Dance costume (1) – taiko drummers

October 11, 2009

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This is the first of several sets of photos taken at the Festivals of Japan in Sydney event on 14 October 2006. 2006 was the 30th anniversary of the Australian-Japanese Basic Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation.

My main aim was to try and record the detail of the folk dancers’ costumes – it’s not often that dance troupes visit from Japan. The performances by 16 different groups occured over 10 hours before thousands of people in sweltering heat – at 37C degrees, it was unseasonally summery weather.

This first photos are not of dance troupes, but of one of two visiting taiko drumming troupes:  the Nippon Taiko Foundation <Fugaku Taiko>, based at the foothills of Mount Fuji. The group provides therapy for the intellectually impaired and their performances are influenced by folk stories, myths and the natural world of Fuji-san.

The first photo is of their banner; note the back of the red/yellow/black happi coat worn by one of the drummers and the size of the largest of the drums on the outdoor stage.

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Drummers putting drums into position on the stage. Note the obviously very modern swirl designs of the happi coats over black, imitating the spray of ink. White calligraphy linked to the white of the headbands.

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The solo drummer at far left is being projected onto the giant screen far right.

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