Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dancing in Japan

From the Japan Dance News:

Japan has more ballroom dancers than other country. Ballroom dancing magazines estimate that 14 million Japanese enjoy the pastime through classes at dance schools, university social dancing courses, social clubs, night clubs and competitions.

"A truly happy person is one who can enjoy
the scenery while on a detour."

They also spend a fortune on tuxedos, chiffon-trimmed gowns, and videos that give tips on dancing the waltz, fox trot, tango, cha-cha, rumba and paso doble. Many of the dancers are over 40. They say they dance to get exercise, meet people and have fun.

"Dear Hearts And Gentle People"
by Bing Crosby

In 1880s, after Japan opened up to the outside world, the ballroom dancing of the times was all the rage. But the government clamped down and it was soon prohibited as a form of Western decadence. Needless to say, it did not stop many of them.

"The Tennessee Waltz" by Patti Page

Describing the first encounter with Western-style dancers in Victorian London in 1872, one Japanese government official wrote, "Several couples of men and women appeared, separating and joining together, moving backwards and forwards quickly and slowly...They simply went round and round to the quickening rhythm and here was no singing at all. The music all sounded savage to our ears, and too savage to bear."

Another ballroom boom occurred after World War II when hundred of dance halls were built for occupying American soldiers. But even then it was still considered a seamy "excuse for men to approach to women," an dance instructor told Newsweek.

And it was the American Style of dance that rubbed off on the Japanese. Until recently most dance schools were located in shady neighborhoods near Turkish baths and pachinko parlors. Only in the this century or so has it been embraced by mainstream Japan and the International Style has taken over.

Sign on Pearl City Electrician Truck: Let us remove your shorts.