Halla Huhm Foundation

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Court Dance

Court dances are part of the studio repertoire. The following descriptions are based on information in programs from performances by the Halla Huhm Dance Studio.

Photo: Sonyurak (Boat Dance)

Sonyurak (Boat Dance)

This dance is mentioned in a history of Koryo compiled in 1451.
It is believed to have been performed to wish "bon voyage"
to high-ranking court officials or to invite the spirits
to bless fishing fleets.


Kŏmmu (Sword Dance)

There are variations of sword dances in both the court and folk traditions. According to legend, the dance is based on an event in the seventh century when a brave young man from the kingdom of Silla killed the enemy general of Paekche while dancing for him, thus saving Silla from invasion. The costumes worn in this dance reflect the military influence of the dance's origins. Although actual swords were originally used in the dance, they have been replaced by flexible-blade knives, which add an interesting sound to the musical accompaniment.

Photo: Chunaengjon

Chunaengjon (Nightingale Singing in Springtime)

The choreography of this solo court dance is usually attributed
to Prince Ikchong, during the reign of King Sunjo (1800-1834),
but may date from 1469.

It is considered the epitome of refinement and its performance is traditionally limited to the small area of a flower patterned mat.


Apakmu (Ivory Clapper Dance)

Apakmu is listed in the Akhak Kwebom (Treatise on Music) compiled in 1493. The pak, a musical instrument, is now made of wood and is an important instrument used in court and ritual orchestras.