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Nihon Buyoh

Nihon buyoh (Japanese classical dance) or odori , is the dance of the kabuki theatre of Japan and of the geisha. It originated in the 17th century and developed into a detailed form of dance that uses many types of music, and incorporates storytelling, character, pantomimic gesture and virtuoso movement patterns.

I have studied nihon buyoh for many years, first under master dancer and teacher Fujima Yûko (1938-2003), then with Fujima Shôgô. I dance both onnagata (female form) and otokogata (male form) and have performed dances connected to a variety of different kinds of music. I became a natori of the Fujima School in 2001, taking the professional name Fujima Sayû.

I have been using nihon buyoh forms in my current choreography and performance. Michiyuki/A Travel Song used dance patterns and gestures from nihon buyoh, and The Komachi Variations was almost entirely based on buyoh kata or forms.

I am the Artistic Director of TomoeArts a company dedicated to the production and creation of dance theatre incorporating nihon buyoh forms and aesthetics. For TomoeArts, I have created a full length piece called Ten Nights of Dream based on Sôseki Natsume's haunting series of tales, and 3 versions of EN: a raincity street dance an outdoor public art piece using Japanese dance styles and projections on white umbrellas. I also teach regular classes and private lessons in Vancouver, BC.

I also had the chance to work with Laurance Kominz in Portland, and choreograph dances for the English-language premiere of MISHIMA Yukio's kabuki play The Sardine Seller's Net of Love.

I am currently working on a new piece based on Korean writer O Chonghui's short story Weaver Woman that will further push the boundaries of nihon buyoh's gestures and patterns, and will combine movement with spoken text from the story and music on the chinese erhu.

Here's a video of me dancing Kuruwa Hakkei a piece of traditional nihon buyoh. The dance is in otokogata (male form) with switches to female characters. The music is Tokiwazu.