Megan (jehoshabeath) wrote,

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Bugaku (舞楽) is an ancient style of music and dance that is still performed in Japan today. It flourished during the Heian Era (AD 794 to 1185). This was the time of the court in Kyoto when arts, music, and literature were highly valued.The Tale of Genji was written during that time and poetry was also popular. Musical instruments were sometimes given names and there are legends about them. The court music is called Gagaku (雅楽) and it could be played alone or accompanying Bugaku dance.

I'm not an expert in this, but I was able to see a bugaku performance in Kyoto in the spring of 2005. It was beautiful. The dancers wear elaborate robes and dance with a great deal of care and respect. I stumbled on my journal entry about it and wanted to reflect a little bit here by saving some video links and notes. I'm grateful to the people who have video recorded bugaku dances so I can enjoy them again :)

Bugaku is a balanced, symmetrical dance. The dance floor is square and the dancers are often present in pairs or groups of four. These represent the stability of the created world and the 4 directions of north, south, east, and west. The movements are deliberate and often very gradual and calm. The music includes a lot of flutes and drum. There's definitely a slowness and stability to these performances.

There are two styles of Bugaku:

Left Dance (左舞) 唐楽 which was brought from China and is represented with red garments and decorations.

Right Dance (右舞) 高麗楽 which was brought from Korea and is represented with green garments and decorations.

My favorite is the Right Dance. It's very calm and refreshing :)
Tags: art, beauty, history, theatre, travel

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