Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts

BANDO KOTOJI and Traditional KABUKI DANCE Make Philadelphia Debut at the Kimmel Center, March 25

FEBRUARY 28, 2012

In Celebration of Philadelphia’s Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, March 23 to April 21


As part of Philadelphia’s Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, Kabuki Dance makes its Philadelphia debut with nihon buyo master, Bando Kotoji, at the Kimmel Center’s Perelman Theater on March 25, 2012 at 3 p.m.  Accompanied by six live musicians, the program will include four traditional dances that showcase the elegant, refined art form capturing nearly four centuries of history.


The program for Kabuki Dance consists of four vibrant dances including the celebratory Sanbaso; the sorrowful Cho No Michiyuki (The Last Journey of Two Butterflies), about two lovers who meet in the afterworld as butterflies; the dramatic dance, Tamatori Ama (The Pearl Diver), about a woman in search of a stolen treasure; and, Yoshino-Yama (Yoshino Mountain), an excerpt from the famous kabuki play, Yoshitsune Senbon-zakura (Yoshitsune and the Thousand Cherry Trees), whose story is set on the mountain famous for its magnificent cherry blossoms.

Kabuki Dance featuring Bando Kotoji is organized by Japan Society and funded by The Japan Foundation in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to Washington, D.C. and New York City. The program’s East Coast tour also includes stops at Washington, D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on March 23; Boston’s Paramount Theatre on March 27; and Towson University on April 1.


This event is presented in conjunction with the Japan American Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) as part of their Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival.


Tickets for Kabuki Dance Theater are available at $25 to $40, and can be purchased by calling 215-893-1999, online at, or at the Kimmel Center Box Office located on Broad and Spruce streets, Philadelphia, Pa. (open daily from 10am to 6pm, later on performance evenings).

Bando Kotoji is currently executive master of the Bando Association, a discipline of dance originated by the Kabuki actor/dancer Bando Mitsugoro III (1775-1832) and passed on through wealthy merchant families living in the city of Edo (now known as Tokyo). A student of Bando School traditional dance since age six, Bando Kotoji formed his own group in 1981 and has since regularly performed at Tokyo’s National and Kabuki-za Theaters. His career has also taken him to France, Norway, Russia, South America, Indonesia, Thailand, and Korea. Bando is active in the preservation and reincarnation of traditional Japanese performing arts and frequently collaborating with Noh actors, contemporary theater artists, and flamenco dancers for hybrid productions. He often serves as commentator for TV and radio programs which focus on the traditional performing arts.


Hananomoto Kai (dancer) began his nihon buyo training at the age of four. After graduating from Nihon University's Department of Theater in 1998 with a major in nihon buyo, Kai began his career as a professional dancer and became head of the Hananomoto School in 2010. He has received numerous awards from The Japanese Classical Dance Association and has performed at many prestigious venues and events throughout Japan and abroad.


Nishizaki Sakurako (dancer) began training at the age of two under Bando Kotoji, Nishizaki Ryokue and Nishizaki Emino. After graduating from college, she took her current stage name and became Nishizaki Ryokue's successor. As a member of "Odori no Kukan," Sakurako has performed throughout Japan and abroad in Indonesia, Thailand and America. She has recently begun teaching kabuki dance to children.


Furusawa Ufo (dancer) is the eldest daughter of Furusawa Yu, master of the Furusawa School of nihon buyo. She became master of the Furusawa School in 2008. In addition to her training in jiuta-mai and goten-mai, Ufo is also active in experimenting with non-classical dance forms. She runs training studios across Japan, and is a recipient of the Green Ribbon New Artists Award, the Osaka Cultural Festival Prize and the Kyoto Art Award.


Nishizaki Emino (dancer) attended Nihon University's Department of Theater with a major in nihon buyo. While still in college, she debuted in 1987 with "Odori no Kukan" and has continued to perform with them since. Most recently, she held a solo performance at Oedo Ueno-Hirokoujitei Inn in 2011. Emino is an active teacher of kabuki dance to children and also lends her choreography to various performance events.


Kawamoto Shiyo (assistant) debuted in 1965 under her previous stage name Kawamoto Koyo, having trained under Bando Kotoji, and in 2005 became master of a branch of the Kawamoto School of nihon buyo, thereby taking her current stage name. In 2007, she held her first recital at the Nihon-bashi Theatre; a second recital is scheduled for 2012.


