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Korean traditional dance master Lee Mae-bang passes away

Korean traditional dance master Lee Mae-bang passes away

Posted August. 08, 2015 07:21,   


Korea’s traditional dance master Lee Mae-bang (Lee Gyu-tae in real name) died at the age of 88 on Friday.

Born in Mokpo of South Jeolla Province in 1927, Lee started learning Korea’s traditional dances at a school for female entertainers when he was seven years old on the recommendation of the head of Korean geisha’s association in Mokpo. In the 1900s, Lee learned seungmu (a monk’s dance), geommu (a sword dance) and salpurichum (a dance to ward off bad luck) from Lee Chang-jo, Lee Dae-jo and Park Young-gu who established Korean traditional dance. At the age of fifteen, Lee danced seungmu during the performance of Korean traditional song master Im Bang-ul, starting to become famous. Lee established his career in the Korean traditional dance over the past 80 years.

Lee performed representing Korea in the World Fork Art Festival held in Rennes, France in 1978. He promoted the beauty of Korean traditional dance around the world by performing dance in Japan and the U.S. in 1986.

After diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2007, Lee performed seungmu and salpurichum on the stage in 2009 and 2010 when he was over 80. The Korean traditional dance master’s last dance was performed with Kim Baek-bong, a master of the Korean fan dance, in 2012. Korean traditional dancer Baek Gyeong-woo, Lee’s apprentice who stayed by Lee’s deathbed, mourned his death and said, “Lee showed how to perform ipchum at a private recital where his apprentices gathered. As such, he was full of power with strong commitment for Korean traditional dance.”