Tori Mai [Traditional Kagura]
In Japanese mythology, Amaterasu no Omikami, the sun goddess hid in the cave of Amano Iwato and the world became dark without the sun light. Torimai is a rooster dance. The origin of the dance is to pray, welcome and celebrate the dawn so that the world will become lightened. It is also a prayer dance for harvest. It is usually performed by one or two dancers accompanied by a Taiko drum.
Ama no Uzume [Contemporary Fusion]
Uzume is a goddess of dance, joy and laughter. In Japanese mythology, in order to bring back Amaterasu, Ama no Uzume danced and entertain other gods in front of the cave. Amaterasu heard their laughter and she came out of the cave. This is an interpretation of Kohaku about Uzume's dance. It’s a fusion of two different cultures. Uzume dances Japanese prayer dance inspired by traditional Nho and contemporary dance inspired by Japanese and world fusion dance interpretations which is accompanied by Japanese flute and Taiko drum.
Photo by Katherine Govea Saunders
Ebisu Mai [Traditional Kagura]
Ebisu is one of the Seven Gods of Fortune, (Shichifukujin). He is the Japanese god of fishermen, luck, merchants and agriculture. His mai (dance) is believed to bring people happiness and good luck. This piece is like a story telling by gestures and dances accompanied by Taiko drumming. It is one of our fun and comical piece to make audience laugh.
Photo by Tomoko Matsushita
Nishimonai Bon Odori [Traditional Bon Dance]
This is a traditional Bon dance from Akita prefecture recognized as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property. The dance traces its origins back more than 700 years and it was a part of a harvest festival. Bon dance is a style of dance performed by people during Obon season when they participate in festivals and rituals to honor the spirits of ancestors. Nishimonai Bon Dance is famous for graceful movements of women's hands in the dance.
Filmed by Jeffrey Dym
Gion Kohuta [Traditional Geisha/Maiko Dance]
Traditional Japanese Nihon Buyo dance which often is performed by Geisha and Maiko in Kyoto. The dance describes the parts of a Geisha's life in four seasons, and highlights the beauty of Hurisode/the long sleeve Kimono. This piece can be accompanied with live Shamisen/traditional Japanese guitar.
Jangara Ritual Dance/Taiko [Traditional]
This is a traditional Taiko/dance piece from Fukushima prefecture which traces its origins back more than 350 years. It is a peaceful yet powerful Buddhism ritualistic piece It which usually danced around Bon season with unique bachi/mallets and portable drums. When Kohaku performs, Iroha Uta/song as added as a procession to Jangara with lanterns and create a visual beauty of Bon season.
Photo by Zach Phillips
Shima Sakura [Traditional Taiko Drumming]
This dynamic Taiko drumming is inspired by the Taiko style from the island of Hachijo Jima whih is part of Tokyo. This is one of the unusual Taiko piece since Taiko drum are often played by men traditionally. In the island the drums were mainly played among women as their entertainment.
Filmed by Jeffrey Dym
Okei-san and Wakamatsu Colony Farm [Storytelling] 30-45min.
This is a storytelling piece with traditional songs, dance and Taiko drumming. It is about a young Japanese girl called Okei Ito who was buried in Wakanatsu farm in El Dorado County almost 150 years ago. She was only 19 years old when she died. She was very first Japanese woman who was buried on American soil. She came from Aizu Wakamatsu province, now called Fukushima, Japan. This storytelling is a perfect piece for cultural and historical education program.
Okame and Hyottoko
[Contemporary - inspired by traditional Kagura ]
This piece is a comedy skit played by a legendary comical couple named Okame(charactor of wife) and Hyottoko (charactor husband) in traditional Kagura with audience participation. They play traditional instruments and dance together to make audience laugh. In Kagura it is belied that they bring people good luck and prosperity.