CLASS AT KWTC:
1) Through various exercises and drills, we: heighten our awareness of posture, balance, poise; develop our ability to consciously relax and tense different parts of the body; build endurance and strength in the lower body, especially in the KOSHI (the hips, thighs, and pelvic area); work on independence between the left and right arms and upper and lower body.
2) Occasionally I will teach certain movements from such dances as ShiShi Odori or Oni Kenbai to allow students to explore moving their bodies in distinctly “Japanese” ways: low center of gravity, movement very earth-bound and solid in general.
3) We study traditional festival drumming pieces, some music from the hogaku repertoire, as well as compositions of my own and of colleagues in Kodo. We work on not just the rhythms but on particular movements involved in the pieces, the particular musical devices- the tempo changes, the sudden stops and starts, the stretched beats, visual and rhythmic cues, the shouts, etc that are a vital part of Japanese music.
4) SINGING- We study some traditional songs, such as Kiyari Uta and Hachijo as well as stylizes kakegoe shouts.
5) I EXPLAIN to the best of my limited knowledge, the background of each piece and rhythm: the original context in which they are performed, about the region from which they are from, etc- in order that the students have a better understanding of the meaning and feelings behind the rhythms and pieces.
The general idea for Beginners and Fundamentals classes is anyone is allowed to come to any class with the understanding that if they aren’t able to keep up with a certain exercise or not yet familiar with a certain song, they will be asked to sit out and observe until they are up to speed, so that more advanced students are able to push their abilities further.
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