Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe Returning to Philadelphia, 3/28-4/1

The world-touring Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe returns to Philadelphia just before the Japan America Society's 18th Annual Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. The Tokyo-based troupe will bring their lively performances, which combine traditional Japanese folk dances with thundering percussion and visually stunning costumes, to Philadelphia and its suburbs. A listing of the show times, venues and ticketing information is below.

Event dates are as follows:

  • Saturday, March 28, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at The Painted Bride Art Center located at 230 Vine Street in Philadelphia, PA. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door and can be purchased online at www.paintedbride.org.
  • Sunday, March 29, 7 p.m. at Swarthmore College in Lang Concert Hall located at 500 College Avenue in Swarthmore, PA. This event is free.
  • Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 p.m. at West Chester University in the Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall at the Philips Memorial Hall Building located at 700 South High Street in West Chester, PA. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.wcupa.edu/visitingartists/VAS.asp.
  • Wednesday, April 1, 7 p.m. at Westtown School located at 975 Westtown Road in West Chester, PA. This event is free.

The Japanese word "taiko" refers to a broad range of Japanese drums. Since their introduction in the 6th century, they have been used as tools for communication, military endeavors and religious ceremonies. Today, they are used mainly in festivals and theatrical performances.

The Tamagawa Taiko Drum and Dance Troupe is a part of Japan's Tamagawa University and is led by renowned kabuki dance instructor, Isaburoh Hanayagi. Hanayagi made his stage debut at age three at the Hanayagi School and under the tutelage of his father, Yoshigosaburoh Hanayagi. The Hanayagi School is the largest school of kabuki dance in Japan, with over 200,000 members. In addition to teaching kabuki dance classes, Hanayagi also instructs in subjects such as Creative Japanese Folkloric Dances and Comparative Study of Western and Eastern Dances. His personal repertoire of kabuki dance includes more than 150 pieces.

There are many family-friendly events during the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival. Philadelphians can get a true taste of Japan at the Japanese Culture Week events taking place at the Liberty Place Rotunda. From Monday, April 6 to Friday, April 10, participants can get hands-on experience with kimono dressing, origami and other activities. The Cherry Blossom 10K/5K on Saturday, April 11 and the centerpiece of the Festival, Sakura Sunday, is on April 12 at the Horticultural Center in West Fairmount Park. Sakura Sunday is a full day of traditional Japanese food, live music and dance performances, martial arts, colorful crafts and activities for all ages. Additional events during the Festival include a food tasting, an amateur sushi-making competition, kaiseki dinner, film screening and more. A complete listing of events is available online at http://www.subarucherryblossom.org and event information is available by calling 267-348-0250.

The Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia is a project of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) and has tremendous support from Subaru of America, Inc as title sponsor. The Festival aims to foster a better understanding of the cultural, social, and educational customs of Japan building on the JASGP commitment to plant and maintain cherry trees in local parks. To date, JASGP has planted more than 1,000 cherry trees, supplementing the 1,600 flowering trees presented by the Japanese government as a gesture of friendship in 1926.

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