NIHON SENSU ODORI - [Japanese Folding-fan Dance]
Fan dancing is a popular form of dance in Asian dating back hundreds of years.
In Japan, the hand-held fan was a profound part of the Japanese culture. The held-hand fans were initially created to induce airflow to the aristocrats for cooling off and refreshment. They were designed with paper or feathers and a thin material that was mounted on slats. The fans symbolized friendship and respect towards one another until a new purpose for the fans emerged--fan dancing.
Japanese Fan Dance
Several hundred years ago during the reign of Emperor Jimmu, the Japanese fan dance was choreographed for private performances and to highlight the unique work of the fan. The prop of the fan added to the effect of the Japanese hairstyles and bold makeup. Originally, the steps of the choreographed dance were slow, deliberate and suggestive. It was always danced to a live accompaniment of musicians.
Symbols and Occasions
Japanese fan dancing was a symbol of social status. Hinoki and Japanese cypress were used in accordance with a person's rank. Fan dancing was featured at special occasions such as parties and weddings, and Japanese craftsmen would design the fans with ivory, mother of pearl and sandalwood. Depending on the social significance, different fans would be used to suit the specifications of the choreography and the importance of the given occasion.
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