Bon Odori

August 26, 2023 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
South Puget Sound Community College (Building 22) Parking lot J or K
2011 Mottman Rd SW
Olympia WA 98512
Reiko Callner

Olympia Bon Odori Festival Returns

Saturday, August 26, 2023, 5-9 pm, is Olympia=s 32nd annual Bon Odori Japanese Dance Festival, presented by the Olympia Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens’ League.

NEW LOCATION – this year we will be on the campus of the South Puget Sound Community College (SPSCC), in front of the Center for Student Success – (Building 22). This is our first event since 2018, before the pandemic. At 5 pm food trucks will open and, starting at 5:30 pm karate dojo, PNW Ryuei Ryu Ryuhou Kan will provide a demonstration. From 6:00 pm, the Okinawan dance/music group, Okinawa Kenjin Kai Chijimshuu will perform.

In Buddhist tradition, souls of ancestors join their living relatives during this summer festival to dance. In villages throughout Japan, people enjoy taiko drumming, eat, drink, and dance in the steps of their families that came before for 13 centuries. Olympia, without a Japanese Buddhist temple, observes the secular aspects of the celebration. Bon dances rejoice in life, as we visit with ancestors who have departed for the spirit world and remember those we have lost in more recent months and years. Taiko drumming, a large, loud drum ensemble, was used to send messages between villages in mountainous Japan.

Dancing begins at 7 pm, and keeping time for the dancers is the Fuji Taiko from the Tacoma Buddhist Temple. 8 pm brings a break in the dancing, and a longer performance from Fuji Taiko. The evening’s dancing concludes at 9 pm. The dances are old favorites, including Hanabi Ondo, the Fireworks Dance. Japanese fireworks are particularly beautiful and skillfully made. This dance demonstrates the bursting of fireworks and will be danced later in the evening, after the sun sets, and we will have sparkling light rings available at cost for people to wear on their fingers.

Rather than separating observers and performers, all are encouraged to participate in this truly joyful, gentle celebration for the whole family. Free dance lessons August 25th, starting at 6 pm at the dance location.

List of dances:
Mikokoro*Tanko Bushi*Gambare Ondo*Oyama Ondo*Hanano Bon Odori *Goshu Ondo


Yashiro Ondo*Shiawase Samba*Soran Bushi*Seattle Electric Slide*Hanabi Ondo*Tanko Bushi

For more information (360) 791-3295.

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