy joined with Germany and Japan in a Tripartite Pact and before Italy declared war. An employee of the Marseille consulate general warned Choi that Italy might declare war, and that a Japanese ship called the Kashima Maru carrying about 190 Japanese evacuees would arrive the next day from Italy. Choi and her group embarked the Kashima Maru and evacuated to the United States instead She continued her performing career in the United States, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, and Mexico.

She returned to Japan. Japan changed to total war mode after the Imperial Japanese Navy's attack on Pearl Harbor. All performances needed permission from the Imperial Japanese Army, and to raise troop morale, performing for the military became a requirement. Starting in February 16, 1942, Choi performed for the Japanese armies in Korea, Manchuria, and North China. In August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered and Korea became liberated. Choi was in China at that time.And she was pregnant.She witnessed the turmoil of the Chinese Civil War. She stayed hidden in fear that she may get accused of being a supporter for Japan. Ahn went to North Korea.Choi went to South Korea.

Although she was happy to see her daughter again, she was saddened at the South Korean newspapers accusing Choi of being a collaborator for Japan. She asked US Lieutenant General John R. Hodge for financial support in her arts, but did not get any further details from him. She went to Rhee Syngman before he was president. He did not have the power to help her.

She went to Pyongyang, North Korea with her husband who was an active supporter of the Workers' Party of Korea. She met the chairman of the North Korean branch of the Korean Communist Party Kim Il-sung before he became the "Great Leader." This was before Kim had a firm control on North Korea; thus, it was a time before the purges. She found Kim to be very supportive. In those days, Pyongyang was a very small city that had very few artists. Kim Il-sung was fond of plays, and he thought about the political benefits that the public arts could give. He accepted many artists. Choi got her kids to join her from Seoul.[93] Her daughter's name was changed to Ahn Sung-hee (안성희).[94] Although Ahn Sung-hee was just a teenager at that time, she already grew tall like her mother, and she already had experience in performing with her.Choi established a dance school and was given an official position within the North Korean administration. In July 25, 1947, Choi sent her daughter, her sister-in-law, and her students to Prague, Czechoslovakia to perform in an international youth dance festival.[96] In December 1949, she and her dancers including her daughter performed in Beijing, China. An Associated Press reporter asked Choi why she did not perform abroad like she used to. Choi replied that she would probably have the chance in the future, but added, "I'm a bird trapped in a birdcage."

In May 1950, Choi, her daughter, and about one hundred artists were sent to Moscow to perform.[98] While they were in Moscow in June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea. Sending the artists was Kim's scheme to hide his intention to invade. Earlier, Kim had received permission from Joseph Stalin to invade, and in March 30, 1950, Kim went to Moscow to gain the finalization of Stalin's support for Kim's war Kim received T-34-85 tanks, artillery, military planes, and his reinforced army exceeded South Korea's three to one. After Moscow, they performed in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), Kiev, and Novosibirsk. The Korean War was raging on when they returned to Korea.

In October 1950, Choi, her son, and her students evacuated to China where they performed. Their daughter rejoined them later after being separated away during the war. In March 15, 1951, Choi opened her dance academy in Beijing. She was required to add Chinese dances to her curriculum.She was well-known by the Chinese dancers of that time as someone who deeply influenced the way the Beijing opera was taught In July 1951, Choi brought her dance group to Moscow to perform. Starting in August 5, her students including her daughter performed in East Germany. Afterwards, Choi and her group performed in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Bulgaria. In that same year, she was asked to visit Beijing to perform for Chinese premier Zhou Enlai. She returned to North Korea when the war was still raging on. After the Korean Armistice Agreement, Choi established her dance academy (국립최승희무용연구소) in Pyongyang. She sent her daughter to study in The Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow.

In February 25, 1955, North Korea's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nam Il announced the need to normalize relations with other countries for peace regardless of the social system. (Nam Il was formerly the General of the Army during the Korean War). He proposed an economic and cultural exchange with Japan. Ten Japanese peace delegates visited North Korea in May of that year. The delegates included Ashihei Hino, a famous writer. In Japan at that time, there was a movement to invite Choi to Japan.[113] After the delegates' visit, more Japanese including Koreya Senda, Jukichi Uno, and Tomoyoshi Murayama met Choi in Pyongyang.The government and Ahn Mak feared that Choi would not return from Japan if she performed there. They did not allow Choi to leave for Japan.

There was a power struggle beneath Kim Il-sung between Kim Chang-man and Han Sul-ya in which Han's side lost. A purge followed. Ahn Mak was Han Sul-ya's right-hand man. Ahn was arrested in April 1959.

In 1967, she was purged by the party, and disappeared from public view. In October 1999, a defector named Kim Yong said that Choi was imprisoned in the same concentration camp (18호 관리소) that he was in. On February 9, 2003, an official announcement was made that she had died in 1969, and a monument was constructed proclaiming her a "People's Actress".

춤추는 최승희 / The dancing of Choi Seung-He 2006 - book (Korean)

Choi Seung - Hee Dance Succession and Transformation 2008 (Korean)

Hankook Choichoeui Muyongga Choi Seung Hee /

The Story of a Dancer Choi Seung Hee (English subtitles) DVD 2008

In 2011, a DVD + 4CDs were released as a centenary celebration of Choi Seung-hee's birth. Unfortunately impossible to find now.



bottom of page