Friday, November 27, 2015

Geommmu Sword Dance, Korea

Geommu dancer

The Geommu sword dance has its origins in the martial arts and is considered one of the most ancient forms of Korean royal court dances.

According to the Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Heritage:
"Geommu is said to have long history of more than 1,300 years since 660 in ancient Shinra Dynasty. A story about its origin is as follows: A seven-year-old boy called Hwangchang went into Baeckje Kingdom's Royal Court in disguise where he killed the enemy King with a sword while performing Geommu before him. He was arrested and was executed. On hearing of his heroic deeds, Shinra people made his mask and performed Geommu with it in honour of him. There are some other records that indicate Geommu has been a mask dance at least until the end of Koryo Dynasty although it now has changed into an elegant female dance without masks.
The basic rhythmic pattern used in Jinju-Geommu are Yeombul, Taryeong, Jazeun (fast)Taryeong according to tempo. Usually, 8 female dancers perform in various formations and groupings. Especially, its delicate sleeve movements are attractive. Although its martial character has been much diluted as it became a court dance repertory, it still keeps the dynamic spirit of ancient martial dance in its techniques and composition. Jinju-Geommu has been designated as Important Intangible Cultural Treasure No. 12 in 1967."

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