Japanese Dance Two main types of dancing are Mai and Odori. Mai is affiliated with Noh. Odori is related to Kabuki.Odori is more popular at present. Kabuki falls under various types of folk dance. This became popular in the fifteenth or sixteenth century. The dancers use their own dramatic forms of expression through postures also gestures. Touching base with the spiritual side and the beauty of nature. The dancers will use their hands to form the shape of a mountain.
Many years ago all Japanese dancers were men. Woman were prohibited. And as time passed up until the present. Kabuki dancing is very popular among Geisha. Today more Japanese women practice and are very involved with dancing.
Geisha Meaning artist. The more commonly terms used are Geiko (Woman of Art) and Maiko (Woman of Dance).
Each Geisha is a beautiful flower in her own way (Karyukai-Flower and Willow Tree) and is gracious,flexible also strong as a Willow Tree. The most famous dance is the Miyako Odori (Cherry Dances) Hair styles change five times to represent the steps she has taken in becoming a Geiko. To a dancer her Dancing Fan and Kimono are very sacred. Once they tear or get soiled they are no longer perfect nor beautiful to use. Each Kimono are one of a kind. Geisha are rare today, but were considered a female on a higher sophisticated level,(also considered a world of bad girls) entertaining men of a high position and status. To a dancer it was an expressing love. Every gesture with the hand, a tiny tilt of the neck and face, also a slow wave of the fan covering the face, just exposing the eyes were emotions. If one looks very close into the Geisha eyes. They will see a fire and passion.
From ancient beliefs "Red" is the most important color. And is used in the dress, also makeup. Red is the color of beauty and happiness. Wearing red underneath is believed to keep the female reproductive organs healthy and functioning. Also they believe Red stops menstrual pain.
The "Silent Pilgrimage" takes place during the Gion Festival beginning at the end of June, until mid July. Only a very few know about this Silent Pilgrimage. It is a spiritual ritual that one just simply cannot join in with others to do. If one decides to do this, then they must do it all alone and in private. To have the spirits hear your prayers and answer them (where they come true). You have to repeat this for three years and you cannot tell anyone else. That's the power of this prayer! Stay silent, keep your eyes lowered. Don't make contact with anyone and stay completely focused on your prayer , also what is hidden in your heart. That is the reason for this pilgrimage.
Korean Dance The Nun's Dance (Sungmu) performed by a female. And known as "The Monks Dance", performed by a male. It is a spiritual unity between heaven and earth. Revealing inner emotions such as joy, sorrow, hopes, frustration, agony and pleasure. An introduction of Buddhism in Korea. Movements are delicate and restrained, but very powerful. The female is expressing inner conflicts between a nun, who has abandoned her faith and beliefs. And of a beautiful woman, who wants the world to know she has rejected and disowned her past.
When the dancer begins the performance. They are becoming "one with the earth". And when they throw up their long sleeves, it is a connection to the spirits and heaven. Chanting and scriptures incorporate music. It is an important part of rituals in the temple. The Monks needed special training for this.
The dancer is seated on the stage with the face and torso bent deep, close to the floor. They begin moving slowly and mysteriously with the shoulders. Then a strong and solemn gesture follows. Their face is tilted upward, turning the torso to the left, then to the right. Now the dancer stands up, and throws up the long sleeves of the white silk gown, making a huge circle in the air with their arms. The face, half hidden in the white cap of a nun, bearing a small pathetic facial expression. (Considered being erotic by some viewers)
Court Dances: Two are still performed today and are considered distinctive, due to the dancers wearing masks.
The Crane Dance (Hakch'um) For the Korean culture, they believe this is the symbol of longevity. Two dancers perform and wear authentic crane costumes that extend over the head to form a headdress. Their torso, arms and head are showing. Pantomimic movements are used.
Ch'oyong Dance (Ch'oyongmu) A spiritual ritual to specifically get rid of evil gods in the New Year. Five dancers are used, and this is usually done out doors. Each dancer represents the directions north, south, east, west and center.
Buddhist Dance: Four dances are still performed today. Originally by the monks. Mostly done at the Pongwon Temple in Seoul on religious occasions. At times performed at other temples and for events.
The Butterfly Dance (Nabich'um) This spreads Buddha's will in all directions. Either solo or duet, the dancers wear white cloaks with extremely long sleeves. They move slowly, bending then extending their knees, raising their arms gently in slow motion, and sweeping them forward and back like a butterfly.
The Cymbal Dance (Parach'um). Also used to spread the word of Buddha. Four dancers are used. Each plays a large pair of cymbals, turning in various directions, bending then extending the knees, lifting arms overhead.
The Monks Drum Dance (Popkochum) A solo dancer is used. He plays a drum mounted on tall wooden frames.
Dance of the Eightfold Path (Taju) Two dancers perform. An octagonal box with inscriptions on each side is put onto the floor between the dancers. They hold a long, thin stick, gently tapping the top of the box, moving around it. Each inscription has a special message. Leading one onto the path of the eightfold way to Buddha