Students of Momo Suzuki , Lotus' Drums Along the Hudson 2005, Inwood Hill Park, NYC
Japanese Folk Dance evolved out of the daily lives of people in their local communities. The dancers use various props, handed down from generation to generation, like colorful umbrellas and fans. Early dances had as their origin the expressing of a need; the purpose of the dance was to revere a God or spirit, celebrate a good harvest, pray for a good catch, or exorcise evil spirits. Iyomanzai is performed as a New Year's celebration, hoping that the gods will grant a peaceful year. Each performer dances with five fans. When the fans are open, the audience sees the shape of a treasure ship sailing, the outline of a bird of paradise and, finally, a pine tree -- all of which symbolize a long and happy life. Ayakomai, a 500 year old dance, offers prayer and gratitude to the gods. In Sakura, which means Cherry Blossoms, a woman enjoys the arrival of Spring, and revels in the blue sky and the fragrance of the blooming cherry blossoms.
Instructor: Momo Suzuki