Jakub Kindl Jersey  Darius Slayton Womens Jersey  Nihon Buyo Development and Attributes of Japanese Classical Dance | PAH

Nihon Buyo Development and Attributes of Japanese Classical Dance

Classical Japanese dance, what we refer to today as Nihon buyo, has a rich historical background. Known for its refined movements, its emotional expression, and its symbolic gestures, Nihon buyo developed out of the various dance traditions present in Japan. The beginnings of Japanese dance have their roots in ancient mythology. It is said that many thousands of years ago, Amaterasu-Omikami, the goddess of the sun, became horrified with the violence and greediness on the earth and so hid herself in a rock cave. An eternal darkness followed, and all activities had to be gone about in the night or with artificial lights. The other gods were annoyed with this situation, so they schemed to get Amaterasu-Omikami back. Thus, a council of gods gathered outside her cave and performed a religious dance and celebration. Amaterasu-Omikami was intrigued by the sounds of joy coming from a world all in darkness, so she opened the cave door a slight bit in order to peek out. As she did so, some of her light spilled out into the world. The gods present at the dance were then able to coax her out of the cave to take her place within the celebration. At this moment, the first Japanese dance took place.
From these deified mythological origins stem all forms of dance in Japan: folk dance, spiritual dance, dances of aristocratic entertainment, and dances for enjoyment of the masses. And from these various styles, classical Japanese dance draws its inspiration. One of the original forms of dance in Japan is Kagura, defined as “music in the presence of gods” and a direct descendent from the mythological cave dance. Kagura is the oldest dance form in Japan and is sometimes a dramatization of historical events. It can be seen in Shinto and Buddhist shrines or performed in ceremonies for the coronation of a new emperor. On special occasions in the Imperial Sanctuary, Mikagurareferring to the original mythological cave danceis also performed.
At its spiritual and cultural core, Japan has a deep foundation in nature. The country’s origins rest in farming, and it is a land surrounded by mountains, ocean, rocks, and forests. Shintoism was the original religion of the country, and from the agrarian culture and the veneration of nature spirits, dances evolved and formalized at festivals honoring the deities who brought in the seasons. These dances can also be classified as Kagura. As these folk dances developed, they were performed by mikoyoung women chosen from the local Shinto shrine. It was believed that as the miko danced, the Shinto god they were performing for would become manifest within their dancecalled the miko-mai. The dancer would then become possessed and speak through many eccentric movements, as if she was “speaking in tongues” with her body.
During the Nara and Heian periods in Japanese history, Confucianism and Buddhism spread more widely throughout the country. As these religions converged with the older Shintoism and the culture went through slight changes, the fundamentals of Kagura dance were maintained and incorporated into the newer religious doctrines. Thus, the spiritual aspect of Japanese dance was never suppressed or lost. At the beginning of the 6th Century, a government bureau was organized, called the Gagku-Ryo, which supervised and regulated all dance and music in Japan. Throughout the Heian period, artists like dancers and musicians “collected, classified, and Japanized” the dances and music that came imported from India, Korea, and China until they developed into the styles which prevailed and are preserved by the Imperial Court today.
Some Japanese folk dancesarising largely out of rice planting and field entertainmentnever were incorporated fully into religious ceremonies. These were village dances, such as harvest festival dances, catch-fish dances, lion-mask dances, and Bon dances for the festival of the dead. Called Dengaku, the more popular folk dances were also preserved in the cultural of the people. With time, the dances of Dengaku and Kagura coupled together to become what is now recognized as Noh theater.
The transition from dance as merely an output of folk ritual into the more formalized and structured Noh marked the change in dance setting in Japanfrom religious ceremony to paying audience. As part of this formalization process, Noh retained the movements symbolic of a dancer being possessed by a god or demon, but the dances and movements also came to be better known for their illustration of dramatic plots and literature. During this outgrowth, Noh developed as an art form into a style of theatrical play. These productions usually combined dance, music, and movement to tell the story of a deity or ancestor descending to the earth.
