KYOTO -- A dance performance by 25 "maiko" apprentice geisha from the five famous "hanamachi" entertainment districts in this western Japan city was held at the Pontocho Kaburenjo theater in Nakagyo Ward on Nov. 23.
Numerous shows including the "Miyako Odori" performance in Gion Kobu had earlier been canceled due to the spread of the novel coronavirus. For 17 of the maiko dancers, the show titled "Yumebutai -- Kokoro Tokimeku Maikotachi" was their first ever stage performance. The audience -- filling the maximum number of seats permitted at the theater due to coronavirus restrictions -- applauded the show.
The Kyoto Traditional Art Foundation, which is working to revitalize the hanamachi district culture, organized the stage for those including maiko who lost their chance to make their stage debut.
As a coronavirus prevention measure, the number of seats at the venue was reduced to roughly 250 -- less than half the usual figure. Performers danced to a total of eight songs including Momiji Uri and Gion Kouta.
Hidefumi, a 17-year-old from Potoncho Kaburenjo, who appeared on stage for the first time, said with a smile, "I was very nervous, but many seniors gave me lessons, and I think I was able to demonstrate the result of my practice."
Those who are interested in seeing a recorded video of the performance can do so until the end of December. Tickets can be bought for 1,500 yen (about $14) via the official website of Ticket Pia at: https://t.pia.jp/ (in Japanese).
(Japanese original by Hiroshi Odanaka, Kyoto Bureau)