The World of Kabuki Choreography *RERUN
Choreographers create the movement and staging of a kabuki performance, contributing hugely to its appeal. Our guest, expert choreographer Fujima Kanjuro, talks about the intricacies of the job. Kanjuro's grandfather, the famous choreographer Fujima Kanso II created modern versions of classical dances that became standard. "Fuji Musume (The Wisteria Maiden)" shows the spirit of the wisteria blossoms as a young girl in love. The giant set makes the actor look like a small, delicate girl.
In another dance created by Kanso II, tap dancing was incorporated into the format of a traditional kyogen comedy. A servant buys some clogs, gets drunk and starts dancing in them!
A dance created by Kanso II about a mother driven mad when her son is kidnapped by slave traders. It is severely simple, making it both traditional and modern at the same time and allowing the full opportunity for the actor to use his entire body to express the grief of the mother.
Kanjuro himself has created pieces for Ainosuke, like this kabuki dance version of "Beauty and the Beast."
The choreographer often must create the entire play, including the costumes and settings as well as the movements. Here, actors hold up ropes to suggest a suspended bridge where the characters fight desperately. The bridge moves to give the stationary audience constantly changing views, like the moving camera in a film.