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A Korean Shaman (Mu-Dong) Dance

Lee Jin Won from Korea

Dance of the Korean shaman (Mu-dang)
Photo: Gemma Kate Thorpe
The movement of the Korean shaman (Mu-dang) dance is simple; there is just jumping and turning.

In Korea, a shaman is called a Mu-Dang. Shamanism was popular throughout Korea's long history. Even one to two hundred years ago, when people were sick they called a shaman instead of a doctor. Nowadays, the number of shaman is reduced, but they still exist.

Traditionally, people called a shaman when they faced bad things or misfortune because a shaman was believed to be powerful enough to prevent a misfortune. The shaman then came to their home and performed a religious ceremony.

The ceremony was performed by dancing and shouting. The movement of the shaman dance is simple; there is just jumping and turning. If a shaman feels some ecstasy, she starts a special dance called Dance on the Blade. She dances on the blade of a sword, barefoot with no socks or shoes. Incredibly, a shaman doesn't bleed at all.

Nowadays, people don't call a shaman anymore because they don't believe in shamen anymore, but I think the shaman dance should be preserved because it is one of the cultural traditions of our long history.

 
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