As tradition goes, the nine-day Nisei Week Japanese Festival will conclude with the Ondo and Closing Ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 27.
The public is welcome to come enjoy the live entertainment and participate in the Ondo (traditional Japanese street dancing), followed by the Closing Ceremony. This event will begin at 4 p.m. and is held on First Street, between San Pedro Street and Central Avenue.
The 2017 Nisei Week choreographer is Madame Bando Hidesomi. Born in Torrance, she started her training under Madame Bando Mitsuhiro in 1976 at the age of three. In 1985, she also started training under Madame Bando Hideko, daughter of Grand Master Bando Mitsugoro IX, under whom she trained in Japan for five years while attending Keio University.
During this time, she received the title of shihan (master’s degree). She also participated in the Bando School’s Charity Recital in Tokyo and Bando-Kai’s 75th Anniversary Recital at the National Theater of Japan.
After returning to the U.S. in 1996, she began to build her career as a professional dancer and started the Bando Hidesomi Nihon Buyo class. While pursuing her own studies as a professional dancer, she has dedicated herself to the upbringing of her students in the Los Angeles area for more than 20 years.
She presently teaches at the Pasadena and Gardena Japanese cultural institutes, with students ranging from the age of five to students in their 60s. For the past 18 years she has also been a part of the after-school program at El Marino Elementary School.
Bando Hidesomi and her students have performed at many different venues throughout the years, including Monterey Park Cherry Blossom Festival, Thunder and Silk (a multicultural event) and other events held at Mt. San Antonio College, Summer Festival at Rancho Los Alamitos, Iris Festival at the Arboretum, Awaya-Kai Koto Concerts, and Warner Grand Theater. They were also invited to the Arizona Matsuri Festival 2002, held in Phoenix.
They participate annually in the Nisei Week Japanese Festival, Obon festivals held at Zenshuji and Sozenji temples, Gardena Valley JCI’s Matsuri, and other local festivals and events.
Her students share a passion for community service and have visited Keiro nursing homes in Gardena and Los Angeles, bringing much joy to the residents. In March 2006, Bando Hidesomi and her students held their first formal recital, “Nihon no Shiki,” at the Japan America (Aratani) Theatre. In June 2006, Bando Hidesomi participated in the L.A. Bando-ryu Charity Recital at the same venue.
In June 2015, she performed as a special guest for the Makoto Taiko Concert. She expanded her repertoire by choreographing a collaboration piece with contemporary taiko music and shakuhachi. Bando Hidesomi also led and choreographed the 2015 Nisei Week Parade along with choreographing and arranging the Nihon buyo section of the 2015 and 2016 Nisei Week Coronation.
Apart from performing, she also holds lecture-demonstrations at educational facilities such as Japanese American Cultural and Community Center, East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center, Gardena Valley Japanese Chamber of Commerce, UC Santa Barbara, El Camino College, and Loyola Marymount University.
Through Japanese classical dance, Bando Hidesomi wishes to express the feeling of appreciation and respect for all cultures, and wishes her passion for Nihon buyo will bring love, joy, peace and hope to everyone, creating a bridge of unity between all cultures.
Nihon buyo literally means “Japanese dance.” However, Nihon buyo is generally known to be a style of dance originating from kabuki dances, most of which were made during the Edo period. During those days, Nihon buyo was a form of leisure for the common people. Therefore, many dance pieces were made based on their daily lifestyle, also expressing natural human emotions (for example, love, hate, sorrow, happiness, joy, loneliness) through the art of buyo.
For more information on the festival, call (213) 687-7193 or visit www.niseiweek.org.