Kawamoto Ryuyo (koken/stagehand) belongs to Kawamoto School of nihon buyo. He began learning nihon buyo after serving as an officer in Japan's Air Self-Defense Force and studying film making. He studied under Bando Kotoji and has performed in many productions as a member of "Odori no Kukan."


Takemoto Koshiko (chanter) began gidayu music training under Takemoto Koshimichi in 1972 while still in college. In 2007, Koshiko became the first female gidayu chanter to perform abroad (France). Since then, she has toured to the Netherlands, Spain, South Korea and Russia as the chanter in traditional puppet theater troupes. She has won numerous awards from Japan Council of Performers' Organizations. Koshiko was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset in 2000 by the Japanese government and currently sits on the board of directors of The Gidayu Association.


Takemoto Koshiharu (chanter) was inspired to become a professional gidayu chanter after hearing a performance by Takemoto Koshimichi, the oldest living female gidayu chanter (currently 100 years old). Koshiharu made her stage debut in 2005 at the National Theatre and has since performed in many concerts and workshops. In February 2009, she performed with bunraku puppeteers at Kioi Hall in Tokyo and in June 2009, at the Japan-Korea Traditional Music Exchange in South Korea.


Tsurusawa Kazu (shamisen) graduated in 1996 as the 48th alumna of the Gidayu Association's training course and began training under Takemoto Komanosuke in 1997. In 2010, Kazu joined the Hachioji Kuruma Ningyo puppet company and performed with them in Russia. In addition to appearing on NHK TV programs featuring gidayu music, she has served as an instructor for special classes organized and presented by The Gidayu Association.


Tsurusawa Yaya (shamisen) graduated in 2001 as the 54th alumna of the Gidayu Association's training course and began training under Takemoto Yanotayu. She made her debut in the Female Gidayu Concert at National Engei Hall. She has performed regularly in concerts organized and presented by The Gidayu Association, including nihon buyo recitals and traditional puppet theater shows.


Fujii Hirokazu (jiuta) graduated from the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music in 1983 and received his Masters degree in traditional Japanese music in 1985. In addition to performing live concerts, Hirokazu has appeared on TV and radio, recorded CDs and taught in many cities in Japan, currently teaching at his alma mater. Hirokazu serves as a board member for several traditional music organizations including Japan Sankyoku Association for Koto, Shamisen and Shakuhachi, and is an advisor for the 21st Century Hogaku Traditional Music Association.


Mochizuki Taikichi (hayashi/percussion) began traditional music percussion training in 1950 under Mochizuki Tainosuke, becoming authorized as a master in 1965. He went on to train with the Living National Treasure Katada Kisaku. He has performed in many nihon buyo and kabuki performances in Japan and abroad, and also composes musical arrangements for shin buyo and kabuki theater.

Since 1953, the Japan Society’s performing arts program has introduced audiences to both contemporary and traditional Japanese dance, music and theater through more than 500 individual programs. For more than a century, the Japan Society has hosted sophisticated presentations of Japanese art and culture and fostered open, critical dialogue on issues important to the U.S., Japan and East Asia, including public policy, business, language and education. The leading U.S. organization committed to deepening the global relationship between the United States and Japan was founded in 1907. Its headquarters are located in the first building designed by a leading Japanese architect (Junzo Yoshimura) in New York City. Following World War II, the stewardship of John D. Rockefeller from 1952 to 1978 strengthened the Society and led to the unified vision that continues to sustain the organization today.


Established in 1994, the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) is an association of individuals, corporations and organization in the Greater Philadelphia region. Its mission is to bring peoples of Japan and Unites States closer together in understanding, appreciation, and cooperation by promoting and encouraging a better understanding of the business, cultural, social, educational and political practices and customs of Japan and the United States.



Kimmel Center, Inc., a charitable, not-for-profit organization, owns, manages, supports and maintains The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, which includes Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, Innovation Studio and the Merck Arts Education Center. Kimmel Center, Inc. also manages the Academy of Music, owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association, and the University of the Arts Merriam Theater. Kimmel Center, Inc.’s mission is to operate a world class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience which includes providing arts in education, community outreach and a rich diversity of programming. The 2011/2012 season is sponsored by Citi. For additional information, visit


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