Sho-Jo-Ji Japanese Dancers Cleveland International Folk Festival June 26, 2011
Sponsored by the Cleveland Japanese American Citizens League, the Sho-jo-ji Japanese Dancers have preserved, taught, and performed Japanese classical and folk dances in Ohio for over fifty years.
The dancers wear the traditional costume of Japan, a vibrant kimono, dress, which is tied with a brocaded obi, belt. Brightly colored fans and delicate tissue-paper parasols are used with graceful gestures to depict the stories and moods of the classical dances. The dancers invite all to join them with folk dances that have been enjoyed for centuries.
The mission of the Sho-jo-ji Japanese Dancers is to preserve, teach, and perform classical and folk dances from Japan.
Three very talented Japanese immigrants, Linda Omura, Yoshiko Baker, and Dolly Semonco, founded the group in the late 1950's in Cleveland. Each dancer brought their knowledge of the classical Nishikawa School of Japanese dance, experience from the Takarazuka Dance Troupe, Japanese folk dance and ballet. This eclectic blend of styles is performed by the existing members of the group. Currently the group includes of Nisei, Sansei and Yonsei, second, third, and fourth generation from Japan.
Most of the Japanese Classical Dances performed by the Sho-jo-ji Japanese Dancers are from the mid 1800's. At that time, Japanese dance underwent a reformation from the Noh and Kabuki theatres and many artists formed their own schools. Brightly colored fans and delicate tissue-paper parasols are used with graceful gestures to depict the stories and moods of the dances.
Japanese folk dances are repeated movements danced in a circle moving in a counter clockwise manner. We encourage the members of the audience to join our circle and dance with us. These are the same folk dances that have been enjoyed at celebrations for centuries. The most well-known folk dance is Tanko Bushi, the coalminer's dance.