COURTESY UKWANSHIN KABUDAN RYUKYU PERFORMING ARTS TROUPE
Dancers from the Tamagusuku Ryu Shosetsu Kai Hawaii Branch will perform Saturday at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Textiles in motion
A dance exhibition will weave the rich fabric of Okinawan culture and history
The history and culture of Okinawa comes alive on stage this weekend at the Honolulu Academy of Arts.
UKWANSHIN KABUDAN RYUKYU PERFORMING ARTS TROUPE
Place: Doris Duke Theatre, Honolulu Academy of Arts
Time: 7 p.m. Saturday
Tickets: $20; $15 Academy members; $10 seniors and military; students free
Call: 532-8701 or visit www.honoluluacademy.org
In conjunction with the Academy Art Center's bingata textile workshop and exhibition, the local Ukwanshin Kabudan Ryukyu Performing Arts Troupe will wear costumes featuring stencil-dyed material designed by visiting artist Yusuke Yokoi.
The troupe is made up of dancers from the Tamagusuku Ryu Shosetsu Kai Hawaii Branch, with musical accompaniment by the Nomura Ryu Ongaku Kyokai ensemble, led by director Norman Kaneshiro and Keith Nakaganeku.
Artistic director Eric Wada will narrate, explaining the connection between the textiles and the performing arts.
While many are familiar with Okinawan folk music, the first part of the evening's show will feature "the country's classical music, done in a slower tempo, more stately, and more to feature the textiles of the kimono being worn," Kaneshiro said. "The court and the classical music doesn't usually get a whole lot of stage time when Okinawan music is presented to the general public. But we'll do the full gamut of different genres of music, that's our main affiliation."
Wada said the textiles make up "one realm of fabrics that's still alive in the culture, the remnants of our past."
"We'll open up with the bingata textiles used in court dances of the 1400s, moving into the common people up 'til the 1900s. Woven fabrics are pretty important to the culture, because we believe they hold the spirit of the person who wove it. They're looked at like protection since it contains that particular person's energy, because of the care and emotion put into what they were weaving.
"These different textiles are even important today because they're still used in everyday wear, called kariyushi, like in aloha shirt-type wear, blouses or even dresses," Wada said.
He said that the academy show is a prelude to a larger concert Aug. 24 at Saint Louis School's Mamiya Theatre titled "Loo Choo nu Kwa (Children of Loochoo)."