Khiroda Singh Khuntia, Rourkela, Odisha
South Korea, a country which is famous for not only its entertainment, music, food, beauty, and fashion but also for its long preserved diverse tradition and culture. South Korea is now dominating the world due to the ever-increasing popularity of K-Pop and K-Dramas; and also has a fascinating history of its own traditional dances and music forms. Many K-Fans who love K-Dramas probably have seen the historical dramas such as Hwarang, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, and Hwang Jini; and might have found out how the traditional dance-forms were performed back then. Traditional dance-forms like Cheoyongmu, Seungmu, Hallyangmu, and Buchaechum which were beautifully performed in royal courts and among masses since the ancient times, are preserved and performed even today.
One of these dance-forms Cheoyongmu, which is based on the legend of Cheoyong (처용), the son of dragon king; was created during the Unified Silla Dynasty period, and is one of the oldest traditional dance forms preserved till today. Cheoyongmu used to be a court dance and is also regarded as the Shamanistic dance as it was used to be performed to ward off evil spirits and ghosts from the Royal court/banquets or during religious exorcism rites, and during the New Year to pray for good fortune and prosperity. In famous K-drama Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, this dance has been performed beautifully by the actors showcasing the old tradition, beauty and power of South Korea.
Traditionally, Cheoyeongmu is performed among five dancers who wear traditional costumes and masks. The steps are performed with great power and enthusiasm; and are based on the music, rhythm, and instrumental beats as well as coordinated with the lyrics sung by the musicians.
When the Joseon ruled Korea became a sphere of influence, several dance-forms were not able to survive. After the cultural suspension and cultural cleansing by the Empire of Japan, many dance academies were also destroyed. However, even after several years; South Korea has been successful in preserving its rich history and culture.
Cheoyongmu was nominated for the inscription on the Representative List of the Important Intangible Cultural Heritages of UNESCO. Arirang TV, a South Korean TV network made a video on Cheoyongmu describing about the dance form, its tradition, history, and significance. Korean Cultural Heritage Administration also made a video about this dance-form on behalf of UNESCO on September 26, 2009. You can watch the video here to know more about Cheoyongmu:
What do you think about this traditional dance form of South Korea? Tell us in the comments.