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Ryukyuan Performing Art
Ryukyuan Performing Art
Planned by Michio Mamiya
December 12 (Sun), 1999
Concert Hall ATM
In classical Japanese dance, rich expressions are made through the motions of the hands, shoulders, eyes, hips, and other parts of the body. Just like words, they carry significance and represent emotions. In contrast, I feel that classical Ryukyuan dance -- with its severe and quiet motions -- expresses the heart in a much more abstract way. In particular, what strikes me the most is the deep expressions related by the fingertips and the back.
I get the feeling that they are expressions of the sadness that has been borne by the Ryukyuan people throughout their history.
In World War II, Okinawa became the scene of a hard-fought, bloody land battle. Nowadays, it is forced to put up with more U.S. bases than the rest of the country, along with their associated problems. The meaning of Okinawa is something that all Japanese will have to concern themselves with seriously. That's why I think it is necessary for us to appreciate the true picture of Ryukyuan culture. But that doesn't mean simply just watching any kind of Ryukyuan public performance. Shortly before Okinawa was returned to Japan in 1972, I had my first chance to watch Ryukyuan dance, and cannot forget how wonderful it was. I'd love to see it again, and want all of you to see it, too.
The tonalities of Ryukyuan music resemble those of gamelan music in Java far to the south. Not only that, but the Ryukyu Islands boast a history quite different from that of the Japanese mainland: it had a king whereas the rest of Japan had an emperor; it carried on cultural exchanges with China and Southeast Asia in a different way than the mainland; and it still maintains its original culture. In the same way that Greek civilization has a particular meaning for the rest of Europe, the idea of "Ryukyu" perhaps stands for something more than merely just being another region of Japan.
Moreover, its culture is alive and well today. That's what comes to my mind whenever I watch Ryukyuan dance, with its primitive beauty combined with a brilliant sophistication, and listen to the expressive melodies.
The Charm of Ryukyuan Art
The Ryukyu kingdom, founded in 1429, maintained external relations with China, the Japanese mainland, Korea, and the countries of Southeast Asia. At the same time, it flourished on account of frequent trade with those nations. By the beginning of the 18th century, it welcomed ambassadors from China -- with which it stood in a tributary relationship as a vassal state -- at the Shuri Castle in Naha with grand performances of the Okansen-odori ("crown boat dances"), which was a form of entertainment developed expressly for that purpose. Classical Ryukyuan dance refers to this Okansen-odori, and is broken down into the four categories of the Rojin-odori ("old persons' dance"), the Wakashu-odori ("young persons' dance"), the Nisai-dori ("two-year-olds' dance") , the Ha-odori (for women) and the Kumi-odori (for dramatic performances).
Rojin-odori is meant to be performed at celebratory feasts and the opening curtain of public performances, and is danced and sung to the words of congratulatory songs. Wakashu-odori, meanwhile, is danced in the red, drape-sleeved, lined kimono worn by the aristocracy before donning the clothes worn for the coming-of-age ceremony. The Nisai-odori is a lively, animated dance by young men upon donning their coming-of-age clothes. The women's Ha-odori is not only splendid but quite an elegant dance, and can be characterized as the typical classical dance. On the other hand, the Kumi-odori is a dramatic form intended mainly to convey the central meaning of the words through song and dance.
The performance this time will feature a work, Shushin-kaneiri, by the founder of the Kumi-odori, Tamagusuku-chokun. As it shares the same plot as the "Doseiji-mono" story seen in Kabuki and elsewhere on the Japanese mainland, it can be termed as the Ryukyuan version of "Doseiji." Also to be performed is the Zo-odori, which was created by the dancers of the Okansen-dori, who took that dance from the court to the streets when they lost their stipends after the Ryukyu kingdom became Okinawa prefecture early in the Meiji Period (around 1870). Compared with the atmosphere of the traditional classical dance, it has incorporated many elements of popular song and dance. The energy of the masses has been newly poured into of both the dance postures and the clothing, rooting it firmly as a public performance style of the common people.
We are eager to have you appreciate these various forms of Okinawan performances.
(Head, Cultural Section, Educational Department, Okinawa Prefecture)
Noho Miyagi (master, Noho Division, Miyagi School)
1953 Studied Kumi-odori and Ryukyuan dance under the master, Genzo Tamagusuku.
1962 Entered the Miyagi Nozo Research Institute of Ryukyu Dance.
1970 Established the Miyagi School, and assumed the accredited mastership of Miyagi Noho.
1986 Recognized as a National Important Cultural Asset as a dancer of Kumi-odori.
1990 Became professor in the Music Department of Okinawa Prefectural University of the Arts, and still holds that position.
1991 Established Noho Division of the Miyagi School, and became master.
1997 Recognized as Okinawa Prefectural Cultural Asset as a dancer of traditional Okinawan dances.
Besides Japan, Noho Miyagi has given performances worldwide in such places as Los Angeles, Hawaii, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
|Категория: Танцы Рюкю / Ruykyu dance / 琉球舞踊 | Добавил: Tiana (20 Октября 2011)
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