The Ryukyu - Contemporary

A small village on the Ryukyu Islands of Japan fights to recover after a disastrous typhoon hits, destroying everything in its path. This inspirational story, told through the medium of song and dance, is about human strength, love, and hope in the wake of adversity.

Ship of the Ryukyu is a collective of singers, dancers, and musicians from Okinawa, formed to boost the interest in Okinawa’s history and culture. The lighting and music effects are imperative to this piece as they enliven the story of Furusato (Homeland) and successfully convey an array of atmospheres - from the tranquility of a serene fishing community to the violent tropical storm as it rips apart the village. Through traditional song and dance we see the recovery process of the village; with music uniquely created from the building utensils the hammering of wood adeptly turns into a percussion recital.

The energetic and captivating drumming encapsulates the distinct culture of Okinawa, one that is quite different from mainland Japan. The musical fragments of the performance, sung in the native language, give a graceful portrayal of the warmth and beauty of the Southern Islands. However, at times the singing was a little challenging as the distinct musicality and tone is not conventionally melodic and at points was more like chanting. Nevertheless, the duets were delivered beautifully and disguised any dissonance. The dancers must be commended for their enthralling performance as they perfectly captured the story with great emotion and passion simply through their movements.

With a mix of Okinawan Eisa dancing, karate, mesmerizing costumes and a slice of audience participation you are kept thoroughly entertained and the climatic ending rounds off the dynamic performance splendidly.

Reviews by Emma Steedman

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Performances

The Blurb

A modern twist on folk culture from Okinawa, blending lively contemporary music with traditional Ryukyu dance. Inspiring tales of love, hardship and hope, fusing old and new in a bright, bold production suitable for all the family.

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