Afro-Japanese Dance — Megumi
Dance is observed in all human societies. People readily move their bodies to rhythm or music and express anything such as one’s spirit, deepest inner thoughts, some histories and social issues which cannot be expressed in the language. The reason why I choose the “dance” as a topic is that I have been learning dance for about 17 years and experienced many genres of the dance, such as traditional Japanese dance, Hip-hop, Cheer-dance and Jazz Dance that I personally assume that I am the only one who can imagine the Afro-Japanese future visions in terms of “Dance culture”. Moreover, I found that the dance is my spirit, person itself and the silent poetry of my soul which can also be said that dance is the art, sport, tools and the hidden language of the soul. This paper will explore the analyzes of dance’s history based on the black culture, its facts, my future visions of dance culture and conclude with my thoughts.
This paragraph will analyze the history and its features of Afro-dance culture and other dances. Dance has developed all human societies each and every day. Especially, African-American dance has developed within Black communities in everyday spaces, rather than in studios, schools or companies. Hip hop is one of the popular dances and cultures created by African Americans and Hispanic community in 1973 in New York City. These days, hip hop has become famous all around the world, not only the dance but also fashion, music and art, and it is a very famous genre of dance in Japan as well. Furthermore, Jazz dance is another famous genre of dance created by African-American in the United States arose in the middle of the 20th century. The term ‘jazz dance’ has been used in ways that have little or nothing to do with jazz music since the 1940s, the Hollywood movies and Broadway shows have used them. Recently, Jazz dance is often danced with pop music and it is the basis of the dance. Therefore, it is notable that dances created by Afro-people have been popular worldwide. While focusing on the viral afro-dances styles, there are countless dances which are very similar to the dances that already exist all around the world. For example, dance’s movement of “Kapakujemu Dance ‘’ from Nigeria and “Pilolo Dance” from Ghana looks very similar to another dance genre which is Hip hop, House, and New jack swing. Moreover, American celebrities such as Beyoncé, Rihanna and Childish Gambino were doing some African dances on the stage and music video, which many of the artists and dancers were already involving with some other genre of the dance and the music tastes. In terms of celebrities, Michael Jackson is the well-known African-American dancer who has his own dance styles. Regarding this, it can be said that there are a number of notable African-American artists and modern dance companies using African-American cultural dance and Afro-dance culture as an inspiration.
Secondly, this paragraph will explore my future visions of Afro-Japanese and its reasons. Since I learned about dance evolution and its history, I discovered that African people are talented in those dance moves as most of the famous dancers and genres are based on the black culture. Therefore, I strongly believe that Afro-Japanese are the people who spread another genre of the dance and its culture to the next generation. When it comes to the visions of Afro-Japanese dances, it seems to be difficult to collaborate both of the features since the taste of Japanese music is very different from African music. However, they both have the wildness and powerful features which they have unique dance moves and it is both based on the culture and the story of historical background in terms of the expression of its dance. One of the examples of Japanese dance which might be able to collaborate is Yosakoi, which is the dance with highly energetic moves, combining traditional Japanese dance movements with modern music. Because, the hand moves are sometimes quite similar to the West African dance called “Sinte ‘’ and the moves of hopping around is very similar to the “Kpakujemu dance”. Another example is the “Suzume Odori ‘’, which is “Sparrow dance” in English, the traditional dance in Sendai in Miyagi prefecture that requires folding fan to perform. The movement of skipping like sparrow on the ground is indistinguishable to those of African dances like “Wango” from Senegal and the hand moves are very alike to the African dance called “Yahooze ‘’ from Nigeria, even if without the folding fans. Therefore, it can be said that the collaboration of both traditional based dance styles, the beautiful Japanese dance and cool African dance is a good match. However, I assume these kinds of ideal traditional mixed dance will not become viral since it requires the professional knowledge and its skills of both culture and dances and most of the people are not familiar with these dances. That is to say, in order to make the Afro-Japanese dances viral, I believe mixing the familiar type of dance like jazz dance made by African American, a little bit of Japanese traditional beautiful dance moves like “Bon odori’’ or “Yosakoi” and African dances of “Gwara Gwara” which many famous dances involve in Hip Hop or any performances can be a good match to make the Afro Japanese dances more popular. The part of the video which I danced is also included those features I mentioned above. I used the song called “Kak Up Your Bumper” by SI as the taste of music is reggae type and it is becoming popular recently in Japan and also, I thought this song can express the smooth moves of both Japanese and powerful African moves. In my dance, I involved the jazz dance the most as its genre is the basis of the dance and it can express the both African dance and Japanese dance moves since the genre itself needed a modern ballet skill and little bit of hip-hop dance skills. Moreover, I tried not to emphasis too much of both dance features as I believe it will not become viral if the dance dramatically changed from the familiar dance. Furthermore, I expect that involving a little bit of dance features is the key to become popular since American celebrities has involved a part of the African dance on the stage and emphasis it so which makes people realize the awesomeness of African dance. Provided that, since the dance has been changing each and every day, and the fact that African culture has influenced the dance culture, so does music, Afro-Japanese will definitely succeed in the near future by spreading the new dance culture either the traditional style way or the modern familiar style way.
In conclusion, it is significant that African culture has influenced the dance culture and its history. From a global point of view, no one never knows about the future but there is one thing I am sure is that black culture itself has influenced the society and it is a key to the world trend not only the dance, but also the fashion and music as well. What’s more, there is no denying that dance culture is made by black culture. I wish many people to realize this fact and the awesomeness of black culture and I hope the talented Afro-Japanese will create the next generation of Japanese dance culture.
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Jazz dance. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://www.britannica.com/art/jazz-dance
Wang, T. (2015, January 21). A hypothesis on the biological origins and social evolution of music and dance. Retrieved January 28, 2021, fromhttps://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnins.2015.00030/full
“ Sendai Suzume Odori. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://sendai-travel.jp/activities/suzume-odori/