Sunday, July 19, 2009

Obon 2009

The big day finally arrived yesterday. Little Ms. Eris and I had been practicing our dainty steps and the graceful waving of fans for three weeks. Last night we nervously stepped onto the dance floor (actually the church parking lot) to perform for friends and family at the Obon Festival.

Getting dressed for the dance is an art form all by itself. It requires three trained women and takes 15 minutes to assemble each dancer's yukata. Layers and strings are knotted around the middle in a very precise order and pulled as tight as possible. If the dancer can breath or move with any degree of comfort the dressers will yank the strings tighter and tie more knots. The end result is a beautiful costume that is fastened securely and impossible to get out of without further assistance from these same ladies.

After the dressing process is finished all of our accessories must be tucked inside the obi (sash). Little and I each carried folding fans, scarves and kachi kachis (castanets) as well as a round fan which was stowed in the back under the large bows.

I'm guessing that there were around 100 dancers who performed 14 numbers. Littlest really worked hard learning them all and it showed. She danced flawlessly and looked absolutely adorable.

Those in attendance were also treated to the artistry of the Taiko Drummers. Their precision and energetic movements are fascinating to watch.

Thanks to everyone who braved the 100 degree heat to come out and share this evening with us. Little and I worked hard to prepare for it and it was wonderful to see all of you there. We're already looking forward to including Littlest Ms. in the fun next year!

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KFinley said...

So cute! I love the beautiful outfits!

Sharyn said...

Lovely, thank you for sharing.