KSU Japan Festival

2 05 2009

Michael watching the final performances

after the final performanceThis past weekend, April 25th, was the 14th annual Japan Festival at KSU.  As in years past, it was an exciting opportunity for KSU students and members of the Japanese community in Manhattan to share their culture through song, dance, food and various other performance.  We even got to reunite with some past Yosakoi alumni, including Yasu, who came back to perform his magic tricks for the show!

We did two performances, the first of which was in Forum Hall.  Soran Illusion and Net de Yosakoi were both big crowd-pleasers; Yosakoi got to share the stage here with KU’s Eisa group, Kuniko the storyteller and the Ki Daiko taiko group from Olathe.  Later we performed Soran Bushi in the courtyard, and also debuted our new blue happis.  The color really stood out and complimented our performance of a fisherman’s dance.

Several members said that this was the most fun festival they can remember performing in, and for several other memebers, this was their first opportunity to both participate in and see the KSU festival.  After a long day of practice and performances, we met other performers and organizing groups at the International Student Center for food and a raffle giveaway.  It was great to reunite with past Yosakoi members and see all of our hard work pay off with a well-received performance.

KSU Performs at KU Festival

23 04 2009

On April 11th, the KSU Japanese Yosakoi Dance Club performed several dances at the University of Kansas. The KU Japan Festival, which is hosted and run by KU’s Japanese Student Association, featured a variety of performances ranging from Rakugo storytelling to Eisa dance, Japanese cultural skits and a fashion show. Yosakoi performed Net de Yosakoi, Soran Bushi and Samurai. This year’s performance was Yosakoi’s third consecutive performance at the annual KU festival. We were able to introduce new members to the KU festival and share in the Japanese culture presented by our neighboring state university. Yosakoi made the trip to Lawrence into a day trip where we enjoyed the festival performances during the afternoon, and finished the day by enjoying dinner at a sushi restaurant in downtown Lawrence. The event was a fun way for KSU Yosakoi to share our dance in the cultural performances during the festival, and to show appreciation for some of the groups who will be performing in our own KSU Japan Festival this weekend.

KSU Open House

23 04 2009

This last Sat around 2:30 Yosakoi which had been scheduled to perform behind the library and was reassigned to the Union plaza.  Having all met at the Library we used the added time to get as ready as possible. Some people were stretching others reviewing the dances and others just relaxing before dancing in the sun. We went to the plaza a little early to watch the other performances  which included the KC Marching Cobras always a treat.   Then the K-state Tap group and that group broke in half and joined some hand drummers to become the K-state African Rhythm and dance group.  We were up after them and performed 2 dances;  where we had as I would assume a much larger audience than we would have behind the library better sound too.  It was a beautiful spring day barely a cloud in the sky and we were all ready to show our yosakoi pride.  I was able to catch the second dance on VIDEO it was called Net de yosakoi. This is the dance that if some members choose to go to Japan will be the one performed there.  After the dance we dispersed eager to be out of the hot sun. All round this was a great performance and very fun.


Yosakoi Performs at Naka-Kon

7 04 2009

The Yosakoi group were highlighted as guests of honor at Naka-kon 2009. This Anime convention, which is hosted annually, took place this year at the Hyatt hotel in the Crown Center shopping area. Yosakoi members enjoyed an early-morning roadtrip to the hotel, where they registered and had lunch before teaching a workshop. Four members of the team taught Soran Bushi to Naka-con participants while QiuXia vocalized the different steps and ran the music.

After dinner at Kabuki, a Japanese restaurant inside Crown Center, the team returned to the convention and performed 3 dances during an exhibition of Anime costumes and Japanese culture. This was Yosakoi’s debut of the dance Net de Yosakoi. After the performance, while judges were deciding the results of the costume contest, Yosakoi was asked to come back onstage. The group performed Yocchore as a finale to the evening’s performance. After an exhausting but enjoyable day, Yosakoi returned to Manhattan, having debuted their new dance to an enthusiastic audience in a new venue.

KSU Alumni Performance

18 02 2009

Last week, a few members of KSU Yosakoi had the opportunity to perform for the KSU Alumni Board. On February 13th, Barbara, Cami, Ching, Greta and Jordan were able to perform two dances for a small audience in the KSU Alumni Center on campus. The group first danced the Yosakoi Soran, followed by a description of Yosakoi and some of its history. After some self-introductions by the Yosakoi members, and a short question-answer session, the group finished with a performance of Soran Bushi. This was a special opportunity for Barbara, who is part of the Alumni Board, to introduce her co-members to the Yosakoi dance. The board members were very appreciative and asked a lot of questions. It was an energetic, short performance in which the group was able to give a short history of Yosakoi and to share this style of dance with the Alumni board members.

