Korean Stage Dance as a New Trend in Kazakhstan Choreography
Saitova GY*, Tskhay AS and Kenzikeyev RV
Kazakh National Academy of Arts named after T. Zhurgenov, Panfilov str., Almaty, Russia
- *Corresponding Author:
- Saitova GY
Kazakh National Academy of Arts named after T. Zhurgenov
127, Panfilov str., Almaty, 050000, Russia
Tel: +7 2614240
Received date: May 12, 2016; Accepted date: May 20, 2016; Published date: June 20, 2016
Citation: Saitova GY. Korean Stage Dance as a New Trend in Kazakhstan Choreography. Global Media Journal. 2016, 14: 26.
Copyright: © 2016 Saitova GY, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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The uninvestigated topic "The Korean stage dance is a new trend in Kazakhstan choreography" makes us constantly face the problem of the choreography status at modern stage in the context of Kazakhstan choreography. The solution of these problems will provide an integral view on the Korean dance origin on the territory of the Kazakhstan Republic. In the article suggested, the authors made an attempt to study the history pages of Korean stage dance formation and development in the State Republican Korean Theatre of Musical Comedy - the first Korean national theatre on the territory of Kazakhstan.
Korean theatre; Legend; Dance; Genre;
Innovations in Ballet-master art; Ritual-magic play; Artifacts of
A modern world, characterized by globalization and mutual
influence of cultures, has acquired new forms and put forward
problems and tasks, connected with the world culture study.
The English scientists K.M. Wells, studying the national
approach to the outside world and the place of Korea in the
world arena, writes, that one of the reasons of the nation's
appeal to its own roots is its integration to the world system
. B.V. Lee, the author of historical-educational book "Learn
the Richness of Korean Traditions", puts forward the principle
question about the "Korea name" origin .
It shall be noted, that the Koreans, having at present the
cultural heritage of high artistic merit, live not only in the
Korean Peninsula, but also in the Far East (60s of the XIX
century - reclamation of coastal areas of Russian Primorye),
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan (1937, Deportation from the Far
East). Apart from what territory they are living on, following
the long-standing traditions, the Koreans stay the bearers of
their national culture.
Despite the territorial division, differences in characteristics
of social structure of the North and South Korea, as well as the
Koreans, living on the territory of multinational Kazakhstan,
taking into consideration the homogeneity of ethnic origin, the
article presents an attempt to reveal the historical peculiarities
and aesthetic specificity of Korean dance, as a national
phenomenon; the development of stage dance is studied as a
new trend in Kazakhstan choreography.
Closing the gap on one of the most importation aspects of
activity of the Korean State Theatre of Musical Comedy, this
investigation writes a new page to the history of Kazakhstan
theatrical art, as well as to the understanding of the fact, to
what degree it corresponds to the development tendencies of
theatrical art in the world arena.
The relevance of this investigation is determined by the
requirements of times; it is well known, that the Korean
culture is one of the richest and the most ancient world
cultures; at present, its role and place in the complex of
Southern cultures - Eastern Asia and Far East, as well as in
Kazakhstan - still stay significant. Till present, the Korean dance
art on the territory of Kazakhstan is still understudied either in
historical aspect, or in its full diversity.
The study of dance evolution onstage of the Korean State
Theatre of Musical Comedy, meeting the modern
requirements and principles of scientific-artistic thinking,
provides an opportunity to structure the process in historical
aspect and provides a forecast of its development and
synthesis of direction. This article is the first in the sphere of
study of Korean dance art in the territory of Kazakhstan; it will
write a new page in the history of choreography of the
Republic, defining a place of traditional and stage
choreography in world general cultural heritage.
When analyzing the development peculiarities of the
national dance in Korea, as well as in the Far East and
Kazakhstan territory, a new criterion for the artistic image
creation was revealed.
Based on generalization of the studied scientific works, as
well as empirical and analytical researches in the article, it has
done the following:
- the scattered and fragmentary information, related to the
history and peculiarities of traditional Korean dance was generalized, as well as the interconnection of music and
- the genesis of Korean dance art was studied; it consists of
the ritual-magic actions, proved by the artifacts of stone
dolmens, petroglyphs of Korea, mural painting of burial vaults
- the role of religious views in traditional Korean dance was
- a number of Korean court and folk dances, games, that
became the basis for independent dance performances and
separate acts in the performances of Korean theatre was
- the development dynamics of Korean stage dance in
national performances, concert programs of Korean theatre in
Kazakhstan was revealed for the first time.
Literature Review. A significant contribution to the general
theoretical study of Korean dance art was made by the Korean
scientists, choreographers An Byung Hon, Lee E Soon, Sung
Soo Nam, Coj Seung Hee [3-6]. The authors describe only some
traditional dances, revealing their typical peculiarities.
A number of interesting facts about the work of Korean
ballet-masters, performers of Korean dances, is taken from the
works of Qwan Ben Rin, Kim Min - A [7-9].
In the former USSR, the first publication, directly devoted to
the Korean dance, was the study guide "The Korean Dance",
written in 1956 by An Soon Hee, co-authored by T. Tkachenko
and N. Lvov .
The collection of articles "The Korean Classic Art",
composed by L.I. Kireeva, presents a special valuable source to
reveal the traditional layer of national choreography in the
early period of Medievalism .
The archeological material, described by R.Sh.
Dzharylgasinova and O.N. Glukhareva presents an important
source to reveal the traditional layer of Korean national
choreography in the early period of Medievalism [12,13].
The articles, dissertations, monographs of Russian
Orientalists are of great interest. Thus, for instance, Yu.V.
Ionova, in her work "Rituals, Customs and Their Social
Functions in Korea (the Middle of XIX - the Beginning of XX
Century) - (1982), devoted to the everyday, wedding and
calendar ritualism, describes the traditional dances and
mentions the role and significance of dances in Korean
customs and rituals.
