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Monday, June 6, 2011

Okinawan Performing Arts

I would like to inform you all about Okinawan performing arts today, as a preview of my upcoming lecture and demonstration program which will be held at the Queens Library this month.

There are six types of Okinawan performing arts:

1. Kumi Odori (組踊):Kumi Odori is a classical musical drama blending of music, dance and literature. Kumi Odori was designated an Important Intangible Cultural Asset by the Japanese government in 1972, and was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2009. Kumi Odori is performed mainly by the member of the Kumi Odori Association and the masters of the traditional dance schools.

2. Dance(舞踊): Classical dance performance goes back 14th century. There are three types of Okinawan dance  - Court dance (Classical dance), Popular dance and Modern dance. Okinawan classical dance and popular dance were designated an Important Intangible Cultural Asset by the Japanese government in 2009.

3. Folk Dance (民族舞踊):The source of all Okinawan dance, traditional folk dance dates back to the 600s. Folk dances evolved from the ceremonial arts used by priestesses to express appreciation to the gods in the spirit of prayer. Eisa dance (エイサー)is a part of the genre of folk dance.

4. Sanshin Music(三線音楽): There are two types of sanshin music - classical songs and folk songs.
Okinawan classical song was designated an Important Intangible Cultural Asset by the Japanese government in 2009.

5. Okinawan Plays (沖縄芝居): Okinawan plays date back to 1875, to the period of abolishing Ryukyu Han and establishing Okinawan prefecture.

6. Martial Arts(武道): Karate (空手・唐手)originated as a traditional martial arts in Okinawa. Other martial arts developed there include the use of Sai, Bo, Nunchaku, Kama and Tonfa, etc.,

My 90-minute program includes a classical dance, a popular dance, a modern dance, classical and folk Sanshin music. I start the program by singing a Ryukyuan-style poem which is similar in style to the Kumi Orodi, which also was sung by Priestesses as a prayer to the gods to welcome their guests and enjoy the performance.

Please join me.

Schedule of demonstrations and lectures at the Queens Library:

June 16th (1:30 pm - 3:00 pm) North Hills branch
57-04 Marathon Parkway, NY 11362

June 30 (6:00 pm - 7:30 pm) Windsor Park branch
79-50 Bell Boulevard, Bayside, NY 11364

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