Monday, April 6, 2009

Miyako Odori (The Cherry Blossom Dance) Part II

After blogging last night at the weirdo Internet/comic café from a declined recliner??? in a little cube (I could barely reach the keyboard), I kept thinking more about Miyako Odori before I fell asleep. In my last entry, I don’t think I really captured what it was like, so here’s a little more detail. And, since photos were prohibited, I snapped some pics from my program to give a better flavor (sorry, the photos suck).

Gina and I thought we would kneel on tatami mats for the tea ceremony that preceded the performance (see my sweet bean paste pastry) and during the 60-minute show, but we sat at short tables for the tea ceremony and then in plush seats for the show.

The stage was beautiful. The curtain, which was really a large, sliding screen, was hand-painted a pretty floral scene. When the show started, screens went up to the left and right of the stage to reveal 10 maikos in matching powder blue kimonos with a cherry blossom pattern playing various instruments (left) and 10 older women in plain black kimonos without geisha makeup or hairstyles who played shamisen and sang (right).

The eight acts all portrayed seasonal scenes with hand-painted backgrounds of famous Kyoto shrines and landscapes. Each one involved maiko and geisha in exquisite kimonos with intricate hairstyles and hair ornaments who danced to convey famous Kyoto folklore stories with their fans and flowers. As they danced, two older women sang parts for the performers to accompany all of the music from the musicians in the side boxes.

The whole experience was enchanting, and I’m so glad we were able to attend.

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