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Yi Chuljin returns

Yi (Lee) Chuljin is an exceptional Korean dancer who has perfected his Buddhist and Shaman-inspired repertories, including Seungmu (Korean Monk dance) and Salpuri (Korean Exorcism dance), which are generally regarded as the most highly accomplished and most aesthetic folk/stage dance forms in Korea. He is particularly known for emotion and aesthetic understanding that is incredibly rare in Korea these days.

Yi Chuljin presents a mixed bill of traditional Korean dance and contemporary dance Le corps est un visage (Body is the Face) with French-Korean dancer Nam Youngho.

Yi Chuljin preforming Seungmu
Yi Chuljin preforming Seungmu

Seungmu (승무) is one of the most representative folk dances of Korea, performed by a dancer dressed in a Buddhist monk’s attire. Although commonly referred to as “monk dance”, seungmu is not a dance formally associated with Buddhist rituals or danced by a monk.

Seungmu is performed by a dancer donning a white monk’s robe, overlaid by a red stole. The dancer is coiffed with a peaked hat and wears white padded socks with pointed tips. Starting out with yeombul, the tempo changes successively to dodeuri, taryeong, gutgeori and jajinmori. With characteristic arm movements, like the quick pitching movement and the swishing of the sleeves creating long, fluttering trails in the air, seungmu is usually accompanied by wind instruments like piri and daegeum, haegeum (the fiddle-like stringed instrument) and drums (jangu and buk).

This highly sophisticated dance with a complex rhythmic structure and intricate choreographic designs gives intense expressions to life’s joys and sorrows, and depicts the human struggle to transcend and sublimate themselves. Only three holders of the Seung Mu tradition are currently alive: Yi Mae-bang, Yi Ae-ju and Jeong Jae-man.

Yi Chuljin preforming Salp'uri ch'um
Yi Chuljin preforming Salp'uri ch'um


This Salp’uri ch’um (살풀이) is in the style of Han Yongsuk. Although the name of this dance indicates an exorcistic dance with shamanistic roots, today it has become an artistic dance, performed to shamanistic instrumental ensemble music, shinawi, and using a single prop, a long white scarf. Salp’uri ch’um exhibits the characteristic inner emotion of han through its refined, controlled and spatially bounded movements, and is rightly celebrated as one of the most important dances of Korea

Nam Youngho will be performing contemporary dance Le corps est un visage which is inspired by infused and inspired by the traditional Seungmu dance.

Where : Michaelis Theatre, Roehampton
How to get there : Froebel College, Roehampton University, Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PJ
When : Wednesday 2nd December at 7.30pm
How much : £6 (£4 concessions)

(automatically generated) Read LKL’s review of this event here.

2 thoughts on “Yi Chuljin returns

  1. Here’s a map of Roehampton University:

    How to get there: Tube to Hammersmith then bus 72 or tube to Putney Bridge then bus 265 or train to Barnes (from Waterloo) then bus 72, 265 or 20 min walk. Froebel College is situauted on the corner of Roehampton Lane and Clarence Lane opposite Queen Mary’s Hospital.

    Campus map (Michaelis Theatre is building 18 on the map):

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