Koshuu Bon Odori

[Full notes] [Summary notes] [Other dances & the source code]

Formation Solo. (It travels so a circle arrangement is practical.)
Dance Structure ((A x 4) + (B x 3)) x 2.
Music Structure 4 counts/bar, 8 bar phrases. Part A is instrumental. Part B is sung by a man then a woman then both together.
Music Speed 160 counts/min.
Props A round handled Japanese style fan (& originally a kimono).
Translation Koshuu = feelings of nostalgia for an old town.
Bon = a particular spirit festival.
Odori = a particular type of historic dance.
Source Marina Wolstenholme at her SIFD Japanese dance day course at Cecil Sharp House on 2001/10/13.

Disclaimer: Mistakes are quite likely in the notes and no guarantees are made as to accuracy. There may be other versions of the same dance or other dances with the same name. Music may differ, particularly in speed, introduction and duration, between performers. The division into parts, bars & counts might not be standard. These notes of the dance are freely distributable (under GPL or CC-by-sa) in so much as the note's author's contribution but the choreography and/or collection were by other people and so their copyright might apply to the dance itself. Better than using notes, go to a dance class where it is taught by Marina Wolstenholme.

A gentle elegant courtly Japanese fan dance.

The type of fan needed is a non-collapsible round one with a handle. It is shaped similar to a table tennis bat. The round head is about 20 cm diameter and is made of a thin piece of cloth tightly stretched over a thin circumferential frame like a drum skin (indeed, it can be used like a drum & is so used in one part of this dance). The handle is about 10 cm long, straight and about 1 cm in diameter. For this dance handles with circular cross-sections are better than flat or rectangular ones as they facilitate spinning the fan by rolling the handle between ones palms.

Style: Very controlled. Graceful and flowing. Body upright most of the time. Steps flat.


Summary: Omit 1st 2 Travelling Steps

Omit first two Travelling Steps of the first Part A & use their music (2 bars) as the intro just standing still. (I find it easier to start immediately without an introduction and catch up but that is not as elegant!).

Travelling Step

This is basically a Triple Step with a rise at the end plus some fan twirling. A Travelling Step starting L is detailed below. The equivalent starting R foot is the same but in mirror image in R & L swapped for both hands and feet.

Start Facing acw around circle. Weight on R foot. Hands with palms together and fingers pointing forwards infront of lower chest (i.e. conventional Western flat-handed praying posture rotated 90 deg forwards) with arms extended a comfortable distance infront (elbows point down not to sides). The fan handle is between the hands with the fan head above and in the fore-aft plane.
Feet L forwards.
Hands Slide L hand forwards to spin fan.
2 Repeat count 1 but with R foot & hand forwards.
Feet L forwards dipping by bending knees slightly.
Hands Slide L hand forwards to spin fan (preferably ending neatly in original position).
4 Rise by straightening L knee whilst raising R foot a little (the traditional kimono outfit would not permit a high lift) behind (by keeping R knee bent and R upper leg parallel to the L one).

Part A

Summary: L & R Travelling Steps.

Start Facing acw around the circle ready for a Travelling Step.
1 L Travelling Step.
2 R Travelling Step.

Part B

Summary: Feet together & arms out straight infront, pause x 3. (Shading eyes R hand with L leg & arm back, pause), mirror. (Triple Step arcing R showing Kimono sleeve), mirror. Part A mirrored. Repeat first bar halved, face centre, arms down. L forwards, clap fan, R slow turning to start position.

Start Facing acw around the circle.
Feet Close feet together taking weight on both with knees straight.
Hands Taking fan in R hand, arms straight forward horizontally from shoulders with L hand flat pointing forwards palm down and R hand holding fan pointing forwards with fan head horizontal.
2-4 Pause.
Feet L back turning body slightly to the L.
L Hand Arm straight pointing down and back slightly to the side (i.e. theta = approx 135 deg & phi = approx 135 deg in polar coordinates) with hand flat pointing in the same direction as the arm and palm towards the body.
R Hand Shading eyes with the fan (i.e. fan just above brow with plane slightly sloping forwards) with elbow out to the side.
2 Pause.
3-4 Repeat counts 1-2 with R & L swapped for both feet and hands (one has to imitate the fan with the L hand).
Feet Walk R, L, R & pause on a forward arc about 45 deg to the R.
R Hand Sweep out horizontally from close infront of waist to the R and a bit down with fan head in the plane of the sweep.
L Hand From next to R hand initially following but eventually moving out about 50 cm to the L of it (this was originally grabbing the wide decorated kimono sleeve and spreading it out to show off the decoration).
Lean A slight inclination of the upper body forwards and looking towards between the hands (where the kimono sleeve should be).
4 Sneakily transfer fan to L hand and repeat bar 3 with R & L swapped (i.e. show the other kimono sleeve).
5 R Travelling Step.
6 L Travelling Step.
1-2 Repeat bar 1 counts 1-2 (i.e. same pose but held for half the time).
Feet Turning to face centre stepping L to the side.
Hands Fan in R hand. Arms down to sides of the body slightly away from the body with hands & fan continuing arm direction and the L palm & the normal to fan plane towards the body.
4 Pause.
1 L forwards raising R behind.
2 Clap L palm and fan together flat infront of chest.
3-4 Turn 90 deg cw stepping R forwards ready to start next part.

Irrelevant note: the hand motions in bar 2 are identical to the quick military salute in the totally unrelated Turkish dance Tulum Havasi but done slower & with a fan.


Take up the remaining music with 3 more Travelling Steps (starting with a L one) and come to rest gracefully facing the centre with (optionally) the R hand palm facing outwards with the fan infront of the face and the L hand touching the inside of the R elbow.

These notes are mainly based on how I remembered the dance being taught other than the final hand pose which was in Marina's notes but I don't remember it being explicit from the class which is why I marked it as 'optionally'.