Tag Archives: workshop

INI trainees – Hana Lethen

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Hana Lethen

Hana Lethen lives in Texas and is a junior at Princeton University majoring in Comparative Literature, with a focus on Japanese and Russian language and culture. She spent her spring semester 2016 in Kyoto studying Japanese language, society, and traditional theater through Columbia University’s Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies.

Hana decided to take her exploration of Noh to a higher level, attending a number of performances along with fellow KCJS students, and also practicing Noh chant and dance with the INI. Here are a few insightful reflections on her experience.

Diego Pellecchia, INI Junior Director


Discovering Noh Through Dance

by Hana Lethen

When I asked Monica Bethe, the professor for a course on Noh that I took this past semester, for support regarding my final paper comparing ballet and dance in Noh theater, I was expecting book recommendations. So, I was a bit incredulous when she suggested that I take lessons— “the best way to learn is to dobut soon realized what a great opportunity had presented itself.

With an introduction and much help from Diego Pellecchia, who was co-teaching my Noh course, I went to okeiko every week during my last month in Kyoto. On the first day, I was very nervous. The only thing I knew to expect was that okeiko would be very different from practicing ballet, which I have done since I was five years old. I had an impression of Noh as a very traditional and elite art, so I expected okeiko to be somewhat rigid.

However, when I entered the okeikoba, I was surprised by the intimate and almost relaxed atmosphere. First, we spent about an hour having tea and chatting with Udaka-sensei, who, for all his talents and experience, was very kind and not at all intimidating. It was during this tea session that I began to realize that the constrained schedule of normal life does not apply to the okeikoba. Time here is fluid; okeiko starts and ends basically when Udaka-sensei deems appropriate. Noh is a combination of religious ritual and artneither of these can be rushed.

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Learning the hiraki kata

We began my first lesson with a bit of practice chanting the text which accompanied the dance from Tsurukame which I was to learn. I have always dreaded singing or speaking onstage, so my thoughts at this point were along the lines of “I came here to learn the dance, not the chanting…” But, I realized that a large part of the beauty of Noh comes from the unity of dance and poetic text, so I overcame my initial reservations.

Learning the dance, too, proved to be as much about “letting go” as it was about precisely learning the movements. Having extensive ballet experience was helpful in terms of coordination, but it also meant that I had some assumptions about dance lessons that were challenged in okeiko. At first, I somewhat expected Udaka-sensei to break down each movement for me, as a ballet teacher would do. More than this, however, my okeiko involved watching Udaka-sensei’s movements and imitating them as carefully as possible. Like much Japanese traditional fine art, dance in Noh is subtle, but expressive; restrained, but powerful. Although some movements felt unfamiliar, I tried to understand the general flow of the dance.

I was impressed by the atmosphere at the okeikoba of humility and of respect for the art of Noh. I was also touched by the attention Udaka-sensei devoted to each of his pupils—even to me, a complete novice. Reading and learning about Noh, and also seeing Noh performances, as part of my academic course was extremely valuable, but getting a small glimpse from the performer’s perspective in okeiko made Noh come alive for me in an entirely new, exciting way. Professor Bethe was right—I am not sure how I would have written my final paper for her and Diego’s course without firsthand experience of dance in Noh. And, ultimately, I gained much more from okeiko than a final paper. I developed very special appreciation for Noh through an experience that I would love to have again if I get the chance.

Thank you, INI!

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Chant lesson with Udaka Norishige

Only one position left – INI Summer Intensive Program 2016

If you are considering applying to the INI Summer Intensive Program, hurry up! There is only one position left before we close applications.

The INI – International Noh Institute is now accepting applications for its 2016 Summer Intensive Program. Participants will join INI members for a 2-week intensive training period. Read more: INI Summer Intensive Program 2016

INI Summer Intensive Program 2016

The INI – International Noh Institute is now accepting applications for its 2016 Summer Intensive Program. Participants will join INI members for a 2-week intensive training period, during which they will study Noh chant and dance at the INI headquarters in Kyoto with master-actor of the Kongō school, Udaka Michishige. During their stay, participants will be able to learn various aspects of noh, including masks and costumes.

Lessons follow the traditional methods of the Kongō school, providing participants with the unique chance of frequenting the okeikoba, private training space of a noh master, for an immersive experience.

Participants are also welcome to join the August 21st Kei’unkai-INI Gala Recital, along with Udaka Michishige’s international and Japanese students, on the prestigious stage of the Kongō Noh Theatre, in Kyoto.

INI SUMMER INTENSIVE PROGRAM 2016

Requirements: Anyone is welcome to join – no previous knowledge of Noh is required. Lessons are delivered in English and/or Japanese.

Capacity: 5 participants

Place: INI Headquarters, Kyoto

Period: August 1 – 14 2016

Fees (in Japanese yen)

Regular 60,000
Student 40,000
Recital at the Kongo Noh theatre (optional) 20,000
  • Participants are required to purchase separately the necessary personal items for noh practice: tabi white split-toe socks (around 700yen) and a Kongō-style Noh dance fan (5000yen).
  • Participants are required to arrange for their accommodation.

How to apply: send us an email at ini.kyoto[at]gmail.com Please attach your C.V. and a brief statement of interest.

Read impressions of the INI summer training from participants Sadia Gordon and Dorothee Neff.

Images from past events

 

 

Noh theatre X Impact HUB Kyoto

The INI International Noh Institute is pleased to announce the first ‘Introduction to Noh theatre’ course at Impact HUB Kyoto. This 6-session course is aimed at Kyoto residents, exchange students, or any other English-speaker who would like to take a closer look at Noh theatre’s tradition. Participants will learn the basics of Noh chant and dance directly from certified INI instructors. Additional activities include observation of a Noh mask carving workshop and visits to the Noh theatre. Professional Noh actor Udaka Tatsushige will give a performance demonstration on the first session, May 7th. 

