Salpuri derives from shamanic ceremonies aimed at spiritual cleansing. The word salpuri means relieving a murderous evil spirit, and the dance originally was meant to appease evil spirits. Today, however, salp'uri is almost exclusively performed for artistic purposes and is considered one of Korea's most creative traditional dance forms.
With a long white scarf, her white hanbok and a graceful turn of her white-clad ankle, the dancer bobs and turns, creating a thousand fluid lines. The dance expresses the beauty and sadness of human emotion in relationships and separation.
The accompaniment is played by numerous instruments including a kayagum, a long twelve-stringed zither, a bamboo oboe, a long bowed zither and an hourglass drum. At first, the music is slow and plaintive. Then the pace gradually quickens, the emotion builds, only to come to a quiet and thoughtful end.