My Journey as a Flute Player in the Awa Dance Group

Japanese Traditional Dance: Music and Dancers in Sui-ren

→ Awa-Dance in Koenji "Sui-ren" official website
6 Jan

What Is the Men’s Dance?

Otoko-Odori: The Men’s Dance
Otoko means men, Odori means dance. Men and women can join the Men’s dance. We can express ourselves through dance. The moves of great dancers are very smooth.

The “Otoko-Odori” that men do is sometimes aggressive, passionate, and comical. They dance gracefully. The dancers often dance with Uchiwa fans or Japanese paper lantern. The highlight of it is “Abare.” “Abare” means ramping. Abare is a dance move wherein men move in an aggressive manner that includes jumping and moving in big steps. Dancers shout aloudly during Abare. On the other hand, the “Otoko-Odori” that women do is elegant and smooth. The way to dance it is the same as that of men’s dance. Historically, women started dancing the men's dance more recently in the 400 year-history of Awa-dance.

Some Ren (Team) have their own patterns with different sequences like the womens' dance that depends on the Ren.

What Do They Wear?
The dancers wear either kimono or “Happi” and short pants. The hem of kimono is tucked up to the waist to make the Kimono shorter. “Happi” is a short kimono, just like a jacket. When a dancer wears it, a plain white fabric is wrapped around the body under the “Happi". They wear “tabi” socks. Their soles are very thick, so they can dance on the street. They put a Japanese towel (Tenugui) on their head. Sometimes, the men cover their head with it and tie its ends under their nose.

Who can join the Otoko-odori?
As for the Men's Dance, both men and women can join. Usually, there is no age limit for the dance members.

1 Jan

Happy New Year from Koenji!

Happy New Year! Hope you’ll have a great year!

Sui-ren’s first practice this year is January 29th from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Koenji. If you wish to see us practice, and have a glimpse on how we prepare the dance, you can contact us!

30 Dec

What Is the Women's Dance?

Onna-Odori: The Women's Dance
Onna means woman, Odori means dance. The woman's dance is similar to line dance. It involves dancers standing in one or more lines performing different choreography. The movements have some patterns with different sequences. Each Ren(group) has their own formation. It is one of the points to watch the women's dance. Their steps is small because they wear kimono. They keep holding their arms up during the dance. Women’s dance needs a lot of practice because they need to learn many choreographies.
What Do They Wear?
The women dancers wear kimonos or yukatas, the summer kimono, but the style is different than the usual kimonos and yukatas. They leave a large opening at the back of the neck of kimono. The back shot is really beautiful and elegant. They wear white arm covers to hide their skin. The undergarments used in wearing traditional Japanese kimono was used as the dancers' primary costume especially the skirt. They use a summer kimono belt where the belt is smaller than usual. They put on a rush hat and cover half of their face with it. They dance on their toes in Geta sandals, just like the ballerinas where they usually lift their toes when dancing. They need a lot of practice to perform this move with their toes.

Who Can Join the Women’s Dance?
Only Women can join the Women’s Dance. Each Ren has their own rule about age limit. For example, from 12 years old to 29 years old. Some Ren don’t have any limit. It totally depends on the Ren.





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About the writer
Mayuko Kurosaka

She is a member of Sui-ren. She is a flutist. She's been performing for more than 6 years for the group. She was born in Kawagoe an old city in Saitama. She learned to play traditional instrument when she was a young or a kid. She works as a freelance writer.
you can join and be part of our dynamic and fun group. You are very much welcome to join, so don't hesitate!

For bookings of cast requests and tours, please contact me.