At the beginning of the 17th Century, the nature of Japanese dance changed again, making its greatest step in the direction of becoming classical dance as we know it today. Outside the Shinto shrine of Izumo lived a young miko named Okuni. She was sent to Kyoto to perform songs and dances as a means of soliciting donations for the shrine. Okuni was known for her performance talent, her beauty, and the sensuality she incorporated into her work. She drew large crowds in her audience, and after awhile she was commanded to return back to her shrine. She ignored the call and continued dancing.
At this point, Okuni set up a performance space in the rocks of a dry riverbed outside Kyoto. She organized a group of young kabukimono together to work with. These were teenage outcastes or misfits living on the fringe of society; they were viewed as strange, different in fashion, trendy, or faddish. She taught them skills in dancing, singing, music, and acting, and she called her troupe kabuki.
With financial sponsorship came more innovation in terms of scripts and performances, and Okuni’s kabuki became well known throughout the country. Unlike Noh dances, she used costumes and settings in her work that were familiar to everyone. Okuni is believed to have worn men’s clothing both on and offstage, and kabuki artists were known for portraying opposite genders onstage. Kabuki was also known for taking many liberties in plot development. Okuni defied the social and religious restraints placed on women at the time by allowing them to dress as men and play an equal part in the productions. She also used energetic pipe and drum music in her pieces instead of the more typical solitary tone and single instrument. Okuni gathered so many followers that kabuki and imitators spread throughout the country. It broke the ties that dance held to religion and ceremony. Okuni took the dance of the people and turned it into a refined art form. By her death, kabuki was established across Japan.
Throughout the Edo period, even without Okuni, kabuki continued to improve and grow, eventually containing very refined dramatic techniques and movements. Specialization occurred in the various artistic aspects of kabuki, including music, dance, acting, writing, and set design. At this point, expert choreographers appeared in the area of dance, as well as highly trained and experienced dancers disciplined in kabuki style. Some of these dancers left their performance groups to form companies or focus on dance as an aspect unto itself. From this, a new wave of dance with distinct styles developed. These styles are what we recognize as Japanese classical dance. Schools were formed to propagate the dance and train new pupils.
Many schools now teach the art of Japanese classical dance. The oldest of these is Sugiyama, which was founded in 1716. Other schools include Fujima and Nishikawa, both of which were founded in 1781. All three of these schools still exist today. Of the later two, more kabuki actors tend to come from the Fujima school, and the Nishikawa school focuses more on Noh style. In classical dance, the traditions of the school are passed on through the students. When a pupil has mastered a certain level of perfection in the teachings of the school, the school may allow the student to take on the school’s name in conjunction with his or her own. This tradition instills great pride in students and gives them a level of perfection to strive for.
It is this heritage of dance in Japan that led to our image of Japanese classical dance. This dance is officially called Nihon Buyo, but it is also sometimes popularly referred to as Kabuki buyo as a tribute to its origin and greatest development from kabuki theater. Because kabuki performances originated for the common people in Japan and evolved into the lives of the populous, as opposed to being a religious or aristocratic minority form of entertainment, it was the dance styles emerging from kabuki that became representative of Nihon buyo.
Nihon buyo is characterized by three elements of dance: mai, odori, and furi. Mai and odori are, in themselves, attributes or styles of dance that appear together or separately in more than just Nihon buyo. Mai can be seen in Kagura and Noh, as well as other more specific dances that came into existence during or before the 7th Century and are performed at festivals, banquets, and shrines. Mai is a quiet type of movement where the motion is usually confined to the hands. Odori can be seen in Bon festival dances and in kabuki performances. It is characterized by larger swifter motions of the feet and legs. Mai is slow and dignified, and can also be described as turningsymbolizing the circular movements of historical festival dances. Mai movements are emotive “manifestations of the mind.” As introversion and emotion is important to religious performance, mai remains important to Noh dance.
