Sunday, November 8, 2009

October means Matsuri. Matsuri means Kagura. Part 8

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The eighth matsuri we visited in our October Matsuri marathon was our own village's matsuri. The shrine was packed when we arrived, and stayed packed all night. A large chunk of the audience was composed of young people, especially young women. It seems the Tanijyugo group has grown in popularity and now has many fans from outside the village.

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The kids did a great version of Jinrin, and showed the same dedication and professionalism as the rest of the group.

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In the Kurozuka dance the leader of the group played the priest. Buddhist priests appear in many of the dances, though nowadays kagura is classified as "shinto", historically it has a lot of buddhist influence, not just in the stories, but in the mandalas that compose much of the dance movements.

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The evil kitsune appears first in the form of a beautiful maiden. All the female parts in kagura are played by males, but the hands often give away the gender of the dancer.



At one point the hapless priests assistant climbs up into the tengai and the fox follows and they fight suspended above the floor. This is unique to Tanijyugo group, and a specially strenghtened tengai held up by chains is used.

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3 a.m. and the orchestra shows signs of flagging :)

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This was the first time I saw our group perform Yasogami, with Okuninushi's 80 brothers represented by 2 fools.



In this part of the dance Okuninushi and his brothers perform a dance that is normally done using swords and when done properly is quite exciting and complex. here though the bumbling brothers make a mess of it.

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