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2012/06/19 / Gem R. Zhang

“Awa Odori” Dance for the Japan Festival 2012

As a part of the preparations for the Japan Festival 2012, the Cebuanos and Japanese participants and the very willing Japanese dance instructors have now started their dance practice of a famous Japanese Cultural dance: AWA ODORI.

some facts about… 阿波踊り AWA ODORI:

  • the largest dance festival in JAPAN
  • held from 12 to 15 August as part of the Obon festival (which stands really interesting since this year’s Japanese Festival in Cebu is also held on August 11~12. No wonder they’ve choose to present the Awa Odori dance! :D)
  • The dancers chants the hayashi kotoba such as “Yattosa, yattosa”, “Hayaccha yaccha”, “Erai yaccha, erai yaccha”, and “Yoi, yoi, yoi, yoi”. The calls have no actual meanings but this just only helps encouraging the performers. (In the case for the Cebu Japanese festival presentation: the Japanese dance instructor chants “Yattosa, Yattosa.” while the performers responses “Yattosa, yattosa” and “Yatto, yatto” respectively.)
  • Men and Women dance in different styles

“The women’s dance uses the same basic steps, although the posture is quite different. The restrictive kimono allows only the smallest of steps forward but a crisp kick behind, and the hand gestures are more restrained and graceful, reaching up towards the sky. Women usually dance in tight formation, poised on the ends of their geta sandals.”(wikipedia)

“For the men’s dance: right foot and right arm forward, touch the ground with toes, then step with right foot crossing over left leg. This is then repeated with the left leg and arm. Whilst doing this, the hands draw triangles in the air with a flick of the wrists, starting at different points. Men dance in a low crouch with knees pointing outwards and arms held above the shoulders.”(wikipedia)

The dance steps for Awa Odori dance moves two steps forward and one step backward and in a marching forward state which is similar to a Cebuano Sinulog dance.

Here’s how the performers would probably dress like! With unique looking head-dresses (isn’t that some like a banig-knitted fan?hehe :D), but this is actually an Obon dance costume. Obon on the other hand means “Festival of the Dead”. It is a Japanese Buddhist celebration where the spirits of their ancestors visits the living relatives in a given period in a year.

The practice was indeed a job well done for everyone who participated. And kudos to the Japanese dance instructors who in effort came all the way to Cebu to teach the traditional Awa Odori dance to interested Cebuano performers.

More dance practice pictures at Japan Heart Cebu Facebook Page:

Catch everyone at its best performance and see them in their actual Awa Odori dance costumes… at this coming Japan Festival 2012! Not only you’ll be witnessing this dance but get to experience Japanese Culture in a whole new way and of different surprises yearly! 😀

Care to LIKE Japan Festival 2012 Facebook Page:

This year’s Japan Festival’s Cultural Event will be held on August 11-12, 2012 at the Ayala Activity Center Cebu.



Leave a Comment
  1. iambidextrous / Jun 21 2012 3:22 AM

    kawaii rarusuchin! ♥

  2. Genie Jeanie Amora-Chua / Jul 16 2012 9:04 AM

    I can’t wait to see you dance! xoxo

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