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ryukyu dancers

February 13, 2006

Traditional Ryukyu dancers

Traditional Ryukyu (Okinawan) dancers, at Shuri castle, Naha.

It always strikes me when I watch Okinawan dancers how much their movements look like slowed-down karate (which of course is also Okinawan). There seems to be a particularly Okinawan form of movement, distinct from its equivalent in mainland Japanese arts: very smooth, fluid movements, usually from point to point. Very graceful. Japanese arts like taiko drumming and kendo (sword-fighting), on the other hand, seem to involve sharper, jerkier, more aggressive movements, with more visible acceleration and deceleration.

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