This time, I met an expert in Awa dance near Manchester!
So, what’s Awa dance?
Awa dance is one of the most popular and well-known Bon dances in Japan.Bon dance is a style of dancing performed during what we call Obon. Obon is usually in mid-August, and it is believed that the spirits of the dead will return to visit the family during this time. Bon dance is performed during or at the end of the Obon period. Originally performed to welcome the spirits of the dead, the style of dance varies greatly from region to region. Each region has a local dance, as well as different music. Awa dance is from Tokushima prefecture in Shikoku.
The typical Bon dance involves people standing in a circle around a high wooden scaffold made especially for the festival, called a yagura. The yagura is usually the bandstand for the musicians and singers of the Obon music. But in Awa dance, dancers simply march through the streets of a town. Typically, these marches involve thousands of people, which makes quite a spectacle.
Awa dance has both female version and male version. Our guest today, Alan, will of course show us the male version. The lady dancing with him is Sae, whose mother is Japanese. Please take a look at the video!
This occasion was “Bonenkai”, a forget-a-year party in Japan, equivalent to a Christmas party in the UK.
We also held a workshop. First, everybody was being shy, but I explained the famous Awa dance lyrics that goes:
踊る阿呆に The dancers are fools
見る阿呆 The watchers are fools
同じ阿呆なら If Both are fools alike
踊らな損、損 Might as well dance!
This, as I hoped, encouraged many people to get up and dance, so we had a wonderful time, as you can see in the video.
I wish you all a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!