Kyoto Shimbun 2006.2.22 News

Geiko and Maiko Gorgeously Attired in Juni-hitoe
Costume Fitting for Miyako Odori

The costume fitting for the 134th Miyako Odori was held on February 22 at the Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto. The traditional dance show will run from April 1 to 30. Geiko and maiko, or geisha and apprentice geisha, will play various roles including a Heian Period princess and "Otohime," the legendary Princess of "Ryugu-jo," the Sea God's Palace. The performers checked that the brand-new stage costumes fit well while dancing.

Out of the 117 performers, six maiko and fifteen geiko took part in the costume fitting on this day.

Mamechizu, a geiko playing the part of the princess in the third scene which is taken from The Tale of Genji, wore a brilliantly colored "Juni-hitoe," a twelve-layered ceremonial kimono. Her graceful figure brought a sudden sparkle to the dressing room. Following the dress fitting, stage photos were taken. Instructed by the fifth Yachiyo Inoue and other choreographers of the upcoming show, the performers took several different poses.

This year's program is titled "Kyo-ni-mau Rekishi-no-ekagami," and is comprised of eight scenes associated with stories related to Kyoto and its history.

The fifth scene will portray "Urashima: A Japanese Rip van Winkle," a legend in the Tango region. Princess Otohime in an ancient Chinese dress and costumed fish performers will dance to entertain Urashima at dinner. In the eighth scene, which is set in Shugakuin Imperial Villa, authentic "Kyomai," traditional Kyoto dance performed to entertain guests at geisha parties, will be demonstrated against the backdrop of a snowscape. In the third scene, a banquet at a pond will be featured, with the elegance of the Heian Period depicted in the onboard dance on a boat that travels across the stage.

Miyako Odori will be held four times a day, starting at 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:50 p.m. A total of 60 geiko and maiko will appear in each performance. Admission costs 4,300 yen for reserved seating and ceremonial tea, and 3,800 yen or 1,900 yen for other seats. For more information, call Gion Kobu Kabukai at 075-541-3391 (Japanese language only).

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Geiko and maiko from Gion Kobu posing for photographs on the Miyako Odori stage (Gion Kobu Kaburenjo Theater, Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto)