The Joining In Dance
This dance is only
for dancing, not for watching.
It’s how life should be?
For 32 nights a year, the town of Gujo Hajiman in central Japan dances. And their month long traditional folk dancing festival, Gujo Odori, culminates in a three day period where everyone dances all night – from 8pm until 5am. And we are lucky enough to join them. After all the festival is described as a dance to be be danced rather than a dance to be viewed.
It’s a beautiful spectacle, hundreds of kimono clad people, old and young, clacking wooden shoes (geta) on the narrow streets of a Japanese mountain town. The lines of people moving as one stretch from the town crossing in every direction. It doesn’t matter if you don’t know any of the ten dances. The philosophy is that everyone joins in. Copy and you will learn. And so we do; becoming part of the arresting, colourful swirl of a whole town moving to one beat.