Kagura: Dancing Beyond Time
Alessandra tries Orochi
Kagura is a ritual dance of Shinto, the indigenous faith of Japan. Since ancient times, it has been offered to the gods in thanks for the blessings of nature. In the Iwami region of Shimane Prefecture, Kagura has developed independently of other styles. Contemporary dancer, Alessandra Lupi visits a small village to explore the many dimensions of this magical performing art. Everything she encounters in the village is completely new to her. She stays in the home of a local couple and experiences preparing a local dish. At a kagura rehearsal, she sees a scene from the popular play, Orochi, and is captivated. Orochi is based on the myth of a giant evil serpent with 8 heads. A god finds a way to calm the serpent with sake and slays it. Through her interactions with the performers, who are passing on the tradition to the next generation, she contemplates the meaning of dance. And so she asks to join a local kagura group to dance in the role of Orochi in an autumn festival. Alessandra searches for the connection between kagura and the local way of life.
More than 100 groups hold Kagura performances regularly in Iwami today.
It is a milky, unrefined sake. In the myth it is the sake that Orochi drinks.
Yasaka offers various workshops to experience country life, such as cooking classes.
To reach Yasaka form Tokyo, fly to Hagi Iwami Airport, which takes 1 hour and 45 minutes. From there, it takes 1.5 hours by train and bus.
Traveler:Alessandra Lupi, contemporary dancer (Italy)
Date :Oct. 2-7, 2013
I have been so moved by this journey: moved by all the people I met that made me feel at home, welcoming me with open arms; moved by the stunning Japanese countryside, which is so connected with daily life; moved by the autumn festival itself, with its celebrations and traditions, and of course the amazing dances that I stared at in wonder like a child. The experience of learning Kagura movements enriched me as a dancer too, in the discovery of new themes, rhythms and ways to communicate with the body.
In this journey I forgot the rush of the city and I enjoyed every minute I spent with all the people of the village I visited. I came back with my heart full of deep feelings and strong emotions (and a bit of muscle soreness!).