A Special Performance of North Korea’s Brightest Young Talent

During our stay in North Korea we had the pleasure of travelling to the Schoolchildren’s Palace for a special tour and exclusive performance. The Palace is meant to act as a place where the Party members can send their offspring for additional culture outside of regular schools. One of the Kims was represented by a bronze effigy in front of the school.

Upon arrival, our guide had urged us to pick up the pace because she wanted us to see some of the children at practice before their performance. This Schoolchildren’s Palace was established many years ago to further the artistic education of certain youngsters. We were greeted by a young girl of about 8 who recited a very well-practiced welcome to us. When she stopped for the translation it was as if a button had been pushed and she paused, only to resume once the English had been transmitted.

Then we visited several rooms in which children from ages 8 to 12 were practicing piano, needlework, and playing various musical instruments.

After our classroom visits we were shown to the auditorium for the main performance. We learned later that the children we saw were actually “second tier” students but they certainly didn’t come across that way. The singing was large and energetic, and they all seemed to possess a tremendous amount of poise. No stage fright or shrinking violets here.

One young boy stole the show with a combination of beating the drum and twirling his hat.

The talent we saw was fabulous but later our Korean friend on the trip told us that eventually these children would be put to work on the farms because in a collective society everyone has to contribute. She had hopes that the one little boy might make it out but no guarantees.

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