Japanese Awa Odori processions will come to Paris on May 24, 2015, bringing with them a multitude of Japanese dancers and drummers.
The festival originates from Tokushima City’s Awa Odori (阿波おどり), which is the most famous of many dance festivals held across Japan during the Obon season in mid August. Awa is the former name for Tokushima Prefecture while Odori means dance.
Between August 12th and 15th, spectators and dancers come to Tokushima in the thousands to see this “Fool’s Dance” whose origins date back 400 years. This nickname comes from the lyrics to a common dance song, which translates as follows: “Fools dance and fools watch, if both are fools, you might as well dance”.
Although some events happen during the daytime, the main spectacle takes place between 18:00 and 22:30, when groups of dancers called “ren” perform in blocked off streets of downtown Tokushima. Ranging from amateurs assembled just days before the event, to veterans who practice year round, the ren come from Tokushima, other parts of Japan and as far away as the United States.
The groups dance through designated spectator areas (enbujo) in a procession, playing traditional musical instruments as they go. Though the dance steps are simple, ren distinguish themselves with difficult variations and colorful uniforms. Women wear cotton robes called yukata, while men wear happi (shorter yukata over shorts or pants). Like the dance, these standards vary from group to group.
(from Japan Guide’s page on Awa Odori)
Here’s the official trailer of the festival:
The processions are actually open for participation, and as of now, people interested in participating just need to provide an email address as well as their name on the registration page.
Japanese nationals or people living in Japan can register on a separate registration page, where they also have the opportunity to book an ANA-organized tour to Paris. This tour from Japan can be booked without the requirement of participating in the festival procession.
The Tsunagari Taiko Center in Paris is holding a preparatory Awa Odori workshop on February 7 from 15:00 to 18:00 hours in their atelier. Registrations for the workshop are open on this page. The atelier is located in 12 Rue Froment, 75011 Paris – you can also find it on our map.