Takarabune wows audience both on and off the stage

Kos Sarfo | Contributing Writer

Takarabune, a Japanese word meaning “treasure boat,” is also the name of a dance company that dances Awa Odori—a traditional Japanese dance with about 400 years of history behind it. Now, reading this, one might conjure up an image of a group of solemn dancers, faces somber, moving slowly to the beat of an austere, stately drum.

To this I respond:my throat was sore the morning after their show on March 28 in Umrath Lounge after yelling the lyrics to Queen’s “We Will Rock You.”

A member of the Takarabune dance company performs the Awa Odori, a traditional Japanese dance. The event was held in Umrath Lounge on March 28 and hosted by the East Asian Lan- guages and Cultures department, East Asian Studies program and Performing Arts department.Photo Courtesy Of Ayato Ozawa

A member of the Takarabune dance company performs the Awa Odori, a traditional Japanese dance. The event was held in Umrath Lounge on March 28 and hosted by the East Asian Lan- guages and Cultures department, East Asian Studies program and Performing Arts department.

From the very start of the show, Takarabune makes sure that the audience knows its job, and it is certainly not to clap politely at the end of the performance. Well, there is clapping, but it’s during the show to a joyous beat that gets faster and faster as the performers rile the audience up with various call-and-response whoops, hollers and chants.

Each dancer has a personality of their own that shines through: from Shinnosuke, jolly and earnest as he pounds the large drum strapped to his belly, to Takashi, deviously stealing the show with his bright hair and clown-like antics. Every member’s energy was electric, as it needs to be for a group of five to win over and fully engage a crowd of fifty.

And these dancers are skilled. From tapping out complex polyrhythms on various instruments (e.g. a drum, a tambourine, a floor…), to incredible dances with complex and Byzantine footwork, they seem to never run out of breath, enjoying every minute. These are artists who put on a real performance for the audience.

Beyond their dazzling stage presence, the dancers are incredibly friendly, humble and approachable. Their kindness was such that they remembered it was my birthday on the day of the show (which I had offhandedly mentioned at a meet-and-greet lunch earlier), and they even sang happy birthday to me and gathered around for a picture. Truly, this experience served to elevate my day to a whole new level, cementing it as an incredibly special memory. From start to finish, Takarabune gives a spectacular show and does everything in its power to create an important experience for all present.