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Frequently Asked Questions (faq)

what is classical Japanese dance?

Also called Nihon buyō or nichibu, it is a classical performing art that grew out of and is very similar to dance of the Kabuki theatre.  Many people in the West also call this Kabuki dance. Japanese classical dance can be performed by men or women. All dancers need to study both male and female styles in order to portray any character.

what is Kabuki dance?

If a particular dance performed in the Kabuki theatre is performed in another venue by dancers instead of by actors, it could still be thought of as Kabuki dance, providing the choreography is the same as that performed in the Kabuki theatre. The choreography must be authentic to the theatre.


can I study Japanese classical dance -- even if I’m not ethnically Japanese?

Yes. There have already been non-Japanese who were allowed to study earlier, some even becoming natori or shihan. You can also perform, and even dance male style if you are female, and vice versa.


what is a ryū?

Think of a ryū as a formal organization or school of a traditional art that has its own particular style of doing things.  Ryū exist in most, if not all, of the traditional Japanese arts.  Different ryū within the same art form do the same basic things, but do them in different ways, according to their own founding philosophies. 


what is the Sōke Fujima-ryū?

During the long 300-year history of the Sōke Fujima-ryū, its Grandmasters have often been -- and are now -- choreographers for the Kabuki theatre, choreographing some of its most well-known and beloved classics. Here is an interview with our current Grandmaster, Fujima Kanjūrō VIII.

can I study with the Sōke Fujima-ryū in Japan?

Each case is different.  Please get in touch with IchiFuji-kai first if you live in the New York tri-state area, and we will discuss the possibilities with you.

what basic equipment do I need to study Japanese classical dance?

You will need:
- tabi or white socks
- a yukata or cotton kimono
- at least 2 himo to hold the yukata closed
- an obi (we recommend a half-width or hanhaba obi to start)
- a fan

do I have to buy them?

You can borrow or rent a yukata (with himo), obi and fan from IchiFuji-kai for a short time while you find out if you would like to continue studying.  If you wish to continue, then we strongly suggest you buy your own.  You will probably want to do that anyway. Many people join because they want to wear kimono and learn how to move well in it.

how do I know if I like it?

Most of the classes have a trial lesson. It might be beneficial to observe a class first, and then take a trial lesson.

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