Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Fujima Benkyo Kai: An Evening of Japanese Dance

This post was originally written for another social media platform on August 23, 2011 and I thought it would be worth sharing here.

On August 23rd, I attended Fujima Benkyo Kai: An Evening of Japanese Dance at Benaroya Hall.  The local branch of Fujima School of Dance teaches the Fujima-style of nihon buyo (classical Japanese dance) where Kabuki Academy teaches Hanayagi-style.  The evening began with a quick introduction to the Fujima school from its first appearance at the start of the Meiji Restoration when the shogun's rule had ended, as well as the unique parted katsura worn by many of the performers.  Unlike most katsura (wigs) shimada (hairstyles), it is parted down the middle, front to back, and lies close to the head on top and in back, though the bin (hair at the sides) is still full.  This hairstyle became popular for both male and female performers because it fit under stage katsura.  Apparently, the Fujima school has kept the tradition alive.

The evening was filled with a wide variety of dances including the more formal Matsu no Okina (a minimalist Su odori with roots in Noh), Jongara (a lively dance), a  Tsugaru Shamisen performance, a Kyogen version of Renjishi (a lion and its cub), and the comedic Kyogen play, Tsuri Onna (Fishing for a Wife).

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