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Okinawa City Eisa dancers make international transition

Date Posted: 2005-07-22

The Thames River Summer Festival in London is a major event, and Okinawa is there.

An Eisa dance team from Okinawa City’s Sonda area is representing all Asian dance groups to perform in the British event. It’s a new trend for Okinawa, jumping into the international arena to perform in the United States, Russia, Canada and France, as well as Great Britain.

Okinawa City Mayor Masakazu Nakasone and Thames River Festival chairman Adrian Evans have visited in Okinawa, and Nakasone has extolled the virtues and excitement of traditional dance. Evans says “London’s youth would love to see the Eisa dancing.” Evans watched Eisa performances and Eisa Dance Festival in Chatan Town and Okinawa City, and says it was very impressive.

“Music and dance are fascinating to London’s young people, who normally don’t get exposure to any traditional entertainment at all,” said Evans, “but Okinawa is different. The young people here are very serious and loving traditional music forms.” He said he wants London’s youth to study Okinawan younsters’ attitudes too.

Nakasone says “We are very proud of Sonda area’s youth commitment to Eisa, and are very happy to show the people of the world Okinawa’s traditional entertainment.”

The driving force behind Okinawa’s Eisa going international is a professor at the Prefecture Arts and Music University. The quiet, unnamed professor spurred the Sonda area’s youth into action, taking the young adults to London University for an Eisa dance training session. He says the Londoners learned well, and enjoyed the Eisa.

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