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Bon Dancing Travel 2000
August 16 "Niino Bon Dancing" #3
The children started the dance
9:00 PM

Bon Dancing started at last.
It's about time to end if it were Bon Dancing in the urban area.
.
The ones who started dancing were the elementary school and junior high school children in casual wear. And it was by twos and threes. They also held back to dance and the dance was unequal.
Here in Niino, the local community plays the leading role consistently in Bon Dancing, and the mood is very naive. It is a graceful Bon Dancing that is completely indifferent to the hustle and bustle of the tourists

The dance begins
What is different from the Bon Dancings that we have seen before is that in Niino, people use fans.
Every dancer wears a fan in the obi (belt) and they spread and use this in the four types of dances. Some people pick the stick of the fan between their fingers and some hold the pivot. There is a variety of holding the fan, and it is interesting. There is an opinion saying that the reason why they use fans in Niino is the influence of Ise Ondo, and there are Bon Dancings that use fans in various places.

Fans are indispensable in Niino

Kimono shops deal in various fans
In the other hand, many people wear Japanese sandals, and few people wear getas.
A very big characteristic of Niino Bon Dancing is that they lead the chorus by using only the natural voice and they don't use musical accompanyments and drums. Some singers lead the chorus in unison with the lead singer of a cappella on the scaffold, and the dancers answer to this by returning calls and shouts. It is a style of simple "dialogue", unchanged since olden times. It seems that they performed in the same way around Gujo region until around the Taisho Era.
We flung ourselves into the "Rest Station"
A few minutes past 10:00 PM

The number of dancers incresed, and the Bon Dancing became full of life.
There are 7 types of dances in total and 6 types among them will be danced repeatedly. I knew the general principles that "A dance starts from the movement of the feet", and I was confident of learning the dance. However, many of the dances use fans (it is a little bit close to "Mai dance") and I was focused in the movements of the fans which I was not very used to, so I had a hard time to grasp the techniques of the dances.

"Ohgi (fan) Dance is close to Mai (a type of dance)"

This one is the cheerful "Te (hand) Dance"
The songs of the Niino Bon Dancing was naive and fantastic, but it was tedious and tough for us in that time of the hour.
Since we were tired after "Three consecutive days of Tetsuya Odori (all night dancing)", we were very sleepy after 11:00 PM.
We took a look at the "Temporary Rest Station" which was located in the first floor of machiya (a house in a traditional street) of the old private house. It seemed that the "lecture meeting" that was held in this location has ended. The blankets were piled up in the corner, and a few people who looked like viewers seemed to have laid out the blankets and fallen asleep. The two of us took the opportunity and entered the house, and flung ourselves using our baggage as a pillow.
We didn't want to miss the mysterious climax which will take place before dawn. We must not fall fast asleep...
The dance was bright in the night of plateau
I opened my eyes and as I happened to look outdoors, a circle of the dance passed slowly by the front door.
Yanagita couldn't sleep very well after all because of being tired and excited. There was a lot of time before dawn, but we had a second thought that "It is rare opportunity to learn the dance" and decided to get up. When we slipped out of the Rest Station, the number of the dancers decresed markedly and the circle has become considerably smaller.



As may be expected of a place located in high altitude, the night was chilly although it was midsummer.

Today is the third day of the tour, and we had again, a beautiful full moon. The bright moonlight made a shadow on the old street, and the circle of the dance turns around quietly. It seems that Bon Dancing reached the highlight. The mood of the dance became fantastic.
It seemed that in this time of the hour, the people who remain in the dancing circle are those who love to dance and those who are good at it. It seemed that the choreography was becoming more equal.
We joined the circle, and as we danced losing all awareness of time, we began to get the feel of the dance little by little. Our mind became clear probably because we rested for a while, and we also felt better. Ishimitsu was dancing in the other side of the dancing circle.
Six types of dances were repeatedly danced endlessly in the street in small hours.
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