Sunday, September 5, 2010

Traditional Japanese Fishermen’s Dance

     For those of you who think that life in Reno consists mainly of gambling, it is time to introduce you to some of the fine arts in our community. Every year, the University of Nevada in Reno holds a Japanese Festival where native Japanese, Japanese-Americans, and we curious westerners gather for authentic food, Taiko drumming, detailed traditional costumes, and dancing.

     This year’s featured performance was of the traditional Japanese Fishermen’s dance called Sōran Bushi ( ソーラン節 ). It is said to have originated in the northern islands of Japan and imitates the movements of fishermen (fisherpersons?) as they gather in the catch. What you will see in the video is incredibly vibrant and athletic moves combined with an infectious, almost hard rock beat. It is probably a lot faster and more dynamic than the original Japanese folksong, but the audience loved it – and one doesn’t say that just because one’s daughter is one of the incredible dancers. All I know is if I started dancing the Sōran Bushi on a regular basis, I would be skinny as a rail… if I didn’t end up in traction first!