City to host Japanese Dance Festival

City residents once again get to enjoy another piece of Japanese culture right on their own doorstep as a leading Japanese language center presents the annual team dance festival at Shizuoka prefecture in HCMC Youth Culture House in district 1 today.

Yosakoi dancers perform their dance on a street in the Shizuoka prefecture

From 5pm to 7pm, the organizers expect the dance festival, “Rainy night festival”, to give locals a taste of Japanese dancing and culture.

The 2nd annual festival will introduce three dance performances, including “Heisei Chakkiri Bushi”, “Sakura 96” and “Sakura Doo-Wap”.

Entry is free and guests will be encouraged to join in and learn how to dance “Sakura Doo-Wap”.

A bonus to the festival will be a Yosakoi dance, “Yocchore”, which will be performed by Yosago, a leading Yosakoi team from the city.

In an interview with SGGP, members of Yosago discussed Yosakoi and Japanese dancing culture.

This festival will present two main schools of dance, one is Yosakoi and another is Yozakura. While Yozakura consists of dances to celebrate the bloom of peach blossoms in spring, Yosakoi is summer dance. Its aim is to attract the life and desire of the season.   

The team came about after the peach blossoms in Hanoi in 2007, members of the website had an idea to set up a Yosakoi team in the south. That idea became reality after the encouragement of a member of the Super Yosakoi in Hanoi, Thuy, when she came to south.

The YOSAGO team practice their dance moves in Tao Dan Park (Photo: Truong Son)
They named the team YOSAGO (Sai Gon Yosakoi) and at present has 20 members who meet and practice every week. With the sport being a novelty and few Japanese dance teachers in the city they have struggled to find a teacher. They have taught themselves from watching video clips and from the youthful founder of the team, Thuy.
Japanese dances always remind people of the country’s beauty and whilst the team dance they feel the beauty of Japan. They are not only excited but also addicted to its grace. The more they practice the dances together, the more connected the team feels. “We are now a family; we smile together, cry together, share emotions with each other”, said one member, “this is what we call the hidden value of the dance”. The team feels that they bring smiles to people’s faces. The Japanese have a saying “When you feel happiest and smile a lot, that’s the time you dance Yosakoi”
Being a pioneering team of Japanese dance in the city the most difficult aspect is the lack of Japanese teachers. However, they also struggle to find costumes and equipment for dance performances, made more difficult with few Japanese imports. Team membership has been affected by having no access to permanent dance studios.

For the festival the team will perform Yocchore, for which they have practiced hard for the last two weeks. With people looking on with bemusement and curiosity some of the team have felt shy and have found practice difficult but together they have got through it.
Finally, giving tips to newcomers the team recommends practicing everyday and persevering as the more you learn the more you will love the dances. A member concludes “the most necessary thing is for newcomers to have a real passion for dancing”.

By Truong Son

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