Spring Concert of Japanese Traditional Music and Dance 4/29/00

The Japanese performing arts steeped in hundreds of years of tradition will be presented at the James Armstrong Theater in Torrance on Sunday, April 29, 2000 at 2:30 p.m. by Japanese Traditional Performing Arts Organization.

This showcase presentation of Japanese tradition offer a history lesson in Japanese arts starting from a 1,300 year old royal court dance and music to a contemporary Japanese dance.

This gala performance involve about 40 performers led by noted local master artists. The program will be Gagaku/Bugaku (royal court dance), Biwa music (Japanese lute), Nagauta music (Kabuki style music), two Japanese classic dance numbers and end with contemporary style dance. A total program of two hours.

The oldest Japanese performing arts is Bugaku and Gagaku, dating back to the 6th Century. It has been continuously performed in the Imperial Court of Japan since the 9th Century; however, usually it is not performed for the general public in Japan. Mr. Suenobu Togi of the Imperial Household came to UCLA in 1968 to teach Gagaku to American students. He returned to Japan in 1995 but his UCLA Gagaku group continue his legacy under the guidance of Ms. Ikuko Yuge. The UCLA Gagaku and Bugaku group is the only group outside of Japan and in the past had been invited to perform in Japan and China. The group will perform a dance and music including a lecture demonstration on Gagaku.

The next oldest art form is Biwa which is a Japanese lute. It became very popular in 13th Century. At that time biwa players were itinerant, traveling town to town and singing the songs of the famous historical story of rise and fall of Heike clan . Contrary to Gagaku this was enjoyed by ordinary people. However, not many people practice this tradition anymore even in Japan. Therefore this is a rare opportunity.

Madam Kyokkaku Kawamoto is a niece of a famous Biwa player, Kyokuho Ohtsubo. She will present a excerpt from the famed Heike story.

The theater art form Kabuki (Japanese Musical) became very popular in the 17th Century.Nagauta and Japanese dance born out of Kabuki were developed relatively recently. Nagauta music will be presented by Madam Kineya Jyorokusho and her group. Hayashi (percussion accompaniment) will be performed by Madam Katada Kikusa and her group. Former Azuma Kabuki troupe member who recently moved her professional life here in Los Angeles, Madam Hanayagi Wakana will show off her talent in a classic dance. Madam Bando Wakatsue will dance another classic number with the second Bando Katsuji who comes from Japan to participate in this presentation. Lastly Madam Hanayagi Kinmi choreographed contemporary Japanese dance with the taste of Takarazuka woman review and perform with Fujima Kansei and her group. .

The Japanese Traditional Performing Arts Organization was established in 1992 to preserve and promote the appreciation of Japanese traditional performing arts in the United States. It has been providing unique and interesting high quality programs for a wide variety of audiences. This program is made possible by the grant from the California Arts Council.

Tickets are available at the James Armstrong theater box office for $20.00. A $18.00 discount ticket is available for seniors over age 60 and students with ID. For ticket orders call box office (310) 781-7171. Theater is located in Torrance, 3330 Civic Center drive. Parking is free. For further information call Japanese Traditional Performing Arts Organization: (310) 378-3550 Fax. (310) 375-0276

For more information on this event, or to learn more about the JTPAO, please e-mail us at mikko@jtpao.org