COLUMBIA STATE HOSTS JAPANESE MITSUGI KAI DANCE COMPANY

Performance Free and Open to the Public on October 4

(Columbia, Tenn. – Sept. 26, 2011) - - - Columbia State Community College’s Lyceum Committee will host the Mitsugi Kai Dance Company on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 12:30 p.m. in the Cherry Theater located in the Waymon L. Hickman building on the Columbia campus. The dance company will share Japanese culture through a performance of traditional, classic and folk dances, accompanied by classical instruments and traditional costumes. This event is free and open to the public.

 “The Mitsugi Kai Dance Company provides exciting and memorable versions of classical Japanese dance works using costumes and instruments from Japan’s feudal period,” said Stuart Lenig, professor of communications and drama at Columbia State. “Audiences have found the style of dance beautiful, aesthetic, spiritual and relaxing.

The history of Japanese dance has many meanings and is strongly influenced by nature, mythology and religion, as well as by stories from the traditional Japanese Kabuki and Noh Theatres. The Noh Mai is a feminine dance portraying such characters as noble and carnal women, spirits and deities. The dancers perform ghost, love and ritual dances through elegant movements while wearing beautiful costumes and performing in constant rhythm to instruments such as the flute, drums and the koto, a Japanese stringed instrument. Another important form of Japanese dance is the Kagura, or dance in the presence of gods, in which dancers reenact a historical event.

Accompanying the dancers will be multiple musicians who will be playing traditional Japanese instruments, including the Shamisen (sam-i-sen), a three-stringed guitar that is plucked with a pick-like device. The Shamisen or “three flavored strings” is very versatile and provides a different tone or flavor to the music. It has appeared in contemporary Japanese music ranging from bluegrass and jazz to punk rock. Other musicians provide diversity of tonal color to the performance with traditional percussion instruments and the Japanese flute.

After the main performance, the dance company will host a brief workshop that will include an explanation of the costumes and dance styles of Japanese culture. Participants will be encouraged to learn simple dance steps that will help with the understanding of Japanese dances and what it takes to perform them.

During their tour of the United States, the Mitsugi Kai Dance Company will be joined by Ms. Keiko Herbert of Nashville and Ms. Takako Grimes of Columbia. Both are naturalized U.S. citizens who were born in Japan and maintain close ties to their dance and Japanese cultural roots. 

The Mitsugi Kai Dance Company, from Nasu, Japan, tours the world to foster global understanding and appreciation of Japanese culture and the tradition of Japanese dance. During their performances the various dance styles are introduced and the significance and meaning of the movements are explained. This is the second year that the company has performed at Columbia State.

For more information on this and other Lyceum events, contact the Lyceum Committee by emailing lyceum@columbiastate.edu, or visit the Lyceum calendar on the Columbia State website at www.columbiastate.edu/lyceum.

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