The Sho-jo-ji Japanese Dancers


Beverly Kerecman
(440) 473-4145
Nanci Taketa
(216) 651-5643

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The Mission and History

The mission of the Sho-jo-ji Japanese Dancers is to preserve, teach, and perform classical and folk dances from Japan.
Currently the group includes of Nisei, Sansei and Yonsei, second, third, and fourth generation from Japan. The group has performed for events in Oberlin, Painesville, Strongsville and Columbus. For over fifty years, the Sho-jo-ji Japanese Dancers have performed at festivals, special events, schools, and universities in Ohio. The group incorporates volunteers whose efforts carry out the mission. The Japanese American Citizens League of Cleveland sponsors the dancers. The group started in 1956, with three very talented Japanese immigrants, Linda Omura, Yoshiko Baker, and Dolly Semonco. Each dancer brought their own knowledge of Japanese dance; the classical Nishikawa School of Japanese dance, experience from the Takarazuka Dance Troupe, Japanese folk dance and ballet. This eclectic blend of styles is performed by the existing members of the group. Donations of time and money are welcome.

Description of art form:

Dance posterThe dancers wear the traditional costume of Japan, a vibrant kimono, dress, which is tied with a brocaded obi, belt. Over 200 rules of proper dress and movement in the kimono influence the art of classical dance in Japan.
Most of the Japanese Classical Dances performed by the Sho-jo-ji Japanese Dancers are from the mid 1800’s. At that time, Japanese dance underwent a reformation from the Noh and Kabuki theatres and many artists formed their own schools.  Brightly colored fans and delicate tissue-paper parasols are used with graceful gestures to depict the stories and moods of the dances.
Japanese folk dances are repeated movements danced in a circle moving in a counter clockwise manner. We encourage the members of the audience to join our circle and dance with us. These are the same folk dances that have been enjoyed at celebrations for centuries. The most well-known folk dance is Tanko Bushi, the coalminer’s dance.

Additional Talents:

Kimono: Description and dressing of member(s) of the audience in a kimono with obi. Could provide a short fashion show.

Origami: The art of folding paper into animals, flowers, etc.

Needs of the Dance Group:      

The group needs a dressing room for one hour before the performance. The smallest comfortable size of a performance area is 6’ wide by 4’ deep. However, we can adjust our dances to any size of the stage area. A microphone with adequate amplification is needed if you would like us to announce our dances. Our music is recorded on a CD. We can bring our own portable CD player, if needed.