Swarthmore Taiko Nurtures Student Talent in Partnership with Tamagawa University

Swarthmore Taiko, the student and community performance group directed by Dance Professor Kim Arrow, and the Dance Program’s Taiko repertory classes, will launch into the next phase of their development with a gift of a set of Taiko drums handcrafted by Miyamoto, one of the most respected family names in Taiko-making. This gift from Tamagawa University and Cornell Visiting Professor Isaburoh Hanayagi, director of Tamagawa’s Taiko Drum and Dance Ensemble, is one result of an enriching nine-year cultural exchange between the two institutions. These drums will be featured in a score of performances by both Swarthmore Taiko and the Dance Program’s repertory classes this spring, including appearances for the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia’s Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival and Swarthmore’s Spring Student Dance Concert.

Over fifty students from both the Dance Program and the Japanese Program will take part in a special performance for Sakura Sunday, the highlight of the month long Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, on Sunday, April 5 at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park. This spring’s Taiko repertory classes and last fall’s Japanese Dance repertory class will perform pieces choreographed by Cornell Visiting Professor Isaburoh Hanayagi. Swarthmore Taiko will present a variety of repertory works. Additional upcoming performances by Swarthmore Taiko include Morris Arboretum’s Cherry Blossom Celebration on April 4 and a special appearance at Kutztown University’s Asian American Celebration on April 7 with the Lenny Seidman Table Choir.

Two alumni, nurtured by this strong relationship between Swarthmore and Tamagawa, have gone on to pursue Taiko at a professional level. Joe Small ’05 will return to Swarthmore in April to perform with Swarthmore Taiko, and as a guest player for Professor Hanayagi’s repertory works in the Sakura Sunday performance and in the Spring Student Dance Concert on April 24 and 25. Alex Hudson ’05 will reunite with Joe as an audience member for the Saturday night performance, coming directly from a performance with San Jose Taiko in Georgia.

Joe and Alex were both highly active in Swarthmore Taiko and Taiko repertory classes during their time at Swarthmore and participated in a semester abroad program at Tamagawa University. Joe has recently completed a two-year apprenticeship with world-renown Taiko ensemble, Kodo, following a Fulbright Fellowship to Japan to continue his Taiko research. For the past two years, Alex has been performing with San Jose Taiko, the oldest touring Taiko company in the United States.

For more information about Swarthmore Taiko and Taiko repertory classes contact Dance professor Kim Arrow at karrow1@swarthmore.edu.


When: Saturday, April 4, 1 pm
What: Morris Arboretum Japanese Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia, PA
Info: (215) 247-5777

When: Sunday, April 5, 11 am ? 4 pm
What: Sakura Sunday, Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia ? Swarthmore Taiko and Repertory Classes
Where: Fairmount Park??s Horticulture Center
Info: jasp.org/cherryblossomfestival

When: Tuesday, April 7, 11 am ? 1 pm
What: Asian American Celebration, Swarthmore Taiko and Lenny Seidman Tabla Choir
Where: Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA
Info: (610) 683-4808

When: Friday and Saturday, April 24 and 25, 8 pm
What: Swarthmore College Spring Student Dance Concert, Taiko Repertory Works featuring guest artist Joe Small ??05
Where: Pearson-Hall Theatre, Lang Performing Arts Center
Info: (610) 328-8260