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Daily Helping for January 5th, 2021 – Maigen – Yosakoi

A photo of the Maigen dancers mid-performance, their umbrellas held up in the air.

Okay, not going to lie. This one involved a fair bit of research on my end. That’s because while I absolutely loved this video, I had no idea what I was watching. Who were these dancers? What style of dancing was this? Where was this filmed? And most importantly, where can I take classes, because this all looks like so much fun. Unfortunately, the video doesn’t contain a lot of notes and the comments section has been turned off. But I had a title, and thanks to the power of Google Translate, I discovered that the dancers are a group called Maigen. Or 舞幻 in Japanese.

A bit more googling revealed that this style of dance is called Yosakoi, which originated in Japan in the mid-1950s. It blends traditional dance movements with modern music, and is often performed by large teams of women and men of all ages. Yosakoi dances all feature handheld wooden clappers called Naruko, but other props can be used as well, such as the umbrellas in this video. Yosakoi is also highly energetic, which is why I loved this performance so much. Everyone looks like they’re just having so much fun. Even the dancer in the front who accidentally drops his umbrella looks like he’s having a ball.

Unfortunately, Maigen disbanded in 2016, so there’s limited videos of their performances available. I was, however, able to find their farewell performance, which was also fantastic. But my favourite is still the video above. I couldn’t determine for sure where it was filmed, but I love the informal nature of it. It’s not a professional shoot. It’s probably just someone in the front row recording on a cell phone. But the sun is shining, the dancing is amazing, and everyone looks like they’re having the time of their lives. What more could you want?

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!