Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reitaisai Annual Festival Dancing

I resist taking the Moose and Mule out in the evening- they get squirrelly and difficult to manage as the night progresses. Though I had committed to going to the Reitaisai annual festival at the 800 year old Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, I debated internally as to the sanity of my decision. The plan was to watch an evening dance presentation of Nihon Buyo. However, my doubts were short-lived with the thrill of being out in the evening, seeing the sensei and other classmates, and having the opportunity to take photos. We arrived early so the munsters ran up the steps to the shrine to say their prayers and then settled down to await the start. The Moose's classmate, Rui, and his classmate's mother, Kato-san, were to perform.

The event was fantastic. The music was recorded though I did wonder what it would have been like to see this dance with live music with its discordant vocals and the plucky Japanese instrumentation- eerie and yet moving even in a recording. My camera work does not do justice to the mood, music, color, and feel of the evening. It's in these moments that I forgive Japan for it's few faults- the crowds, the swarms, the small spaces for which too many of us have to fit. Here, the beauty of color and the painstaking dedication to movement and subtlety reign as well as the preservation of the cultural inheritance that roots modern life in Japan. See my Youtube videos of their performances at the bottom.

Kato san explained that the Japanese dance is called Nihon Buyo. Her performance is titled Yudachi "Rain Shower" which is based on a true story of a girl, a maid, dancing in the rain who falls in love with a man of higher status, the lord. Their relationship is prohibited, and she is sorrowful.
The Moose's first grade classmate performs on stage
Sensei and classmates awaiting the performance start- hear the drums?
Coming off stage- note the big smile!
His mother backstage awaiting her performance
A view of the stage at the base of Hachimangu
The finale performance