Kassandra Gibson '17
Performing Bon Odori at Hirakata City Hall
While studying at Kansai Gaidai University in the Fall of 2016, I was lucky enough to be able to participate in and perform with a traditional dance group. We first went to an event to wear kimono and learn a bit about Bon Odori, a traditional Japanese dance. Several ladies came and gave a small performance of a few dances for us and then taught us some basic dances. Afterward, we were invited to practice and perform at their recital. A few of the ladies from the dance group came every week to help us practice for the performance. We wore kimono and practiced with the fans and cherry blossoms for the dance. We learned how to move in the kimono, where to place our feet, and how to hold the fans for each dance move. We rehearsed for about 5 weeks before performing at a concert at Hirakata City Hall. When it came to performance day, we were dressed up in very elaborate kimono and our hair and makeup was done. A few weeks after the performance, we gathered with the ladies to have a party. They made us many homemade Japanese dishes, and we watched the video of our performance and played many fun games in Japanese together. It was a very rich cultural experience that I will never forget.