It’s that time of year again…time for me to go on and on about how amazing Tamagawa Taiko and Dance Performances is! Yesterday, the drummers and dancers from Tamagawa University came and performed at Haverford College.
The performance at Haverford was one of three in a series titled the “Spring Japanese Music Festival” organized by Professor Hank Glassman and sponsored by the Department of East Asian Studies and the Kessinger Family Fund for Asian Performing Arts. Regrettably, I missed the second performance of the series, which featured Buddhist priests performing shomyo, a type of vocal music.
Although I’ve been to Tamagawa’s performance every year, I am still amazed every time by their incredible synchronization and raw energy. The entire performance was incredible, and I especially liked a few select pieces – “Kitsune-Odori”, “Zeni-Taiko”, and “Hyottoko”. In Kitsune-Odori, the dancers dressed as fox spirits and paraded up and down the stage while holding lanterns, creating a very surreal atmosphere. Zeni-Taiko is a dance that they performed last year – using sticks that contain coins, the performers beat out a rhythm while they dance. In Hyottoko, the drummers all wore silly masks and acted out a very funny skit. They even invited a little kid onstage to join them in their drumming! It was incredible improvisation, and they adapted their performance to incorporate his random drumbeats into a short piece.
I’m always very impressed at how the members of Tamagawa Taiko and Dance Performances choreograph many of their pieces. For example, “Kitsune-Odori”, “Tamayura”, and “Kunsa” were all composed by alumni of the tour. It’s also no wonder that the drummers and dancers are so good – although they only start practicing for the tour around one to two months beforehand, they practice from 9 AM to 8 PM, an incredible feat of dedication and endurance.
Tamagawa Taiko and Dance Performances will be performing today at the Painted Bride, tomorrow at Swarthmore College, and April 13th at the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. Check them out and like them on facebook here!