Taiko classes for the AEL students:
rhythm, energy, skills, fun!
“… taiko is not pre-defined by existing culture, it’s a creative journey. We look to where people are going, not where they have come from…” (from Kagemusha Taiko Centre in Devon)
I love preparing the summer courses in winter as much as I love the summertime when the courses are running !
The reason is that -while designing the courses- I can explore and every year discover talents and human resources of the place where I live now,
And honestly Devon is a mine of human talents, of creativity, cultural programmes, local and international events, traditional and alternative initiatives! In a relatively small land with a relatively small history (if compared to the gigantic history of my native country…) there is a precious pile of wonders! arts, crafts, music, alternative therapies, oriental links, spiritual and cultural centres… and the more you dig, the more you find!
This winter -while searching for new creative activities and people- I finally came to meet Jonathan and his Taiko. I arrived at the car-park in Seale Hayne in a drizzling, cloudy morning. Wonderful, peaceful site, green all around, fascinating old buildings surrounded with more modern, red-bricked ones, some little goats in a field wrapped by silver mist… but no humans around. While searching puzzled for a creature, a car stopped and a man came out of it. He started walking somewhere: he knew where to go, I was searching my place.
“Jonathan?” I called across the car-park. “Yes… are you… Valerio?” Jonathan smiled. Here we met knowing that ‘he was him’… Well, we walked to the Taiko Centre and started from there to build up the project for Taiko classes for AEL students this summer.
You might have a question: what is taiko?
“Taiko drumming is a thrilling combination of rhythm, movement & energy. It’s lots of fun to play, is good exercise, and helps develop coordination & internal rhythm” (from a Taiko website)
“Taiko (lit. “big drum”) is a sacred practice introduced to Japan from China during the Yamato period in the fifth and sixth centuries. It was traditionally used in warfare as a way to rally soldiers, frighten or deceive enemies, and issue commands. Taiko was later used to communicate with the gods, to attract or ward off animals on hunts, to send messages between villages, and as a timekeeper and ritual instrument in Buddhist monasteries” (from a Taiko website)
Taiko Centre in Devon is located at Seale Hayne, in an idyllic rural setting near Newton Abbot, in the south-west of England, They offer classes for everyone from age 10 to experienced performers, from short courses to teacher training.
“Everything we do in taiko is based on 4 principles: attitude, technique, kata and ki” (from Kagemusha Taiko Centre in Devon)
“With views over green hills towards Dartmoor, the Taiko Centre has a large studio (100 square metres) with mirrors, dance floor and lots of taiko drums of all sizes. It’s the home of Kagemusha Taiko, and the company office is also located in the Taiko Centre.
Kagemusha Taiko run regular taiko workshops and courses at the Taiko Centre. These range from masterclasses and advanced classes to drop-in sessions and “Taste of Taiko” workshops for beginners. Periodically, there are weekend intensives, teacher-training programmes and family fun sessions. We also host visiting international taiko players running workshops for the benefit of the UK taiko community as a whole. There are opportunities for everyone.
In addition to these regular events, Kagemusha Taiko also host visitors ranging from school or college groups, business teams on an “awayday” or team-building event, to groups with special needs.” (from Kagenusha Taiko website in Devon).
This summer Kagemusha Taiko has kindly scheduled Taiko evening classes for the AEL students in Dartington in June and August. In June the 11th Taiko Festival in the UK will be held at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter, so the students of the first teenager course in Dartington (T1) will enjoy watching the performance on Friday 3/7 evening, just before leaving next morning.
Need a clearer picture of a taiko session? Watch now the video below showing the Kagemusha Junior Team performing at the Taiko festival last summer in Exeter: enjoy watching! and enjoy Taiko this summer in AEL!
[double-click to enter the full screen or click here to see all Kagenusha Taiko video clips]