Practice sessions will take place at Impact HUB Kyoto, a platform promoting innovative thinking and collaborative work, located in a beautiful traditional building in the heart of Kyoto. See below for access information. The lessons will be held in English and no previous knowledge is required: anyone can join!

Dates and time: Twice a month on Thursdays, from 18:00 to 21:00 (participants are free to come and go at any time). Training calendar: May 7, 21; June 4, 18; July 2, 16. Min 6 Max 10 participants.

Participation Fee: Regular: 10,000; Students/Hub members: 8,000 White tabi (split-toe socks) 800yen.

Application: deadline April 30th Feel free to contact us to place your booking or for any other query ini.kyoto@gmail.com

INIXHUB 2015 web

Access: Impact HUB Kyoto Get off at Kuramaguchi station on Subway Karasuma line. Take Exit 1, then walk south (toward Doshisha university) for few minutes (located between Tabacco store and a parking lot).

La Via del Noh/The Way of Noh – evento + workshop

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*English follows Italian*

Segnaliamo due eventi sul Noh a Roma a cui prendera’ parte Monique Arnaud, rappresentante di INI per l’Italia.
Sabato 21 marzo

ore 17:00-19:00

Presentazione del libro La Via del Noh Udaka Michishige: attore e scultore di maschere di Fabio Massimo Fioravanti, CasadeiLibri Editore. Intervengono Fabio Massimo Fioravanti (l’autore) e Monique Arnaud  (shite e shihan della scuola Kongō) Ingresso libero fino a esaurimento posti.

Domenica 22 marzo
ore 10:00-17:00
Workshop di teatro Noh – danza e canto, con Monique Arnaud.
Doozo Art Book & Sushi, via Palermo 51/53 Roma.
Tel 06-4815655
info@doozo.it

We would like to draw your attention on two Noh-related events in Rome, featuring INI representative Monique Arnaud.
Saturday 21 March

17:00-19:00

Book launch of the photo book The Way of Noh: Udaka Michishige, actor and mask carver by Fabio Massimo Fioravanti, CasadeiLibri press. Featuring Fabio Massimo Fioravanti (photographer) and Monique Arnaud  (Kongō school instructor) Free entry – while seats last

Sunday 22 March
10:00-17:00
Noh workshop – dance and chant, with Monique Arnaud.
Doozo Art Book & Sushi, via Palermo 51/53 Roma.
Tel 06-4815655
info@doozo.it

Pictures from the Noh workshop at Iori Machiya

On Friday 20th November 2014 the INI held a Noh workshop for a group of twelve American visitors led by Bob Stigler, co-president of the Washington-based educational organisation New Stories. It has been a memorable day because Bob and Michishige first met some 40 years ago in Kyoto, but have not seen each other ever since. It has been particularly enjoyable to listen them sharing memories of the old days in Kyoto, and impress each other with their achievements! Udaka Michishige lead the workshop along with his sons Tatsushige and Norishige. Diego Pellecchia has helped interpreting for the participants and Elaine Czech took pictures. The workshop took place at Iori, a luxurious Kyoto-style machiya (traditional townhouse) we use regularly for our event.

As you can see in the photographs, Tatsushige and his father showed and explained the features of a number Michishige’s Noh masks. Speaking of masks, The Udaka Men-no-kai exhibition is coming up soon: don’t miss the chance to see some of these masks live if you are in Kyoto on on 28-29-30 November! Participants could also admire (and try on!) precious Noh costumes, as well as experience basic Noh movement techniques. Bob’s group has been a lovely audience – thank you so much! Everyone expressed much gratitude to Udaka Michishige and to the INI, and some participants decided to stay longer in Kyoto in order to see the Kongo school monthly performance coming up this Sunday 23rd at the Kongo Noh theatre, featuring the Noh Ikkaku sennin (‘The One-Horned Hermit’ which you can see in the picture below!).

Noh workshop + Hagoromo in Naples

On 25 October 2014 at the Basilica di San Giovanni Maggiore in Naples the Italian branch of the International Noh Institute will perform a reduction from the Noh Hagoromo (‘The Robe of Feathers’) at Hara Fest, an Asian theatre festival organised by Aisthesis and the Forum Universale delle Culture. Naples has a long-standing tradition of cultural-exchanges with Asia. The famous Orientale University hosts one of Italy’s major centres for Japanese studies.

On the same day, from 10:00 to 13:00 and from 14:00 to 18:00 Kongo School licensed instructor Monique Arnaud will also hold a Noh workshop at Teatri 35, Largo Proprio di Arianiello 12, 80138 Naples, Italy.

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Pictures from the INI Noh mask carving/painting hands-on session – July 2014

On July 20th 2014 Udaka Michishige’s Noh mask carving atelier opened its doors to Kyoto residents and exchange students from Japan, Lebanon, France, China, Thailand, and Italy who wished to explore the world of Noh masks. Participants were able manipulate the fragrant hinoki wood, and tools such as saws and chisels, and try their best in the first stages of the carving process. Later they were introduced to the basics of painting, such as application of gofun shell powder and natural pigments. Udaka Michishige explained how the wood is cut respecting the way the tree grows, and provided insights on mask techniques from the point of view of the expert Noh actor, as well as mask carver.

It’s a been a lovely Sunday morning and we look forward to welcoming other participants in the near future!

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