2022 / Five selected buyo performances are online video by Nihon Buyo Kai of California, Nov. 13-19

“Kyou Kanoko Musume Doujouji” performed by Wakayagi Hisame in 2005.

The Nihon Buyo Kai of California, a nonprofit charitable organization whose mission is to promote, preserve, and present Japanese classical dance, is pleased to present
“Virtual Autumn Japanese Classical Dance” on its website from Sunday, November 13 to Saturday, Nov. 19. This 70-minute program can be viewed free of charge at https://nihonbuyokai.org/virtual-dance-program-autumn-2022/ and includes short English and Japanese narrations.

Five Japanese classical dance instructors from the Southern California area will be featured in this recording of past performances.

Bando Hiromiya is featured in “Take,” a dance that comprises one of three dances in the classical composition, “Shouchikubai,” which is performed for auspicious occasions.  This performance was at a New Year celebration in 2015 at the Aratani Theatre.  The “take,” or “bamboo,” is symbolic of resiliency and flexibility, and it is reflected in the dance movements and in her kimono and obi.  The complete dance of “Shouchikubai” includes two other compositions featuring dancers representing “ume,” or plum blossom, which is the harbinger of spring and symbolic of hope, and the “matsu,” or pine tree, representing long life and good fortune.

“Nagare,” a dynamic dance choreographed by the Soke (Grandmaster) of the Azuma School in Japan, is about the grace and power of ocean currents and features Azuma Kikusue and Azuma Anjyu in a performance at the Downey Theater in 2010.

“Kane No Misaki” was performed by Bando Hidesomi in 2000 at the Aratani Theatre.  The music is an excerpt from the longer version of the classic “Kyou Kanoko Musume Doujouji,” about the forbidden love of a young princess who falls in love with a temple priest.

Performed by Majikina Aiko, “Hanafu” is a Ryukyu buyo (Okinawa) dance expressing  introspective emotions.  A high-class courtesan secretly stands on a hilltop and observes her lover sailing off as she waves her red towel and uses the umbrella to shield her tears. Because the dancer conveys such deep emotions, this dance is typically performed solo and has a slow tempo.

The last dance is called “Kyou Kanoko Musume Doujouji” and was performed by Wakayagi Hisame in 2005.  It, too, conveys deep emotions—of love, bitterness, and anger— feelings of a princess who bears forbidden love for a priest, and is considered one of the classics of Japanese traditional dance.  In this number, a dancer attends a temple festival to perform in order to offer good tidings to all.  Using many props such as a fan, a special umbrella, a (dance) towel, and a small drum, it demands the skill of the dancer who has several backstage costume changes as well as a “hikinuki,” or quick onstage costume change facilitated by a skillful stage assistant.

Previous presentations by Nihon Buyo Kai of California have been in-person and live dance programs and have also included professional wig masters from Japan who demonstrated the styling of dance wigs; a “koken” guest artist presentation on stage techniques and assistance provided to dancers; and a guest artist shamisen master whose program included traditional instruments accompanying Japanese dancers.  This is the third virtual program enabling audiences to enjoy Nihon buyo during the pandemic.  Please visit the website, https://nihonbuyokai.org, to view past presentations and learn more about Nihon Buyo Kai, which welcomes your membership and donations to further its mission.