Sunday, October 11, 2009

rimse: traditional ainu dance

This year, 2009, traditional Ainu dance was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Here's a quote from the UNESCO site on intangible cultural heritage:

Traditional Ainu dance is ...closely connected to the lifestyle and religion of the Ainu. The traditional style involves a large circle of dancers, sometimes with onlookers who sing an accompaniment without musical instrumentation. Some dances imitate the calls and movements of animals or insects; others, like the sword and bow dances, are rituals; and still others are improvisational or purely entertainment. Believing that deities can be found in their surroundings, the Ainu frequently use dance to worship and give thanks for nature. Dance also plays a central role in formal ceremonies such as
Iyomante, in which participants send the deity embodied in a bear they have eaten back to heaven by mimicking the movements of a living bear. For the Ainu, dance reinforces their connection to the natural and religious world and provides a link to other Arctic cultures in Russia and North America.

For the rest of the article click here: UNESCO site. It also has slides and a video showing traditional Ainu dance. The video I've posted below is from YouTube. It's one of my absolutely favorite videos, and shows both the stunning dance of real red-crested cranes and the Ainu dance that derives from it. Enjoy!