Taiko Troupe Dances to the Beat of Different Drummers

April 5, 2010

Thunderous, energetic drumming meets fluidly elegant Japanese folkloric dance when 40 drummers and dancers from Tokyo's Tamagawa University take the stage in the Levitt Auditorium at the University of the Arts April 7 at 7 p.m.

The performance promises fantastic feats of athleticism and balletic coordination, with drummers who carry out acrobatic movements as they beat the drums with large, cylindrical sticks. Marked by colorful costumes, masks and unique choreography of traditional and original works, the troupe hails from one of Japan's top performing arts schools and is ranked as one of the top 15 taiko groups in the world.

The performance will end the troupe's three-day college barnstorming tour as part of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia, which wraps up April 17.

Since 1961, Tamagawa has toured Mexico, England, Greece, Canada, Malaysia, Russia, Indonesia, Africa and the United States. Its members have been invited to the Philadelphia Cherry Blossom Festival every year since 2003.

"Taiko" is the Japanese word for a kind of large drum of ancient origin, but outside Japan, the word has become shorthand for the modern art of kumi-daiko, or ensemble drumming.

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