"Miyagawa Ondo" Part 4 and an Ondo/Kouta DVD

The geisha Kimina performs in Miyagawa Ondo, the finale of Kyo Odori in Kyoto
The geisha Kimina performs in Miyagawa Ondo, the finale of Kyo Odori in Kyoto

After the relatively dark and quiet third part of "Miyagawa Ondo," the stage lights brighten again, the geisha kneel at the front of the stage, and the maiko return to dance standing behind them. The position that the geisha Kimina is in at this moment with her fan held high in her right hand and her left hand holding the right sleeve of her kimono is one of the key poses in the dance, and it is repeated several times when the geisha are standing and sitting.

For hardcore fans of Kyo Odori and "Miyagawa Ondo," there is a DVD of the dance available, but I'm sorry to say it is not a very well-produced one. I noticed a DVD at one of the gift stands last Tuesday when I went to Kyo Odori again. I was puzzled by what it was because on the cover is a photograph of two red umbrellas drying in the sun on a street in Miyagawa-cho.

I picked it up for a closer look, and it also says "Kyo Odori - Miyagawa Ondo" and "Mizuekai - Miyagawa Kouta" in Japanese on the cover. I asked the saleswoman, and she confirmed that it was a DVD of the finale of both of Miyagawa-cho's major dance performances. Since I've been writing about "Miyagawa Ondo" all month and the DVD was 1,500 yen, I decided to buy it.

The DVD contains recordings of both "Miyagawa Ondo" and "Miyagawa Kouta," but I don't think the best quality video cameras were used. When the camera is still the video is clear and sharp, but any time the camera pans or zooms the video becomes slightly pixelated for a few moments. While this is not a major problem, I expected more professional production values. This DVD does not do the beauty of these dances justice, in my opinion.

For those of you interested in purchasing this DVD, I'm afraid I cannot give you much information. There is no ISBN number on the package, and there is no website address listed anywhere on the cover or on the liner notes inside the DVD. I know it was produced by "Video Photo Saitou" because this is written in katakana on the back cover of the DVD.

If you have the chance to attend Kyo Odori and can purchase this DVD in person, it might be worth the 1,500 yen to you. If you live outside Japan, I think you can find almost as good quality on You Tube and would save myself the international shipping costs if you do find it for sale on E-bay or somewhere else.