SEUNGMU- KOREA

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SEUNGMU DANCE, KOREA

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Created and performed mainly by “Buddhist monks” is an East Asian dance style known as Seungmu. This “Buddhist” dance form is said to have originated from South Korea, and is considered to be one of the most popular traditional dance forms in the region. Apparently, this dance has been officially declared as “South Korea’s most important cultural feature” in the year 1969. Furthermore, it is said to have developed from a Buddhist ritualistic dance form known as “bubgo”.

a. History/origin of the Seungmu:

There are no factual evidences available to support the origin of this dance style. However, according to a few researchers this dance may have been developed using a few Buddhist ritual, ethnic, or folk dances as a template. In addition, according to a certain cultural fact it may have been from the “Bubgo”, a Buddhist ritual dance that the Seungmu may have been created. Furthermore, although this dance style is basically traditional in nature, it has over the years been transformed into a solo dance by professional dancers.

b. Costumes used in the Seungmu:

The costume used in this dance basically involves the use of an attire in the form of robe called “jangsam” comprising of a long sleeve called “gasa” and a white hood called “gokkal”.

c. Music involved in the Seungmu:

 The music involved in this dance style is mainly produced by a drum which is also known as the “bubgo”.

d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Seungmu:

In terms of technique, this dance requires the performer to dance to eight rhythmic cycles, and they include:

  1. Yeombul
  2. Dodeuri
  3. Taryeong
  4. Jajin
  5. Gutgeori
  6. Dwit gutgeori
  7. Gujeong Nori
  8. Saesanjo

In addition, during a performance as the rhythm of the music shifts the performer accordingly changes his steps as well as the mood. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this “Buddhist” dance is exclusively performed mainly in South Korea.

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