The work of V.M. Markov "The Republic of Korea. Traditions
and Modernity in the Culture of the Second Half of XX Century.
A View from Russia" (1999) has become the result of long
study of traditions and culture of Korean nation, religious
beliefs, rituals, traditional dances, the development trend of
modern choreography. A classification of dance and musical
art was made by I.A. Tolstokulakov . Although the author
pays the significant attention to the synthesis of musical-dance
culture, he considers the traditional Korean costume in parallel, and also studies the reforms of Korean national
culture, introduced by Van Sedgen, in the historical aspect.
From our point of view, the dissertation to the topic "The
Problems of Korean Dance Art: "The New Dance" and Typical
Dance in the Development Process of National Ballet", written
by the Ph.D. in Art History Lim Jae Joon, is of special interest
The master's dissertation "Dance Culture of Korea: History
and Modernity" of the Korean scientist Moon Byun Nam, is
devoted to the study of peculiarities of South Korean and
North Korean stage dance and to the theatrical production in
modern Korean culture . Some aspects of Korean music
and dance art are studied in the dissertation works of Seong
Sin Jun, Im Ok Soon, Sang Kuing Kim, Lam To Tok [17-19].
To reveal the peculiarities of musical-rhythmical basis of the
Korean dance, the authors studied the works of musicologists,
contained in collections "Bands, Songs and Shamanic Rituals:
Folk Music in Korean Society" by Howard K. (1990), "The
Formation of Traditional Music in Korea" by Hung Man Yan
(The development of traditional music in Korea). The work
"Music and Theatre of Koreans in the Far East of Russia
(1860-1937): the Dialogue of History and Art" by V.A. Koroleva
presents the "experience in reconstruction of traditional
culture (including the dance one) of the Koreans, who live in
the Far East in the period from 1860 to 1937 . "The
Specificity of Rhythm in Korean Traditional Instrumental
Music" is the topic of dissertation of the Ph.D. of Art History
Joon San Il .
Paying special attention to "chandan", and to "usuli" in the
dances of people of the Central Asia, it is possible to say, that
"their emotional imagery shows, that today we meet the
dance, which has a great history, the dance, where the life is
described by means of the poetic symbol of movement" .
Among the first publications, it is possible to mention the
articles of V.L. Burmeister "National Korean Ballet", written in
"The Literary Newspaper" on January 12, 1957 and E.Ya. Surits
"The Korean Ballet and its Problems" [23,24].
The master's thesis "Interaction of Russian and Korean
Choreographic Traditions in Modern Ballet Art of the Korean
Republic" by N.A. Cai is devoted to the study of creative
exchange between two countries in the sphere of ballet art
. Let us note, that the literature about traditional and
modern Korean choreography in Kazakhstan is limited by
several publications in periodical press. Among the newspaper
publications of the last years, it is possible to distinguish the
article "Her Dance Poetry", the interview of L.V. Kim, the chief
ballet-master of the Korean Theatre .
The valuable information on the history of Korean Theatre is
contained in the monograph "The Soviet Korean Theatre" by
I.F. Kim and in the book "The History of Korean Theatre", the
project author is L.A. Nee .
Methods of Study
The object of study is the Korean dance art in the culture of
Koreans, who live on the territory of Kazakhstan. The subject
of study is the development of Korean stage dance, the
regularity of historical development and modern state.
Methods of investigation are the following:
- Comparative method;
- Typological method of analysis;
- Inductive way of logical analysis.
- Inquiry method, involving the observation during the study
placement with the Korean National University of Seoul. The
complex approach to the study of history and culture of Korea
is presented in the works of V.M.T and Kan Mangil, S.A.
Tokarev, A.N. Lankov, A.A. Kolomin and other Russian scientists
The works and statements of outstanding people of
choreography of Kazakhstan B.G. Ayukhanov, G.T.
Zhumaseitova, G.Yu. Saitova, A.B. Shankibaeva were also
Thanks to comparative approach, it was managed to reveal
typical features of dance culture of the Koreans in Kazakhstan,
Far East and Korea (South, DPRK).
The comparative approach provided an opportunity to
"determine the place of traditional and scenic choreography in
global cultural heritage, as well as preservation of unique
traditions of choreography" .
The method of inquiry and observation, direct contact with
the veterans, actors, ballet-masters of Korean theatre, as well
as with leading specialists of the Korean National University,
National museums, Centers of Culture and Art of Seoul
provided an opportunity to use the recording devices of music
and dance, customs and traditions.
The Results of Study
The purpose of the presented work is to determine the
vector and to reveal the potential of development of the
Korean stage dance in the territory of Kazakhstan.
- To determine the main stages and peculiarities of dance art
in Old Korean culture;
- To create the integral view on the phenomena of Korean
dance art, conditioned by the peculiarity of dance art in the
epoch of Three States (Koguryeo, Paekche and Silla);
- The study of classification of three main types of
traditional Korean dances;
- The boundary definition of the volume of dance heritage,
studied as of today, is the basis to form the Korean stage
- The analysis of evolution process of the Korean stage
dance in the correlation aspects of tradition and innovation,
the study of achievements of other dance systems;
- The understanding of connection and relations of
traditional and modern dance Korean culture.
It is known, that "the Stage dance is the type of art, where
the means of artistic image creation are the movements and
positions of human body.... The dance laws are similar to the
music laws... The dances, created by separate representatives
of nations, became widely spread, gradually getting the stable
forms. National originality of dance culture was reflected in
specific poses, rhythms, pictures of dance. The best dance
samples became the merit of world culture" .
Throughout the millenniums, the political and economical
relations of the Koreans were developed in close contact with
the neighboring nations. Certainly, it was reflected in both
religious belief and national culture. It is known, that the Great
Silk Way - the East-West, coming from China through the
Eastern Turkestan, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, Northern India to
the countries of Western Europe - played a great role in
mutual influence of religious trends, musical, dance cultures of
world nations. "China played the most significant role in this
process, wherethrough Confucianism and Buddhism
penetrated to the Korean Peninsula. The latter is the state
religion of the Three States" [12,31]. In particular, "dance
forms and genres, as well as other types of art, were borrowed
by Koreans from China and other neighboring countries.
However, the borrowed form was rethought according to the
Korean national worldview and aesthetic peculiarities " .
According to the data from works of scientists from Russia,
the West European countries and Korea, they share the view
on significant role of religions in the life activity of dance
traditions of national art [39-41].
Let us repeat once again, that "Korea is mentioned in
chronicles of bordering states, named "Joseon" - "the country
of mourning tranquility" ("the country of mourning
freshness"). In VII century B.C., according to the legends,
written in China sources of the beginning of our era, the China
magnate Ji-Tze, known under the Korean name Ky Dza
(Kidzha), trying to pull through death, left China and,
swimming cross the river Amnokkan, settled in Korea" .
Then it speaks, that it was Ky Dza, who "named Korea the
country of mourning tranquility".
The period of "three states was the period of Korean culture
origin and formation", where Buddhism, Confucianism,
Daoism and other religious trends played a definite role in
formation and development of traditional dances and their
aesthetic principles .
The important artifacts, proving the existence of early
believes and ritual performances, are the monuments of
material culture. The abovementioned is proved by the famous
tonsamdon "mask-depiction of human face from the shell
(with the holes for the mouth and eyes), "clay depiction of
human face, presenting the human-like spirits of the face - the
Lars from Hosanna. Let us note, that "the tradition to depict
the faces of guardian spirits, the protectors from "the evil
spirits" on the clay shines, bronze plates etc. lived in Korea for
a long time; it is quite possible, that its roots shall be searched
for in this primitive neolithic mask" .
In the period of bronze era, "according to the data of
Chinese and Japanese historians, in the historical data about
the nations Fu-yui, Ko-gu-rio and others", inhabited the Korean
Peninsula, "there is mentioned the fact, that they worshiped
the spirits of earth and air, genius-gardeners of hills and rivers,
soil, caves and even tigers. The Sky and mourning star were
especially worshiped . Worship of spirits, which have their
own names, takes a special place in the life of modern Koreans
- "koryo saram".
The professor V.M. Tikhonov and the historiographer from
the South Korea Kan Mangil describe the religion, the ideology
of traditional and modern Korea . V.M. Tikhonov mentions,
that "the caps" of Geochang dolmens frequently resemble the
image of tortoise - the symbol of fertility and longevity in
Proto-Koreans" . It is proved by the walls and gates of
fortresses, survived till present, as well as private houses,
decorated by tortoises. "The state stamp of Korea also has the
form of the tortoise, and it is carved from marble" (Korean
In his description, V.M. Tikhonov mentions, that "the
Geochang dolmens are usually located according to the axis of
the East-West, what hints at their possible link with the Sun
cult", as well as the "cult of stones and mountains", that got
their development at later stages of Old Korean history". The
collected materials state, that "the dolmen shall be
considered ...as a sacral symbol of the community in whole,
the center of generic and communal cult life" .
Thus, "the connection of these giant burial vaults with
religious rituals", where, obviously, definite rituals took place,
testify about the atmosphere of Korean life in ancient times,
about the existence of primitive religious performances. The
digging of stations and burials of dolmens testify about cult
actions, where, obviously, dance actions were of great
significance and had definite tasks.
"It seems, that the geometrical motive of circle and
concentric lines, frequently met in Korean petroglyphes, is
connected with the cult of Sun - the source of light and
fertility" . The mirrors are also connected with the Sun
cult; they had "a special ritual-magic meaning...they were
considered an important belonging of the priest or shaman, by
means of which the religious people could "concentrate" the
light in their hands (the main constituent of the sacral space)
and could "manage" it .
Here is necessary to remind, that the Koreans have the
belief, that the deceased after death is presented in the image
of three spirits, living in the sky, on the earth and under the
ground. There existed the ritual Sadya bab, which consisted in
feeding the three spirits. The description of this ritual is
written in the book B.V. Lee. In the end of the ritual, "those
who present, made a del (bow). Then the food from the table
was gathered to the commemorative dishes and was also
buried" in order "the deceased's soul did not come back to the
"The interconnection and interaction of "underearth"
(earthy) and "top" (sky) worlds is proved by the survived
fragments of mural painting of Koguryeo burial vaults. "The first burial vault Koguryeo with paintings was opened by
Edward Shavann in 1907 close to the river Tungou.... Further
steps of archeology of Koguryeo are connected with the names
of Japanese scientists Torii Ryûzô, Sekino Tadashi, Hamada
Kosaku, Ikueti Hirosi, Umehara Suedze" .
The famous mural paintings of burial vaults of the Koguryeo
period, where the heaven spirits Sasin are depicted (the
guardians of the four cardinal direction), as well as the secular
and mythological plots, date back to the IV-VII centuries. The
definite consistent pattern of painting exists there; it reflects
the aesthetic views of artists, as well as "the worldview of
people of that times, their views about the interaction and
interconnection of "underearth" (earthy) and "top" (sky)
The portrait-genre painting - Inmul pkhunsok, which mainly
depicts the rich magnate and his lucky life in the other world,
is of great interest. It seems that the unknown artists tried to
communicate deep philosophical content, "lied in Korean
culture initially, at the stage of myth formation" . The
Orientalists N.A. Vinogradova and N.S. Nikolaeva consider:
"The relations of myth personages determine the state of
cosmos: chaos and harmony. The shift from chaos to harmony
is provided not by means of battle and victory of the headstart
over the evil forces, but by the marriage of two opposite
heroes and the birth of the young facilitator" . Obviously,
peaceful character of Korean nation, full of optimistic, but
sentimental culture, was formed on the basis of philosophical
worldview of harmony in everything. Hence follows the
character and manner of performance, especially of female
The burial vaults, found close to the county Anak, got the
names "Anak No.1", "Anak No.2", "Anak No.3". The walls of
the burial vault had the following paintings: the hunting scene,
the depiction of palace, the demonstration of people, the
fantastic animals (the fish with wings and legs, the roe with
wings), the drum of unusual form", architectural details
(columns), the Great Bear Constellation" .
The mural paintings of the burial vault Hanbanmyo ("The
tomb in the form of pan") are described by the famous Korean
archeologist To Yuhoo. He writes the following: "This burial
ground has magnificent fresco paintings. The walls are
grounded by lime and painted with inimitable mastery. The
firm hand with single free movements, drew the lines, typical
of the Asian art. The powerful figure of guardian with risen
sward, full of angry precipitance, froze on the wall, still
charming the spectator with the amazing lines of his body; the
magnificent fairy with the nimbus round the head and the
lotus flower in hands enheavens. The Western wall has the
pretty children faces, which smile to us through the earth
flows. All these perfect human figures are framed with
remarkable symbolic paintings of the ceiling and curtain rods"
"Muonchon" ("The burial vault with depiction of dances") is
located near Cian. One of the most wide-spread plots is the
depiction of musicians and dancers. Frequently, it is "a peculiar
"ensemble": three musicians and dancer, where the movement of the dancer is presented with astonishing
mastery, as well as the light and free costumes of the
musicians" . Thus, the artist specifies the synthesis of
dance and music.
Naturally, the depiction of dancer, who performs definite
dance elements - "crossing the legs and rising the hands in
front of the chest, is of great interest; he (the dancer), as if
claps hands it time with music".
The dancer is depicted in traditional clothes, typical of
Koguryeo people of the time. He wears "long cogory with
narrow sleeves, roped with the belt on the waist, the long
shalwars (padzhy), the bottom of trousers is decorated with
stripped bottoms; there are black shoes on his legs" .
However, "freakish hat from the cloth with red spots,
resembling the turban" and the facial profile of dancer "with
big long nose, not typical of the Mongoloids... gives ground to
some scientists to considers, that the dancer in the mask is
depicted; the others assume that it is the dancer of "foreign
We share the opinion of the scientists, that "Turban", "the
dancer's face profile... is not typical of Mongoloids"; it provides
an opportunity to put forward the hypothesis about the
borrowings in the culture of Koreans and the nations of China
and Asia. At the same time, the interconnection and mutual
enrichment of song-musical and dance art is proved by the
historical facts, recorded by many Orientalists. More likely, the
sketch of "the dancer of foreign origin" is connected with one
of that syncretic cults, which were originated in the Central
Asia or Eastern Turkestan, and came to the Korean Peninsula
One of the brightest samples, the influence of Korean dance
culture on Chinese multipart performance "Shee bu yue", is
met in the monograph "Dance Chinese Art: History and
Modernity" by the art scientist A.B. Vats. The performance
"Shee bu yue" - "Gaoly yue" (the dance of Gaoly state) dates
back to the old state Koguryeo, located in the North of Korea.
Two performances were connected with the musical-dance
traditions of the Central Asia ("Kango yue" and "Angyo yue" -
the dance art of Uzbekistan). Three performances are
connected with the empires, located on the territory of
modern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region "Gaochan yue"
(Turfan), "Guitsy yue (Kucha), "Shul yu" (Kashgar).
Thus, "Shee bu yue" reflects the ideological principles on
the use of different cultural borrowings" (Vats 2011, p. 47),
accepted by the government of Tan Empire (Ly Clan). The
message, that its performers wore the costumes with long
sleeves and white shoes, calls attention to itself; it coincides
with the image, still used today in the folk Korean dances"
"It is possible to say about the Chinese culture in whole,
that, perceiving the foreign cultural phenomena, it soaked and
"absorbed" them fully, determining the place in general
nomenclature and endowing its own Chinese names and
The survived fragments of "multifigured composition",
where "three groups of people are arranged in the big site in
the open air ... there are two men: the dancer and the
musician" ... playing the vankham, in the far row", provide
an opportunity to make the conclusion about the existence of
solo male performance. There are five dancers in the middle
row: three men and two women. Their figures are depicted in
one movement. The dancers move smoothly to the right,
whilst their hands are put to the opposite" . This episode
communicates the group lyrical dance, which shows the style
of performance presents the record of one of dance elements
and, mainly, reflects the unique traits of character and temper
of the Koreans.
"Finally, there are seven singers in the third row. The singers
stands in compact group - their easy poses, light, relaxed head
rotations excellently reproduce the atmosphere of
performance of liquid melody" . From the description of
wall fragment, we see qualitative performance.
The existence of professional actors, jongleurs, stilt walkers
is proved by the "scene of feast from the burial vault
"Phalchonny pyokhvachon" . There are good reasons to
say, that there were the cult dances, performed in temples,
sanctuaries, during state rituals, and the court dances of
entertaining character (feast scene) . The cult court dances
and the court dances in whole "are characterized by graceful,
powerlike movements. As opposed to the court dances, the
Korean dances reflect the everyday life, labor and believe of
simple people (rural dance, dance in masks, shamanic dance)"
The Korean music and dance art, passing through the long
way of development, absorbing the foreign phenomena,
managed not only to keep its originality, but, being descended
from generation to generation, promoted definite
conservation, thanks to which definite artistic canons were
- Musical traditions, being developed for centuries, revealed
the main genres of court music - tanak, khyanak, aak; thee
genres of folk music muak, sogak, sandcjo, nonak or "peasant
music"; the dance, being developed under the influence of
musical art, was developed both in court and in folk art. The
peculiar feature of court dances is the ceremonial dance
tradition, deep artistic merit and unusual brightness of
costumes, accessories. At present, the reproduced court
dances "Chkhoenmu", "Khakmu", "Chkhuenchzhon",
"Kommu" are considered to be the "Treasury of Spiritual
Culture"; the leading folk dances are the following ones:
"thalchhum", "sandenory", "synmu", "musokcum",
"kkokdugaksee", "thepkhyonmu", "khannyanmu" and
- The synthesis of oral-musical-dance culture became the
basis of theatrical art and Korean musical opera chkhanguk;
- Ritual shamanic dances in the masks, previously fulfilled
magic functions, began to be used both in ritual, and in
theatrical-dance performances. Gradually, being developed in
folk surroundings, they began to bear the artistic loading.
Dance performances in the masks are divided in 4 types and have their own peculiarities, differences and destination:
Yangju, Ponsan, Hahve, Ogvande.
Reasoning about national peculiarities of dance art, the art
experts, who deal with the problems of national choreography
and who try to make their classification, express their view and
put forward different hypothesis. Despite the fact, that "still
there is no single opinion on the criteria of approaches to
dance grouping. Some scientists stand for the single
classification principle. The majority of scientists consider, that
it is impossible to invent the universal classification, and the
dances shall be subdivided on the basis of material specificity"
The American scientists R. Kraus, proceeding from the
material specificity (dance history, modern American theatrical
dances, the status of choreographic education in the USA),
classified the material into six main groups: 1. Ballet; 2.
Modern dance; 3. Social dance; 4. Stage dance; 5. Folk dance;
6. Ethnic dance .
The work of English folklorists V. Alford and R. Gellop, based
on general review of folk dances of the British Isles, deals with
the comparative analysis of traditional dances of European
nations. Revealing common features and differences, the
authors classify dances according to content, form and main
Foreign scientists K. Zaks, A. Mill, R. Persivel, in their
complex approach to dance classification, group them
according to their belonging to definite ritual [50-52].
The majority of scientists from the Post-Soviet Republics
also follow the classification of traditional dance choreography
according to its belonging to rituals. The authors Koo J.M.,
Nacht A.C. in the book "An Introduction to Korean Culture",
based on the studied Korean folk dances, analyze and make a
conclusion about the peculiarities and differences of court,
Confucian and folk dances .
Studying "The Dance Korean Culture", Mun Byun Nam
distinguishes "two trends in specific performance: vocal and
instrumental music" in dance music.
Studying the traditional Korean culture, its typical features,
the regularities of historical development and modern status,
the Doctor of Art V.M. Markov studies the choreographic
material - the dances "Chakpop", "Ilma", "Choenma",
"Salphury", "Puchhechhum" - and for the first time makes a
classification of Korean traditional dance on its basis .
The investigations of Korean Scientists I.A. Tolstokulakov and
Yu.I. Ionova are characterized by the attraction of data from
related areas: history, music studies, culturology. The Doctor of
Art Sciences I.A. Tolstokulakov raises a problem about the
relation of music and dance of previous centuries, in
conclusion, he provides a classification of musical and dance
Yu. I. Ionova made a significant contribution to general
theoretical study of shamanic traditions. In 1980, Ionova wrote
the article "Shamanism in Korea (XIX - the beginning of XX century)", where the customs, rituals and the reflection of
song and music traditions of Korean, are considered in details.
The ethnographic material of V.E. Baglay is of special
interest for study. Describing the sources of Korean national
choreography, the author classifies the traditional dances into
six types: court, shamanic, Buddhism, Confucian, folk dances
and mask dance performances .
Taking into consideration the materials of research works of
several scientists, comparing all classification ways and
personal observations, we grouped the dances in the following
1. Court dances involve ritual and religious ones;
2. Folk dances involve rural and shamanic dances in masks;
3. Neokorean dance presents a synthesis of elements from
traditional and modern dances.
This classification provides an opportunity to trace the
development of Korean traditional dance both in historical
aspect, so to say "vertically", and "horizontally" - in all its
diversity as of today.
Studying the pages of history of the Korean theatre, in
connection with its deportation from the Far East and with
numerous migration of the Koreans inside Kazakhstan, it is
possible to distinguish four main stages in the theatre
The first stage - Far Eastern (1932-1936) - is determined as a
period of generation and development of Korean stage dance.
The first dance sketches, in the performance "A Legend of the
Girl Coon Hyan", were produced by the musician and expert of
Korean folk dances Lee Bon Hak. He included some moments
from the folk festival "Tano" and marriage rite "Hapgynne" and
"Phebek" to the dance scenes, carefully keeping the form and
elements of dance movements in folklore choreography. Thus,
the Korean folk dance got stage interpretation for the first
A performance "The Legend about the Girl Coon Hyan",
created on the basis of classic Korean epos, "is permanently
present in the repertoire of the Korean theatre from the day of
its formation"; it is the visiting card of the theatre. Running
ahead, let us note, that for the time of theatre existence
(1932- 2014), the play was reworked several times (1960-s,
1970-s, 1980-s). With each new interpretation of the play, the
topic of love is remained unchanged. With good reason, it is
possible to say, that the performance "The Legend about the
Girl Coon Hyan" has become a peculiar school for the whole
generation of Korean actors and ballet-masters producers.
From high antiquity, the plots of national folklore, survived
till present and became the basis of stage performances: "The
Legend about the Girl Coon Hyan" by Lee Den Nim, "The
Legend about the Girl Sim Cen" and "Ariran" by Zay Ena; folk-heroic
- "The Slaves" by Thai Dyan Coon; "The Legend about
Hynbu" by Thai Dyan Coon The Legend about the Hare" by Ni
Nikolay V and many others.
- The second stage is of Kzyl-Orda; it initially covers 4 years
(1937-1941) - the pre-war period, and then, after Ush-toba, it
covers 9 years, coming back in the period from 1959 to 1968.
Deportation is a tragic period of repressions, befalling the
Korean nation. The vein of the Korean theatre is interrupted.
- The third stage is Ushtobinsky. The tours of the theatre in
the RSFSR, USSR, Transcaucasia Republics became the
significant events in the middle of 1950-s. Together with the
masters of dance art, they participated in large concert in
Moscow during the Decade of Kazakh Literature and Art
(1958). To prepare the Kazakh dance routines, the balletmaster
from DPRK Ra Suk Hi, who had a study placement with
the Bolshoy Theatre, was invited. The increased performance
level in the theatre provided Ra Suk Hi with an opportunity to
produce classical Korean dances, such as "Dance with Swards",
"Dance with Hand Fans", "Dance with Drums" (Hansami
Chum"), "The Shepherd and the Girl" ("San Mu").
Let us pay your attention, that the "Dance with Hand Fans"
in stage interpretation was introduced by famous ballet dancer
Coj Seung Hee, who played the major role in development of
Korean dance art of the new time". It was the beginning of the
XX century, when "the Koreans met the Russian Ballet and
Russian folk dances for the first time" . The Russian
spectator saw the rich art of the Korean dance art for the first
time in 1951; it was brought under Coj Seung Hee. The second
meeting took place in 1965.
- the fourth stage of the theatre (from 1968 till present). The
end of 1960 brought new changes to the life of the Korean
theatre - in 1968 the theatre was moved from Kzyl-Orda to
Alma-Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan".
The address to folk traditions continued in the subsequent
years. In 1970, Kim Gi bon, Kim Hya Oon, Tatyana Kim - the
actors family from the Korean theatre produces "Non Ak"
("The Peasant Festival"), where the dancers, dance girls and
actors participated. The first, that attracted attention, was the
close and active contact of performers with spectators.
The theatre actors' skill, inventive, even improvisatory
performance of mise en scences, taken from folk games and
rituals, presented the wide, many-sided range of song-choreographic
composition "Non Ak". The spectator "was
bribed" by authentically folklore material.
Missing some pages, let us note that the team still continues
the creative search. "The Prince of Three Kingdoms" has
become the performance, that marks a milestone; it was
written based on the motives of Korean folklore legends. The
performance was confined to the 80s anniversary of the
Young choreographers of the musical fantasy "The Prince of
Three Kingdoms", the ballet-dancers Nadezhda Kim and Anna
Coj perfectly coped with the tasks of the Producer Oleg Lee.
The performance is full of song-dance and plastic scenes,
which differ with light musicality. The choreographer provides
the spectators with an opportunity "so see" the magnificent
music, composed by George Yun.
The traditional Korean choreography is finely intertwined
with non-traditional plastics in the performance, for instance:
"the court dance" is presented in restrained, sublime
traditional character; in "The Autumn Dance" we can see the
wind whirls in free plastics.
In the stage, when the Prince - Autumn sings the song, two
girls dance the stylized Korean dance with long sleeves
The dance to the song of the Summer Prince is interpreted
as playful, with light character. A new technical device is used
in duet dance "Butterflies" (is conventionally named by the
authors of this article). The dance girls make play of the
properties - large butterflies, fixed on clusters. The
choreography is based on the play and flitter of the properties.
Dance vocabulary is mainly based on the free plastics.
The girl duet to the song of Winter Prince is performed in
more national style in the synthesis of classic steps, underlying
the poses. The dance character is more pacific, lush, musically
continuous. Such properties, as powdered branches of fur-tree
are used; the difference is that the dance here is primary.
The Spring is the awakening of nature: the first flowers,
tender flower-buds. The soul dances and sings, it is the bird
flitter, the strive for the unknown, the feeling of Love. The
dance to the song of Spring Prince is performed by four girl
dancers, they have the flower wreaths. Transparency and
airiness is felt - the dance is produced in romantic style.
The second act begins with the dance of "Fairies", presented
in single statistical coloring of the performance. The first part
is performed by the ballet-dancers, then, it gradually flows to
the dance-song picture with the participation of actresses,
who perfectly possess the scenic plastics.
The dance of the princess Man Ok and friends (6 actresses),
the dance of "Spirits", performed by the theatre actors with
"hansami" and in masks "Non Ak".
Today the participants and followers continue the search for
the new artistic way of thinking, harmonious synthesis of
traditional national and modern plastic language, new forms
A new search, in new genre was the one-act ballet
"Parallelism", produced by Anna Coj. The libretto of the
graduation work, written by A. Coj herself, is devoted to the
deportation of Koreans from the Far East to Kazakhstan. The
ballet is produced in lyrical-dramatic genre. Dance vocabulary
is used in some pictures in "purely" national movements,
sometimes in the synthesis of elements of Korean dance and
free plastics, sometimes in modern dance style.
Thanks to the politics of Kazakhstan, the contacts with
historical motherland of actors of the Korean theatre were
established. The leading ballet-masters of the theater R.I. Kim
and L.V. Kim were initially sent to DPRK, and then to the
Korean Republic for practical training. Certainly, it provided a
new view, innovative search in the performances of
The Korean scene dance raises to the new level thanks to
choreographers of the Korean Republic, who come to Alma-
Ata (2014, 1015) under the Memorandum on cooperation,
written in 2013 with the Korean Theatre Of Kazakhstan. The
producers from the Center of Preservation of Non-Material
Korean Heritage taught the master-classes on study of Korean
compositions, combining the synthesis of dance and acrobatic
Based on the study of Korean traditional dances, existing on
the territory of Kazakhstan, Korea (South and North), the Far
East, despite the development of stage type of art with
different ideological views, it is possible to assure, that the
commonness of aesthetic principles provided the typological
unity of folk dance on the territory of settlements of the
Korean, making it the integral phenomenon of national
The Discussion of the Obtained
Disclaiming the study of such complex problem, we tried to
study only one aspect in our article - the formation and
development of Korean stage dance, as a new trend in
Kazakhstan choreography. As this aspect could not be studied
without the historical context, the object of study involved
general traditional dances, ritual-magic rites, reflected
religious, aesthetic preconditions.
Traditional Korean dance art is undoubtedly considered one
of the brightest and richest cultural phenomena. The period of
"three states was the period of Korean culture origin and
formation" where Buddhism, Confucianism, Daoism and other
religious trends played a definite role in formation and
development of traditional dances and their aesthetic
To study the Korean dance art, "the poetic adaptation of
myths and historical legends, medieval historical-geographical
compositions, ancient Korean encyclopedias, collections
Phesol - the small prose forms (12-17 centuries)"(Korean
Mythology) - are of great value. The scientists mention that
"the Korean mythology has a number of specific features. It is
connected more with the history of the country or the fantasy
world, than with the world of gods.
It is known, that "many myths present the models of actions
and organization of life pattern and connect them with
primeval period" . The Korean myths also reflect the
primeval folk believes, pantheistic in their character. There
existed the view about the "mythologem "of world axis" and
its "sacral" center of the world" in the view of spatial vertical
(the world tree or mountain). Here follows "the cult of sacral
trees and mountains... The cult of Sky God, responsible for the
fertility in universe" typical of the Proto-Koreans of early
centuries. The worship of four elements (the sky, the earth,
the fire and the water), propitiation of different spirits,
demons was communicated in cult ritual dances. The belief
and the superstition, connected with the worship of nature
spirits and mythic ancestors - the representatives of animal world, and with the protectors and defenders of people in
underworld - the spirits of ancestors - are of special
significance in ritual actions.
Ritual dances, comprised to different rites, including "The
Dragon Dance", implement fully not only the dance, but also
the ethnographic traditions.
The existence of ancient dances, that took an important
place in rituals, presents the rudimentary form of theatrical
performance, which existed in shamanic rites.
At present, many legends and fairy-tales take a special place
in the repertoire of theatres of Kazakhstan and Korea.
As it is impossible "to reconstruct the archaic samples of
ritual dances", then, "using the retrospective method of
analysis", we made an attempt to "reveal the understudied
aspects of ritual choreography" .
Actually, the female Korean round dance "Kangansuolle" is
"picturesque" and "poetic". The culture expert Moon Byun
Nam made the most detailed description of "Kangansuolle".
Comparing it with Russian round dance, the author specifies
that "Kangansuolle" is the round dance, "it is related to the
Russian folk round, which is danced by the young girls under
the moon in the Midsummer's night" and notes "its distinctive
features.... "Russian round is danced in more speedy pace, the
performers are separated by small intervals, the round is
frequently ended with fast dancing. In Korean round dance,
the girls as if swim in dance, hands in hands, closely cuddling
to each other; they make a step not from the toe, but mainly
from the heel" .
Let us present a more detailed description of the round
dance, recorded by Moon Byun Nam.
"Kangansuolle" is accompanied by cult songs, and it is
connected with the worship of Moon, as a symbol of fertility.
In the full moon of the first and eighths month according to
lunar calendar, many girls gather together to sing in chorus
and solo, and to dance in a round. More than fifty girls can
participate in a round. This dance is characterized by slow even
circular motions..., which alter with bobbing and chanting in
honor of the moon. Gradually, it causes great interest, that the
pace of the round becomes faster and ends in whirl dancing.
Circular motions mean purification and enclosure from evil
"Kangansuolle" dates back to the ancient agrarian magic: its
plastics and chanting expressed the love for the earth.
Frequent bobbing is the collection of rice spikes... The
traditional motions, being elaborated for centuries,
concentrate the essence of national character, its peculiar
tempo and rhyme, typical of this ethnos" .
This abstract shows us, what is the round dance
"Kangansuolle". First of all, it is the song-choreographic
composition, which shown the entwinement of elements of
the ritual dance "Moon worship", "purification, enclosure from
the evil spirits" with definite rite, devoted to cropping. Existing
in further centuries, losing its magic functions, the round
dance "Kangansuolle" "remained a bright and life-affirming phenomenon of folk dance culture". It is not unexpected, that
at present, it has different variants of composition, which are
shown at "regional festival "Henan Kangansuolle in the South
Jeolla Province (The republic of Korea). The round
"Kangansuolle", danced in the South Jeolla Province (The
Republic of Korea), has a status of "national treasure of the
culture No. 8".
Fragmentary data about the rites of Sky worship is present
in the works of many scientists, who studied Korea. The Sky
ruler Hanynim worship continued to exist in sacral stars,
connected with human fates. Large stars were considered to
be the symbols of giants, wise men, and the small ones were
the symbols of ordinary people. Moon Byun Nam, referring to
the scientist E.V. Vasilchenko, underlines, that "the Korean
region, the same as the whole South-Eastern Asia, was
characterized by the use and scalarization of bronze and stone
instruments... The sounding of such instruments does not die
out for a long time, spreading in waves every each side, being
heard for large distance, especially in the mountains and near
the water" . Then the author puts forward a hypothesis,
that "... such sounding shall provide complete communication
with divine world, spreading the sound within larger space in
external manifestation, dipping the consciousness of the
listeners to ecstatic state" .
Full and complete description of sacral relation to
instruments was given by the scientist "Han To In. "...By the
example of teaching to main techniques of drum cango
playing, revealing the imagery meaning of instruments, he
reveals the relation of the musician to the instrument. Judging
by fair conclusion of Han To In, the traditions of "teaching to
main techniques of the drum chango playing survived till
present . Han writes: "Imagine, that your closest person
has died. In grief and sorrow, you fall on the ground and strike
it with hand. You strike the ground: ttak, tta, da, dok, kun; you
play kukun, kidak; you play with both hands: don. There are no
such people, who could strike the ground automatically, as a
machine. However, there are people, who make the strike
technics automatic, skillfully striking the drums chango with
the feeling of respect and complaisance" .
According to the words of L.V. Kim, the main ballet-master of
the Korean theatre (Kazakhstan), the dances, performed at
present to the chango drums, have their own specificity. Being
the producer of the "Dance with Drums", L.V. Kim pays
attention to the following moments: firstly, the dancer is
simultaneously the performer and the accompanist; secondly,
the dancer shall have the brightly expressed feeling of rhyme,
body coordination and technical skills when striking the
rhythmic pattern on chango; thirdly, the complex dance
technique (different twiddles, diverse twists, hopping) shall
communicate the harmonious implementation of the image.
All this adds the dance special mannerism of performance and
has its specific character.
The "Dragon Dance", popular in Korea, China, in the
countries of South-Eastern Asia, presents the developed
dramatized carnival, having its own variation. For instance, in
the epoch of Silla state, the dance Coen or "The Dance of
Dragon of Eastern Sea" existed; it was one of the variants of the classical "Dragon Dance". Initially it was danced by one
actor, then by two, and in the beginning of Coson period, five
people participate in it. This court dance was performed
before the New Year celebration to expel all evil spirits. The
men actors were dressed in blue, white, red, black and yellow
costumes, symbolizing four corners of the earth and the
center; the faces were covered by brown masks. In the
beginning, they dance sole , then each of them dances in pair
with the actor, who is in center, at that, all other participants
whirl synchronously with them. The performance is
accompanied by shamanic music.
From the abovementioned follows, that the form of the
"Dragon Dance" presents the multi-part composition. In the
process of its development, the dance changed in qualitative
performance (solo, pair, five). We can suppose, that
improvisation prevailed in embryonic state, where the actor
demonstrated his talent. His dance vocabulary involved
imitation and pantomime motions, imitating the Dragon.
When the number of performers increased, the dance became
a kind of contest, where each of five actors dances solo "in the
pair with the actor, dancing in the center".
Traditional dance art continues to exist as a stability symbol
of Korean culture both in folklore heritage of people, and in
scenic interpretation at stage, despite the territorial
separation of the Koran nation.
The purpose of this article is to study the Korean dance in
the context of formation and development of Kazakhstan
choreography and its integration in the world space. The
purpose is also to determine a vector and to reveal a potential
of Korean stage dance in the State Republican Korean Theatre
of Musical Comedy .
However, to achieve this aim, it was required to determine
the main stages and peculiarities of dance art in Old Korean
culture; to reveal early forms of believes, which were reflected
in everyday customs, definite cult traditions and different
types of dances.
Based on generalization of the studied scientific works, as
well as empirical and analytical survey, the work introduces a
concept of genesis of Korean dance art, consisting of ritualmagic
actions, proved by the artifacts of stone dolmens,
Korean petroglyphs, mural painting of Koguryeo burial vaults.
The idea, that the Korean dance art, being a constituent of
Proto-Korean culture, from times immemorial represents the
ethnocultural codes, dating back to shamanic and Buddhism
ritual dances, is also substantiated. The adoption of
Confucianism and Daoism, musical and dance cultures were
rethought and included to new cultural context. Thus, it is
possible to say the following:
- The close relation of religion and dance is traced in ethnic
- Syncretism was a phenomenon of religious worldview of
Korean. Thus, when shamanism dominated, Buddhism initially penetrated, and then, Confucianism and Daoism became
widespread in the circles of feudal aristocracy;
- Multi-religious factor played a creating role in centuries-old
succession of spiritual Korean culture, keeping the unique
samples in traditional dance art.
Close intercultural contacts played a significant role in
development of Korean dance and musical culture: meridional
direction of the Great Silk Way (from the East to the West and
vice versa), which manifested itself in great flow of religious
(Buddhism) and philosophical (Confucianism, Daoism) views,
in syncretism of Chinese, Turkic musical-dance cultural
The blossom of Korean folk drama, the emergence and
formation of Korean music and dance culture happened in the
period of three states - Koguryeo, Paekche and Silla. The
development of Old dance culture, which had definite, clearly
determined periods, provided an opportunity to subdivide the
traditional dance into two types: court and folk, characterized
by the peculiar style and manner of performance.
The first national Korean theatre in the world engendered in
Primorski Krai of the Far East in 1932. Studying the pages of
the history of Korean theatre, in connection with the
deportation from the Far East (1937) and numerous migration
of the Koreans inside Kazakhstan, four main types in theatre
development were distinguished. The most prominent and
successively appeared tendencies were selected as the criteria
in periodization of the Korean stage dance development.
It was the period of active experiments, the search for new
forms and their fulfillment with new content. Keeping the
fundamental values of national principles, the theatre
managed to overcome the number of constraining factors on
the way of creation of larger choreographic pieces of work.
The creation of one-act ballet "Parallel" propelled the Korean
stage dance to the qualitatively new level.
Thanks to the Kazakhstan politics, the contacts with
historical motherland of the Korean theatre actors were
established. The Korean stage dance rises to the new level
thanks to the choreographers of the Korean Republic, who
came to Alma-Ata under the Memorandum on cooperation,
enclosed in 2013 with the Korean Theatre of Kazakhstan.
Based on the study of Korean traditional dances, existing on
the territory of Kazakhstan, Korea and Far East, despite the
development of both scenic type of art, with different
ideological views, it is possible to assure, that the similarity of
aesthetic principles provided typological unity of folk dance in
all territories of Korean resettlement, making it the integral
phenomenon of national culture.
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