Yamagata Trip Day Ten
We met at Tohoku University of Art and Design and gathered on the seventh floor of the main building for an introduction of the university. There we learned that the University was built fifteen years ago to be competitive with larger cities. Since many of the youth were migrating to larger cities for schooling it was affecting the talent in the local area. To keep that talent and knowledge in Yamagata this university was built.
9:30 am: Tour the art and design University
After hearing the history of the university we were shown paintings done by a ninety year old buddist priest. He is known throughout the world for his artwork and is from the town of Yamagata. We learned of his wonderful style and that gave a deeper understanding of the art and design aspect of Tohoku University. After that tour we went into a near by building which housed much of the students artwork. Their artwork expressing various techniques and styles were a great interest to many Koshares.
11:00 am: Rehersal, Lunch and Rehersal
The Noh stage performance was to be one of our most important performances and one of the first joint shows with Dance Space in Japan. We knew that it must be flawless. After the tour the Koshares gathered in a nearby gym for a rehersal with Dance Space. We then had a quick lunch in the student center and then practiced once again, but this time on the Noh stage.
1:45 pm: Workshop with Professor Mori
After the second rehersal of the day, the Koshares sat on the Noh stage to hear Professor Mori explain the importance of traditional Japanese dance. Professor Mori is an instructor at Tohoku and also one of the people responsible for arranging the Koshares' performance on the Noh Stage. Professor Mori explained how much of the dance is about performing small movements on the large stage to project the feeling of projecting much power to all areas of the stage. He explained how much of the traditional dance was inspired from everyday movement like harvesting and planting rice crops. The Koshares and members of Dance Space then were instructed in doing the traditional dancing. Throughout the dancing there was much laughter and big smiles. It was truly enjoyable by all participants. Professor Mori was a wonderful instructor and his students are very fortunate.
3:30 pm: Rehersal and Rest
Once again the Koshares took to the Noh stage for a quick practice before the show. Members of Dance Space then practiced their dancing. By four o'clock most members were resting in preparation for the show. A light dinner of hot dogs were handed out to the members. At five o'clock the Koshares began to dress and prepare for the big show. We learned that the Lieutenant Governor of Yamagata would be there to introduce the Koshares.
Many Koshares found out later that they were sitting right next to the Lieutenant Governor right before she made her speach.
6:00 pm: The show begins
Right after the Lieutenant Governor made her remarks, the Koshares opened the show with the Buffalo Dance. The dance was then followed with the eagle, hoop, sneak-up, attack, belt and commanche. Dance Space followed with their own wonderful dances. Both performances were a great crowd pleaser. Even through it rained throughout the show, not a seat was empty and much of audience stood just to see the show. When Dance Space ended with a violin and vocal solo the crowd broke into a thunderous applause. However, this was not the end of the show. Behind the crowd Jimmy prepared for the spectacular fire hoop. When the drumming began most of the audience members ran to the back just to get a glimpse. Again they cheered louder than before when the dance was over, but again the Koshares had one more supprise. The drum sounded again and seventy members from Dance Space and all the Koshares began to dance an intertribal. Members of the audience were then pulled in and those who did not join flashed as many photos as they could in the five minutes of the dance. By the end everyone agreed it was a perfect end to a perfect show.
After the show
When the Koshares were packed and done cleaning, we once again met with our host families for the night. Many of the members met up at a resturant called the Milky Way. Each shared in laughter and fun at the resturant, in addition to the wonderful food. It was a great way to end the day when the big performance was over.