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Japanese traditional dance

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Japanese traditional dance has a long history, the oldest known ones may be among those transmitted through the kagura tradition, or folk dances relating to food producing activities such as planting rice dengaku and fishing, including rain dances1 There are large number of these traditional dances, which are often subfixed -odori, -asobi, and -mai, and may be specific to a region or village1 Mai and Odori are the two main groups of Japanese dances, and the term Buyō 舞踊 was coined in modern times as a general term for "dance", by combining mai 舞, which can also be pronounced bu and odori 踊, can also be pronounced yō2

Mai is a more reserved genre of dance that often has circling movements, and dances of the Noh theatre are of this tradition2 A variation of the Mai style of Japanese dance is the Kyomai or Kyoto-style dance Kyomai developed in the 17th century Tokugawa cultural period It is heavily influenced by the elegance and sophistication of the manners often associated with the Imperial Court in Kyotocitation needed Odori has more vigorous stepping movements and is more energetic, and dances of the kabuki theatre belong to this category2

Contents

  • 1 Traditional Japanese dance
    • 11 Kabuki
    • 12 Noh Mai
    • 13 Bon Odori
    • 14 Nihon Buyō
  • 2 See also
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links

Traditional Japanese danceedit

There are several types of traditional Japanese dance

Kabukiedit

Main article: Kabuki Play media Japanese Traditional Dance

Kabuki 歌舞伎 is a classical Japanese dance-drama Kabuki theatre is known for the stylization of its drama and for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers

The individual kanji characters, from left to right, mean sing 歌, dance 舞, and skill 伎 Kabuki is therefore sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing" These are, however, ateji characters which do not reflect actual etymology The kanji of 'skill' generally refers to a performer in kabuki theatre Since the word kabuki is believed to derive from the verb kabuku, meaning "to lean" or "to be out of the ordinary", kabuki can be interpreted as "avant-garde" or "bizarre" theatre3 The expression kabukimono 歌舞伎者 referred originally to those who were bizarrely dressed and swaggered on a street

The history of kabuki began in 1603, when Izumo no Okuni, possibly a miko of Izumo Taisha, began performing a new style of dance drama in the dry riverbeds of Kyoto, and they were then called "strange" or "unusual" Kabuki3 This new form of dance drama is thought to have been derived from folk-dances performed only by women, Furyū-ō Odori and Nembu Odori3 Kabuki became a common form of entertainment in the ukiyo, or Yoshiwara, the registered red-light district in Edo During the Genroku era, kabuki thrived The structure of a kabuki play was formalized during this period, as were many elements of style Conventional character types were established

Noh Maiedit

Main article: Noh

The origin of the Noh Mai can be traced back to as far as the thirteenth century45 Noh Mai is a dance that is done to music that is made by flutes and small hand drums At some points they dance to vocal and percussion music, these points are called kuse or kiri Noh Mai dances are put together by a series of forms4 Forms are patterns of body movements that are done elegantly and with beauty

There are several types of Noh Mai dances A type that is neither slow nor fast is called Chu No Mai A female usually performs this type of dance A slower type of dance is the Jo No Mai A female does this dance as well and can dress up as either a ghost of a noble woman, a spirit or deity A male’s dance is Otoko Mai The performer does not wear a mask in this dance and is portraying the character as being heroic Another male dance is Kami Mai, where the dancer acts as though he is a deity This is a very fast dance The female version of this would be Kagura and can be performed in various ways Gaku is a dance that is imitates music played by the imperial court and is usually done by the main character These six types make up the Noh Mai dance and help give the dance its beauty

Costumes are a huge part of Noh Mai Sometimes a dance or play may start out very slowly, so the actors create very flamboyant costumes to keep the audience interested They also dress to fit the region in which they represent, such as a bamboo hat worn during a play would represent country life The most important part of the costume is the mask The Noh Mai masks are thought to be the most artistic masks in Japan The masks are only worn by the main characters6 Also, the masks have neutral expressions so it is the job of the actor to bring the character to life7

