Thursday, July 5, 2012


This past weekend, San Jose Taiko performed again at the SF Ethnic Dance Festival.  It was actually a five-day, six-performance run (counting rehearsals as well as live shows), but felt like a month's worth of effort.

The piece we played, "Synergy", was created 3 years ago and we've played it with Abhinaya Dance Company for one of their shows and then the last two EDF concerts.  My part in the piece has been the same over all three years, so I've had an easy time since learning it, but I still really enjoy my role. I can say my ability to play in 5 is more honed, and I can say I've learned how to work with other artists better.  But what I came away with the most this weekend is appreciation.

I've gotten to see a lot of different taiko groups in my life, and admittedly it's all-too-easy to take that for granted.  Seeing so many different top-notch ethnic dance groups last week was such an amazing experience for me, something that broke apart the artistic stagnation I've had building up for a while.

To see group choreography I wouldn't have dreamed up in several lifetimes, to watch footwork with such flair and precision, to take in the joy and power from around the world on one stage - it made me appreciate all the groups I saw as well as the groups I didn't get to see.

For anyone who's tired of seeing the same stuff in taiko, for anyone who's struggling with writing new works, or for anyone who just needs to get away from the issues in their own group, go see what else is out there!  What's similar?  What's different?  What can you appreciate?

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