Dancing in a Japanese University Dance Circle
Some may consider festivals to be the highlight of yosakoi dancing. Festivals are typically held on weekends, so we usually practice during the weeks leading up to the festival. Summertime practices can be particularly exhausting, but the satisfaction after a performance makes it well worth the price. Sometimes the festival will be in Kyoto, and we will meet directly at the festival grounds, but there are also times where we meet at Kyoto Station and ride a bus together. At festivals, we not only dance ourselves, but also get to watch other teams perform, and maybe even get to say hi to friends we’ve made from other teams.
Leading up to the performance everyone’s nerves go crazy. Walking on stage, you can see across the crowd that will be watching you. You find your location on stage, and the music begins. We must focus on our moves, the timing, and change in location, all while not letting ourselves get distracted by all the cameras clicking. A few minutes later, we strike our last pose, and thank the audience. Throughout the year, Shibuyou performs at many festivals where our performance is judged. Since the spring, Shibuyou has been recognized a few times, and was even selected as a finalist. At the Kyoto Intercollegiate Festival, Shibuyou was able to win 2nd place!
Retirement of the older grade
Within a month of being awarded this prize, however, the second year students participated in their final performance as Shibuyou. Their very last stage was in a parade down a busy shopping center. For the previous 12 months the second year students had done a lot. They continued dancing last year’s performance throughout the winter, recruited first year students and taught us the ropes, all while working hard on creating this year’s performance. Many of them put an incredible amount of time and effort into this circle, and many shed tears as they danced their last performance.
Now it’s up to us first year students. Will we be able to bring Shibuyou the success that the second year students did? Now we are the ones having meeting after meeting to carefully plan out the year and create next year’s performance. We will strive to continue to make Shibuyou an excellent team! Please look forward to seeing the performance we’ll create for next year!
As an international student
Personally as an international student, participating in a circle such as this one has taught me a lot about Japanese culture. One example is the relationship between older classmen and younger classmen. Another example is the determination that Japanese have when they put their mind to something. I’m glad I made the decision to join this circle, and I look forward to many more memories we will make together.