Odori is pure movement in dance. It is the representation of a more instinctual and rhythmic body language and includes movements like jumping, skipping, and walking. Elements of mai and odori movement appeared spontaneously and simultaneously during the historical development of dance in Japan. They have been dance characteristics since the time of the original religious and agrarian dances. When elements of mai and odori are put together, a range of body movements are seen, all with a sincere emotional focus. Modern dancer Emi Hatano describes the expressiveness of Nihon buyo as based on the foundational elements of mai and odori. She says that humans evolved in a manner such that our physical expressions are instinctually performed by our face, head, hands and arms, and torsoall areas closer to our head. Our lower body, including our legs and feet, is not as capable of portraying emotion. So movements seen here are more subconscious or are merely extensions of upper body movements. In Japan a ban or taboo of dance never arose. Dances rooted in religion were able to grow and evolve slowly, incorporating more aspects of the outside world over time. Because dance could continue to be spiritual and not performance-driven, grandiose sweeping movements did not immediately develop. The focus stayed internal and emotionally expressive in small upper body movements.
When comparing classical Japanese dance to Western European styles, and the emotional expression each maintains, Hatano believes that Nihon buyo is lower, more static, contained, and more introspective than Western dance. She believes these characteristics are not necessarily shared amongst the dance of other Asian cultures. The effects of living on the small island nation, protected and isolated by the ocean, with restricted means of movement and a self-contained agrarian culture may have developed the constricted traits of Japan and the quiet stoic personalities of those who live there.
In this manner, the natural environment and surrounding culture played a great role in the creation of the art form. There are many movements where the dancers press their hips down towards the ground to make their bodies shorter and closer to the earth. They slide their feet across the floor and use strong foot beats. In comparison, Western styles are composed of leaps, bounds, open arms, and outstretched legs.
The third attribute of Nihon buyo is furi. Furi can be described as the acting component of the dance. It is the a dramatic element akin to pantomime. Kabuki performers use furi as a serious of gestures signifying something or showing emotional states or thoughts. Furi mimics everyday gestures and does not necessarily incorporate abstract movements. The movements are simply more stylized and beautiful than those seen everyday. Unlike mai and odori, furi was not an aspect originally seen in historical dance. It became established with the development of kabuki theater and dance. Performers of Nihon buyo fuse mai, odori, and furi together when creating their movements.
Preparations of movements, transitions, space, and timing are other aspects that must be incorporated into the dance. Nihon buyo as a classical and disciplined dance must show intensive strength in its movements. It does so through a kind of “largeness” or impact of motions. Movements are not large in that they take up a lot of space. Rather, performers make a movement in one direction have more impact by initially taking the movement slightly in the opposite direction. This is a preparatory gesture. These preparations create an extra pause, which makes the following movement more dramatic and noticeable.
In dance, technique alone will not produce dramatic movement. Steps are mechanical until they are brought to life with energy and spirit. In Japan, this is referred to as ikitranslated to mean “breath,” “spirit,” or “an artistic way of life.” The space or time progressing from one movement or pose to the next movement or pose is known as ma. This is not stagnant space or time; it must posses a sense of artistic transport and aesthetic grace. To some extent, ma cannot be taught. It must come from within the performer. In Japanese, utsuri is “transition.” Transition occurs between scenes and situations, as well as between the movement from a foot to a hand or a hand to a head. All of these combined are the elements studied by the classical dancer in Japan, and together they create Nihon buyo.
The classical dance that we known now in Japan has a long and rich historical tradition. It is an outgrowth of many types of Japanese dance. Characterized by its simplicity, its beautiful dressing of postures and shapes, and its economy of movement, we know in Nihon buyo, that each motion is choreographed with a purpose and each movement contributes a meaning to the piece. It is a style of dance recognized for its harmonious patterns, its deep emotional expressions, and its highly symbolic gestures. The incorporation of symbolism as an aspect of the piece keeps the whole dance simple while each movement is still significant. In Nihon buyo, each dance is different, yet all dances share the fact that each movement will have a specific meaning and emotional connotation. These attributes and characteristics of the dance, coupled with its rich historical background, are what make Nihon buyo and classical Japanese dancing admired and recognized around the world.

Irv Smith Jr. Authentic Jersey Pavol Demitra Authentic Jersey  https://www.customjerseysmaker.com/ https://www.customfootballjerseys.net/