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Waves Across Time: Traditional Dance and Music of Okinawa

March 18, 2022
Traditional Performance

Friday, March 18 at 7:30 pm—followed by a MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception
Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 pm—followed by an artist Q&A

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of Okinawa’s return to Japan after the U.S.'s post-WWII occupation, a group of the islands' most exquisite dancers will perform a diverse repertoire of Okinawan traditional performing arts accompanied by live music. As specially selected by the young artistic director of the National Theatre Okinawa Michihiko Kakazu, the versatile artists will perform highlights from the traditional repertoire of kumiodori, a noh-inspired theater form developed during the period when the archipelago was an independent kingdom called Ryukyu (15th-19th centuries). The program also features popular folk dances (zo odori) with traditional ensemble music. From the brightly-dyed bingata costumes to the island music's iconic use of pentatonic scales, audiences are invited to relish the history and heritage of Japan's southernmost prefecture.

Performed in Okinawan and Japanese with English surtitles.

A pre-performance lecture begins one hour prior to the start of each performance, led by Dr. James Rhys Edwards. In 2015, he received his doctorate in Ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a dissertation on the aesthetics and politics of performing arts in Okinawa.

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Tickets: $42/$32 members

SHeep Inset

In commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan, Japan Society is engaging in a dynamic year-long exploration of the archipelago’s people, culture, history, and geopolitical significance. See more upcoming events from the Okinawa in Focus series →


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Images: Sakamotobushi © Yohei Oshiro

Waves Across Time: Traditional Dance and Music of Okinawa is supported, in part, by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan through the Japan Arts Council; The JEC Fund; the National Endowment for the Arts and The Asahi Shimbun Foundation. This engagement of Waves Across Time: Traditional Dance and Music of Okinawa is made possible through the ArtsCONNECT program of Mid Atlantic Arts with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.


2021-2022 Performing Arts Season

Lead Sponsor
MetLife Foundation

The season is made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

Major support is generously provided by the Howard Gilman Foundation, Doug and Teresa Peterson, and The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc. Endowment support is provided by the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Endowment Fund and the Endowment for the Performing Arts, established with a leadership gift from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

Howard Gilman

Additional support is provided by the Royal Little Family Foundation, Helen and Kenneth A. Cowin, Dr. and Mrs. Carl F. Taeusch II, Dr. Jeanette C. Takamura, Estate of Alan M. Suhonen, Sarah Billinghurst Solomon and Howard Solomon, Nancy and Joe Walker, Dr. John K. Gillespie, Paula S. Lawrence, Dr. Stephen and Mrs. Michiko Levine, Marjorie Neuwirth, Hiroko Onoyama, Lyndley and Samuel Schwab, and Nora and David Tezanos. Transportation assistance is provided by All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. Yamaha is the official piano provider of Japan Society. MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception is provided by MetLife Foundation.