Chinese Lunar New Year Performance

1 02 2009


Shuffling back and forth on the back stage with unease and anticipation shuddering through us all, we watched as the acts before us concluded and the curtains closed. It was then our turn. We rushed out carefully so as to not let our narukos clack together and positioned ourselves in front of the large curtain with last minute straightening of our costumes so bright and eye catching. The curtains open with the sound of the swiftly moving velvet cloth, and we all stepped forward onto the center of the stage to hear an eruption of applause encircle Forum Hall. Oh yes! They knew who we are and were equally excited to see our show. The dance began; the familiar melody rhythmically pulsing with reverberating Japanese high and low notes each cueing a new action. We danced in form and we danced in fun. Even through our winded breaths, we danced with a big smile on our faces. It came to a close and we bowed and took our leave of the stage excited to have made a good performance that night. Being a Japanese dancing group at a Chinese New Year celebration may seem odd, but if the audience whose cheers and clapping echoed through forum hall were signs, then we were well received.


Rhythm of Nations Night

28 01 2009

Rhythm of Nationg Night

On January 28th, 5 members of KSU Yosakoi took part in Delta Sigma Theta’s Rhythm of Nations night. The activity brought together dance groups from different cultures and allowed members of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, as well as the other dance groups, to learn different styles of dance. The Poize hip-hop team taught a hip-hop routine, and DJ Luis taught the group how to tango. Yosakoi was the third and final group to teach, and showed everyone how to dance Nengara-Nenjuu. The small group, which met on the second floor of the Union, was excited to learn the dance, and had a happy, energetic reaction to the upbeat song. QiuXia led in teaching the whole dance, which both Yosakoi members and those who attended the event danced together. The event was a great way to learn about different styles of dance, and to share a bit of Japanese culture as well as a lot of fun with other K-State students.

Rhythm of Nations Night

Final performance for the year.

18 12 2008

Once again, we performed at the Meadowlark Hills performance Hall on
Monday, December 8 for American Association of University Women (AAUW).
We were, as always, very well received and performed well to our credit.
It was the last performance of the year and fortunately the ladies in attendance
were very curious about our dances and asked many questions. In fact, I would
say that they were one of the most involved crowds we have ever had. During this
performance, we danced three different songs and provided our audience
with a description about our club, our costumes, and some of the dance
moves from Soran-bushi. Their questions provided us an opportunity to
interact with them and share more about ourselves and our dance. It was
also a great pleasure to see their genuine interest in us and the
dances. That’s about all; Good luck and God bless over the holidays!

Yosakoi Opens Hunger Banquet with Performance

14 11 2008

On November 6th, the Yosakoi group performed as the opening entertainment for the annual Hunger Banquet, put on by K-State Fair Trade Advocates. The banquet, which is an activity designed by the Fair Trade group Oxfam, is hosted at various universities around the country with the goal of raising awareness of global hunger and poverty. This year, Fair Trade Advocates invited Yosakoi to perform as an opening treat for those who attended the banquet. Six members of the group performed Yocchore for an audience of about 70 people. Despite some initial difficulties with the sound system, the audience responded warmly to the dance, and afterward several attendees told us the dance was their favorite part of the event.

The Greater Kansas City Japan Festival

2 10 2008

To those of you who were there. This was truly one of our best performances to date. You may not know this but our teacher, adviser, and friend Seji is leaving for Hawaii soon and we wanted to send him off in style. We may have had quite a few new dancers but we all pulled together to create something fantastic. The audience was surely stunned at the performance they received. We got to meet a lot of old friends such and Yasu and Kuniko the story tell whom we have come to have very good repor with. We also made new friends like the KU Asa group, Yoshiko Yamanaka, and Katsura Kaishi whom I have been told is quite famous in Japan and now in America. We did several dances Enough to fill 30 min and each greeted with resounding applause. It seems Yosakoi is just infectious you can’t help but get into the dancing and the music.

The trip itself started in the early morning before anyone should ever be roused from the comforts of their bed. We made out way to KC stopping only once at a convenience store. Arriving we stretched, got our bearings, and went though our dances in the court yard. The festival was for the most part set up the same way it always is The large Tori gate as you walk in with the dress up area for “authentic” Asian style pictures. Both theaters are to the right as well. I know I spent most of my time in the Polsky Theater. I did make it over to Yardley in time to clap and cheer for our own Jun who came in 2nd in the talent show and Yassu who came in first.

After the festival we went to our favorite sushi spot in KC called Sushi Gin. (It’s at 95th and Nall) We probably ate more than was needed but this was a a special occasion as I said previously. Seji’s last show, good times and good food and so it was even more important to finish that off with a good adventure. In classic road trip style we found our Caravan lost for a bit in Lawrence nothing we couldn’t find our way out of but if did allow for a few laughs and more time with the family we have all come to call Yosakoi. As I’m sure I speak for the whole group we will miss both Seji and Chikako Ikeda and always think of you fondly good luck in what ever you do. Hope to see you again soon. Thank you so much for this family you helped create.

-Jordan M