Sunday, October 9, 2011

Nihon Buyo Lessons!

After months of wanting to learn Nihon buyo 日本舞踊(traditional Japanese dance), I was lucky enough to find a teacher, the dancer at the taiko concert I recently attended. :) I'll be posting tips and basic steps here as I learn them myself, for those of you out there who are interested.

My first day was hard work and a lot of fun. I learned proper sitting, standing, entering a stage area, basic moves, and began learning a dance for "Ume ni mo haru" 梅にも春, a traditional New Year's/early spring song that starts with the promise of spring coming in the form of ume (plum) blossoms, which bloom in Japan in January/February.

Starting a Dance

For total beginners, here's how to properly sit, bow, and stand at the beginning of an entrance (at this point you are standing, feet together facing the audience).

1. Slide one foot slightly behind you.
2. Kneel so that your toes only are on the floor behind you. As you kneel the knee of the foot remaining in front will rise higher naturally than the other knee, which is normal. Just slide it back down into place so that both feet are even with each other and bent with only your toes on the floor.
3. Flatten your feet.
4. While this is going on, your left hand should be on your thigh and your right hand placing your fan in front of you parallel to your knees. Slide your right hand back onto your right thigh.
5. You are now seated. Slide both hands down along your legs to make a triangle on the floor, thumbs and index fingers touching. Keep your elbows tucked in, where your wrists are basically tucked just to the outside of your knees.
6. Bow, keeping your back and neck straight, eyes lowering with the movement of your head.
7. As you come back up, the left hand goes back up to the thigh, and pick up the fan with your right hand.
8. Slide the left foot forward slightly, bringing your left foot up back so that only your toes are touching the floor.
9. Bring your right foot back up on its toes too.
10. Stand, and then slide your right foot up so it's even next to your left.
11. Begin your dance!

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