/boo gah"koo/, n.
a classical Japanese dance of Chinese origin, originally designed as entertainment for the imperial palace: performed exclusively by men, who serve as both dancers and musicians.
[ < Japn < MChin, equiv. to Chin wu dance + yuè music; cf. GAGAKU]

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Repertoire of stylized dances of the Japanese imperial court, derived from the traditional dance forms of China, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia.

The dances are divided into two basic forms: "dances of the left" (saho no mai), accompanied by music derived from China, with dancers wearing red costumes; and "dances of the right" (uho samai no mai), accompanied by music introduced from Korea, with dancers wearing costumes of blue or green. The dancers wear elaborate masks of painted wood to portray fictional characters.

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▪ Japanese dance
      repertoire of dances of the Japanese Imperial court, derived from traditional dance forms imported from China, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia. The dances comprise two basic forms: sahō no mai (“dances of the left”), accompanied by tōgaku (music derived mainly from Chinese forms); and uhō samai no mai (“dances of the right”), accompanied primarily by komagaku (music introduced from Korea). The two forms are also differentiated by the colour of the dancers' richly embroidered costumes; sahō no mai costumes tend to be red, and uhō no mai to be blue or green.

      Bugaku are of four genres: civil dances (also called even, or level, dances), warrior dances, running dances, and dances for children. All bugaku consist of highly conventionalized movements cued by the beat of a drum. Positions of arms, hands, and feet are highly stylized, and overall choreography consists of simple geometric patterns. An important element is the masks worn by the dancers (see ) . Bugaku masks sometimes have movable parts and have attenuated features intended to convey the characters of the fictional persons whom they represent. The masks called the “Twelve Deities” (1486; Tō Temple, Kyōto), carved by Buddhist sculptors, are among the oldest and best-known examples. A bugaku program usually begins with a selection performed by the head dancers of the two forms, followed by alternate dances from both repertoires.

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Universalium. 2010.

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