Nihon-Buyo, the dance of „Kabuki theatre“, was choreographically and dramaturgically developed during the Edo period (1603 – 1868) by the bourgeoisie of big cities such as Edo (Tokyo), Kyoto or Osaka. Kabuki means “singing and dancing theatre“. On the stage, a dream of magnificent colors and stylized aesthetic appears.

On the stage, Japanese dance consists in strictly detailed choreographed movements which tell dramatically events and everyday life scenes of citizens as well as romantically staged historical moments. The Kabuki dance crystallises elements of various traditional Japanese dances such as Kagura (religious dance for gods), Bugaku (ceremonial dance in the emperor court), Dengaku (dance of farmers), Sarugaku (funny dance) and Nô, performed and sponsored in/by the aristocratic Samurai society, conveying the mystic of the Middle Ages in Japan.

Since the middle of the 19th century, Nihon-buyo is regarded as an independent dance art, performed separately from the Kabuki theatre. Since then, various dance schools (Ryuha) hand down their precisely defined moving forms from generation to generation. The strictly defined aesthetic forms represent the basis for individual creativity, giving the dancer endless possibilities for developing her/his particular dance.

Azuma Shizuka