Wakana Hanayagi to Present ‘Afternoon of Dance’

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TORRANCE — Mme. Wakana Hanayagi, master artist and founder of the Wakana Hanayagi U.S. Conservatory of Japanese Classical Dance and the Wakana Juku, will commemorate her 80th birthday in an afternoon dance program on Sunday, Feb. 10, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the James Armstrong Theatre, 3330 Civic Center Drive, Torrance.

Mme. Wakana Hanayagi

Providing both technical and artistic support for this performance will be Master Shuntou Hanayagi, 2012 recipient of the Japan Foreign Minister’s Award for his work in fostering the art of Japanese classical dance both in Japan and abroad.

A world-renowned dancer and choreographer, with a stage, screen and television career in three continents, spanning over five decades, Wakana Hanayagi came to the U.S. in the summer of 1997 and opened her Los Angeles studio shortly thereafter. She has since participated in various goodwill programs and a countless number of cultural exchange events throughout the Southland.

Through her classes — those with her private students and the artist-in-residence programs that she conducted for 11 consecutive years, in part through funding from the City of Los Angeles Cultural Arts Department — students have been able to experience firsthand the beauty and artistry of Japanese classical dance.

Shunto Hanayagi, one of the leading dancers of the Hanayagi School, whose studio is based in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture (Torrance’s sister city), will join Wakana in “Shizuhata Obi,” a divertissement derived from the noh tragedy “Sumidagawa.”

The program will also feature performances by Wakana’s students Wakaseira, Wakashizuna, Wakatougetsu, Wakakikuna, Pearl Sato, Keiko Terashima, Natsuko Nishikawa, Norito Hagiike, Toshiharu Toda, Hiroko Baba, Sawako Jingu, Mika Santo, Naomi Muramatsu, and Naoko Saito.

Tickets are $35 and are available at the Armstrong Theatre box office or by contacting Wakana Hanayagi at (310) 473-5607.

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