Bon Odoriedit

Main article: Bon Festival § Bon Odori

Bon Odori is a dance performed during the Obon Festival Obon8910 It was originally a dance to welcome the spirits of the dead These dances and the music that accompanies them are different for every region of Japan Usually, the bon dance involves people dancing around a yagura, a high wooden scaffold The people move either counter clockwise or clockwise, away and towards the yagura Sometimes they switch direction

The movements and gestures in a bon dance often depict the history, work or geography of the region11 For example, Tankō Bushi is a coal mining work song that originates from Miike Mine in Kyushu, and the movements in the dance depict digging, cart pushing and lantern hanging Soran Bushi12 is a sea shanty, and the movements in the dance depict net dragging and luggage hoisting Bon dances may employ the use of different utensils, such as fans, small towels and wooden hand clappers For the Hanagasa Odori,13 the dancers use straw hats with flowers on them

Nihon Buyōedit

Main article: Buyō

Nihon Buyō is different from most other traditional dances14 It is intended for entertainment on stage Nihon Buyō is a refined dance that has been improved throughout four centuries14 There are four parts to Nihon Buyō, the most significant part being Kabuki Buyō14 Nihon Buyō was created directly from Kabuki Buyō before it became theater The second part of Nihon Buyō is Noh14 Nihon Buyō takes a few key elements from Noh such as the circular movements and the tools used in its dances The third part of these dances comes from the folk dances; the spinning and jumping used in folk dances was incorporated into Nihon Buyō The last part came from a mixture of European and American culture that is found in Japan today14 Today, with the combination of these dances we have Nihon Buyō, a refined dance that has become an art form made for entertainment on stageneutrality is disputed

The sparrow dance 雀踊り, suzume odori is a dance based upon the fluttering movements of the Eurasian tree sparrow15 It was first performed, improvised, by stonemasons who were constructing Sendai Castle for the daimyō Date Masamune The emblem of the Date clan incorporates two tree sparrows The sparrow dance is now performed yearly in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture at the Aoba festival in mid-May15 School children in Miyagi prefecture learn and perform the sparrow dance, especially during the Obon Festival

See alsoedit

  • Contemporary dance in Japan
  • Parasol dance
  • Sword dance

Referencesedit

  1. ^ a b Frederic, Louis 6 May 2005 Japan Encyclopedia new ed Harvard University Press p 147 ISBN 978-0674017535 
  2. ^ a b c Oshima, Mark 29 June 2009 Sandra Buckley, ed The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Japanese Culture Routledge p 75 ISBN 978-0415481526 
  3. ^ a b c Frederic, Louis 6 May 2005 Japan Encyclopedia new ed Harvard University Press pp 441–442 ISBN 978-0674017535 
  4. ^ a b Introducing the world of Noh : Noh Dance The-nohcom Retrieved on 2012-03-13
  5. ^ Noh Dancing Don Herbison-Evans 2009-05-07 archived at the Wayback Machine, 2009-07-02
  6. ^ Ishii, 1994, pg 43
  7. ^ Pitt Rivers Museum
  8. ^ Bon Odori – Japanese Traditional Dance Japan-101com 2007-01-27 Retrieved on 2012-03-13 Archived December 7, 2003, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Invitation to Bon Dancing Bonodorinet Retrieved on 2012-03-13
  10. ^ 2012 Japanese Obon Festival & Bon Odori Schedule Japanese-Citycom 2012-02-29 Retrieved on 2012-03-13
  11. ^ The Framework of Bon Dancing10 Bonodorinet 2002-08-31 Retrieved on 2012-03-13
  12. ^ Mawaca – Soran Bushi Lyrics Lyricstimecom Retrieved on 2012-03-13
  13. ^ Hanagasa Odori Flower Hat Dance Ikechangcom Retrieved on 2012-03-13
  14. ^ a b c d e The Japanese Classical Dance Association Inc|What is nihon buyo Nihonbuyouorjp Retrieved on 2012-03-13 Archived July 7, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  15. ^ a b Sendai Suzume Odori Sendai Sparrow Dance Aoba-matsuricom Retrieved on 2012-03-13

External linksedit

  • Japanese Music and Dance
  • Video: Example of Traditional Japanese Dance, Nihonbuyo

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