Taepyeongmu is an unique form of Korean folk dance that has been performed for the peaceful reign ( Taepyeong )of King and nation. Its historical, artistic value is found in that it shows the influence of shamanistic ritual dance in technique and motif.
Taepyeongmu is an artistic dance composed mainly after the ritual dance techniques and musical patterns of Gyeonggi-dodanggut, a shamanistic ritual that worships the village god in Gyeonggi-do province. Therefore, it can be assumed that it originated and has been transmitted centering around Gyeonggi-do though it is being performed regardless of region once after it was established as an artistic dance.
It is said that Taepyeongmu was formed into present style by Seongjun Han (1874-1941), a outstanding master of Korean dance in the beginning of last century. The exact origin of Taepyeongmu is unknown, but it is somewhat certain that the present style was composed by him about a century ago. Its shamanistic influence is found in its highly complicated steps and rhythmic musical patterns. Seongjun Han's genius in traditional music and dance made it possible to modify the stage of King of Gyeonggi-dodanggut into an artistic dance. Particularly, its rhythms are so unique not to be found in any other dances and are complex to master in short period, The basic rhythmic patterns are classified into 6 kinds: nakgung (4 beat), teobeolrim (10 beat), olrimchae (3, 12, 24 beat), dosalpuri (6 beat). Accordingly, its movement techniques are very complicated including 22 kinds of arm movements, 15 kinds of steps, 5 kinds of body movements, etc., among which diverse feet movements and gestures of foot are considered most important. In sum, Taepyeongmu contains the essence of Korean traditional dance in the point that it delivers the aesthetic principle of inner dynamics in the stillness. Taepyeongmu was designated as one of Important Intangible Cultural Treasures.
Society for Preservation of Taepyeongmu
Ms. Young-Il Heo
Professor, Department of Dance
Korean National University of Arts,
Korean National Institute of Cultural Properties