Kumiodori performers to go on European tour to France, Germany and Italy

<em>Kumiodori</em> performers to go on European tour to France, Germany and Italy

On September 27, ahead of the Kumiodori European Tour performers practice for Nidou tekiuchi at the National Theatre Okinawa in Urasoe City.

October 2, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

The Okinawa Prefectural Performing Arts Association or Okigeiren (Chaired by Choichi Terukina), is planning to go on a tour from late October to early November that includes Paris in France, Cologne in Germany, and Rome in Italy. Termed the “Ryukyu Traditional Arts Performances Three European Countries Tour,” it will feature performances of kumiodori or traditional Okinawan musical and classical music. With kumiodori being designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the association is now hoping to introduce the outside world to the fabulous appeal of kumiodori during the European tour.

Five performances are scheduled on tour, including October 28 and 29 in Paris, October 31 in Cologne, and November 2 in Rome. In 2009 Shinjin Kise, a Japanese Cultural Ambassador appointed by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, demonstrated the splendor of Okinawan classical music overseas. His activities served to open the door for Okigeiren to plan the European tour with funding by Agency for Cultural Affairs.

During the tour, experienced dancers designated as important intangible cultural assets will be assisted by younger performers to present the kumiodori play Nidou tekiuchi (trans: Revenge for two children). It includes the grief-stricken separation of the mother and her children, followed by a tense scene of revenge. Choichi Terukina, a national human treasure of classical music, will sing the accompaniment as he plays his sanshin.

The ryubu or Okinawan dance performance program includes the likes of Kagiyadefu bushi, Inimazun, Wakashu kuteibushi and Hatumabushi. Setsuko Tamagusuku, the chairwoman of the Ryubu Hozonkai (Association for the Preservation of Okinawa Classical Dance) is down to perform the Kasekake. Terukina and Kise will also give solo performances.

Terukina, who is the principal of the troupe said, “The kumiodori overseas performance represents a unique opportunity for us. The audience doesn’t understand the language used so we will be happy if they just feel something good through our performance.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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