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What is music…what is dance?

if one definition of music can be “organized sound in space and time” then can dance also be “organized movement in space and time”?  If so, then baking a cake is dance.  Brushing your teeth is dance.  Giving someone directions is dance.  Walking to the subway is dance.  Tonight I saw a dance performance held in the renown former Geisha Ichimaru’s home.  It was a beautiful, well-crafted performance by the group Oyatsu Table without any of the typical “dance” preconceptions (at least that I have).  “Skill” in this particular performance would not be defined by how fast or clever a person moved, but rather how clear, elegant, simple and non-pretentious a person dealt with her surroundings, the building, the other dancers, a book or a 1-month old baby.  Yes, you heard it right, a tiny baby was also part of the show.

Shimmying on the floor by audience members before the show in order to squeeze in more people was later reflected in the show by the dancers, this squeezing yourself in, so others have an opportunity…this squeezing in together to create more space… Not sure it was on purpose, but it seemed appropriate to the space and feel of the evening.  The dancers’ response to the river outside, the bridge and the subway zooming by periodically formed a natural part of the ebb and flow of the evening.   But the most profound statement was the simplicity of movement, the clarity of it, in each action, and how the human body relates so well to the construction of a home: the roof and the head, the spine and arms reflected in the pillars and ledges, the mouth and eyes as the windows and doors of our souls.  The relationship between the home and the woman’s body in particular was beautifully projected: the giving, producing, nurturing of both “bodies”, and the handing down of generational duties and traditions which creates both stability as well as frustration of expectations.  I was completely moved by tonight’s show and thrilled that I could see Manami Maeda (the Director of this show) from the International House perform in such a special location with such special dancers.

Group name: Oyatsu Table
Performance Title: “Itama no Ma”
The venue: Lucite Gallery (former renown Geisha, Ichimaru’s house)
Directed by Manami Maeda
Choreographed and performed by Haruka Akagi, Tomoyo Okada, Sachiko Oda, Minako Kimura and Manami Maeda

Oyatsu means snack or refreshments or sweets that children eat between proper meals.


No. 1: never leave home without a map (check!)

No. 2: never leave home without your camera (oops! … many missed photo opps tonight)

No. 3: never cut food with your chopsticks (oops again.  wish I knew that before I slashed away at the beautiful fish my landlady offered me the other night at dinner)



  1. well, you do *sort* of cut with your chopsticks, but in one hand. kenta is very good at this one-hand, two-stick cut. i guess it’s more like a “slice-open” or a “pull-apart” though. gambare!

  2. Jane, thnaks for including JUSFC in your email. I have bookmarked your blog. It looks like you are off to a great start. I love the tortoise! That’s a first. We look forward to hearing about your experiences. JUSFC

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