Gujo Dance Workshop 2023

The Center for Japanese Language and Culture hosted the "Gujo Dance Workshop 2023" in the Japanese tatami-mat room of the Center on Wednesday, May 17, 2023. The Gujo Dance is one of the traditional local performing arts and is designated as significant intangible folk cultural asset in Japan (also designated as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in November 2022). Around 20 people including international students, teaching and administrative staff attended the workshop. The workshops were annually held from 2012 to 2019 but were suspended by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. The "Gujo Dance Workshop 2023" resumed when the pandemic situation finally subsided.

Before the opening of the workshop, the members of an international exchange support group called, "Sepia Kai" (Mino City, Gifu) helped the international students dress in summer kimonos they chose. Students from Belgium, China, France, Ghana, Indonesia, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam looked very excited about choosing their own kimonos.

Mr. ENDO Mitsuo and Ms. KUMAZAWA Rie from the "Gujo Odori Preservation Society" and the "Gujo Odori Kuchimyogata" were invited to teach students how to dance. At the beginning of the workshop, the two instructors briefly explained about Gujo City and Gujo Dance, then the participants practiced two dances called, "Kawasaki" and "Harukoma" both of which are the most popular dances in Gujo Dance.

The instructors were impressed with the smooth performances of students who practiced dancing for only one hour and a half. Even those who were struggling to master unique movements were encouraged by the words of the instructors, "It is not a matter of good or bad. Enjoying dancing with big smiles is what this workshop is all about." Being inspired by their words, the participants became relaxed and started to enjoy moving well to music.

In the competition to determine the outstanding dancers, ten students were chosen by the instructors as "Best Performers" for their strong passion and sincere efforts for dancing. The instructors presented them with some small gifts associated with Gifu.

The "Gujo Dance Workshop 2023" gave international students another invaluable opportunity to experience Japan and Gifu firsthand.

Group photo in "Kawasaki" pose
Students practicing "Kawasaki"
Students practicing "Harukoma"
Instructors and "Best Performers"



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