With about two weeks to go before starting their spring tour of the Northeast US, the Tamagawa University Taiko and Dance group haven’t forgotten to keep up with their fans as they finish rehearsing and preparing. Through their English-language Facebook page, team members have been posting pictures of past performances, current rehearsals and the occasional doughnuts with cute bear faces (the perfect reward for an intense practice session). They’ve been getting to know their fans better via comment-based conversations, and in return helping us get to know them too: recent posts have described the gender makeup of the group, what kind of majors many of the performers have (not at all limited to performing arts), and how many of this year’s team are new and how many are veterans.
This spring marks the 10th anniversary of the Tamagawa team’s first tour of the US, and they show no sign of slowing down. They play annually to huge crowds in cities such as New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., as well as making stops at local institutions like Swarthmore College and West Chester University. The heart-pounding, thunderous drumming and beautifully choreographed, gracefully and precisely performed dance are one of the biggest draws of the Cherry Blossom Festival’s main event, Sakura Sunday (April 14th, 2013 at Fairmount Park Horticultural Center).
If seeing the Tamagawa team has inspired you to take up the taiko drum, you’re not alone. The Philadelphia Taiko Center began an 8-week taiko course earlier in March, and fellow Philadelphia taiko group Kyo Daiko are offering a 5-week taiko class session beginning April 1st –just in time for cherry blossom season! Catch Tamagawa wherever and whenever you can, and get ready to feel your heart pounding.
You can see Tamagawa at one of many performances