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Korean dance-Seungmu-01.jpg
Korean name
Hangul 승무
Hanja 僧舞
Revised Romanization Seungmu
McCune–Reischauer Sŭngmu

Seungmu is a Korean dance performed by Buddhist monks. It is one of the most famous Korean traditional dances and designated as South Korea's important intangible cultural asset number 27 in 1969. It has been developed into a solo dance by professional dancers nowadays.


There were no evidences how Seungmu was created. Based on analyses of forms and movements of Seungmu, some researchers said that it may derived from other Buddhists ritual dance or common people ethnic dances.[1] Some said that Seungmu came from bubgo dance, a Buddhist ritual dance. It was once prohibited during the Joseon dynasty era, and then it was transformed into a folk dance and developed mostly by kisaengs.


The dancer wears a robe (jangsam) with long sleeve called gasa and white hood called (gokkal).[2] The drum or bubgo is the most important part of Seungmu.

The seungmu integrates the eight rhythmic cycles: yeombul, dodeuri, taryeong, jajin taryeong, gutgeori, dwit gutgeori, gujeong nori, and saesanjo. Every now and then, when one rhythm shifts to another, the dancer changes the mood by changing his steps.[3]


Many people regard Seungmu is the most beautiful Korean dances. It is highly praised by its mixture of flowing movements, tense and stillness. The dancer's long and white sleeves movements, the serenity of white hood, a breathtaking pause, and then a soul-stirring movement contribute to the singular uniqueness of the seungmu.[3]

Famous performers

Seungmu is passed on by very few dancers nowadays. The famous performers of Seungmu are including:

See also


  1. Seungmu (Monk Dance), National Research Institute of Cultural Heritage. Retrieved on September 26, 2007.
  2., The National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts. Retrieved on September 26, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Seungmu (monk dance), Retrieved on September 26, 2007.

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