Japanese Dance Traditions: Old and New

by  Born 2 Move Movement Adventures

Program image

The island culture of Japan has many strong traditions in its history, some of them old and some relatively new. This program will explore dance traditions that include:
•Bon Odori, a traditional folkdance done as part of a festival honoring and welcoming ancestors for an annual visit

•Nihon Buyo a dance form derived from Kabuki and Noh Theatre during the 19th Century

•Aikido, a martial art form that is like a partner dance and has been adapted into a form known as “Contact Improvisation” outside of Japan

•Yosakoi, a contemporary recreational dance form done to traditional folk songs in Japan and elsewhere today.

Participants learn about the use of the fan as a dance prop, the symbol of the Pine Tree, fishing folklore, and the life of regular citizens as they come to appreciate traditions that make Japan a distinctive and unique world culture.They will also portray the Geisha and the Samurai.

Throughout the program, an emphasis will be placed on the theme of tradition & how it evolves with time/societal change.

About the presenter:
Marc Kotz began dancing and acting in his early teens, and since that time has performed, choreographed, and directed performance internationally. He earned a B.A. in Performing Arts from Empire State College in NYC, and an M.F.A. in Dance/Choreography from the University of Iowa (as an Iowa Arts Fellow). He has taught for a total of 12 years at the college level; worked in the field of Living History and Interpretation since 2003; and currently directs Born 2 Move Movement Adventures, LLC a company offering educational, health/fitness, and artistic programs and projects utilizing movement as an essential medium. Mr. Kotz is fully insured as dance/yoga/movement teacher.

Program Rating

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About This Program


By Request: $180.00

Multiple booking discount (all sessions must be booked on the same day to receive discount):
$180 for 1st session
$162 for 2nd & 3rd session, each (10% discount)
$153 for 4th + sessions. (15% discount)
Example: Book 4 sessions on same day, pay $657.


6o minutes is optimal, but adjustments can be made

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, ParentPublic Library: Library Patrons

Minimum participants:

No minimum

Maximum participants:


Primary Disciplines

Foreign/World Languages, International, Performing Arts, Social Studies/History

Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, etc...)
Microsoft Teams

Booking Information

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

The full fee will be charged to sites which cancel with less than 72 hours notice. You will not be charged for programs cancelled due to nature (i.e. snow days), as long as the program is rescheduled. If the program is not rescheduled within the same school year, 25% of the full fee will be charged for administrative costs.

About This Provider

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Born 2 Move Movement Adventures

Green Bay, WI
United States

Marc delights in venturing to other cultures and times through the means of dance, theater, music and educational exploration. His career has taken him around the world, delving into diverse cultures and artistic disciplines. He has performed in numerous dance and theater forms, collaborated on two dozen plays/musicals/operas and has choreographed and directed ten concert-length productions. Marc received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa as an Iowa Arts Fellow, has taught all ages from pre-school to the aged, and is fully insured as dance/yoga/movement teacher.

Marc Kotz

Program Details


For a full 60 minute program:
1. The program begins with a discussion of the Japanese poetry from of Haiku and how it can be seen to characterize much of traditional Japanese culture – spare (economical), precise (focused), and expressive (communicative).

2. Then the class will learn and perform Bon Odori a traditional dance done to celebrate the Bon festival and discuss how dance can encompass a range of events, thoughts and emotions in life.

3. Next, we move to the classical traditions of Japanese performance, learning about the origins of Nihon Buyo from Kabuki and Noh theatre forms, the roles of the Samurai and Geisha, and how to use the fan as a prop or “expressive tool” in this kind of dancing.

4. To help emphasize the concept that dance and movement can be used as a form of communication, we pause to do some calligraphy, writing Japanese characters and discussing how they are self-contained expressive units, much like Japanese dance movements can be.

5. We then explore the Japanese martial Art form known as Aikido, learning how it was created to show compassion (even to the enemy), and how it was subsequently transformed into a dance form outside of Japan called “Contact Improvisation” which continues to be practiced worldwide.

6. Finally, we learn a traditional dance to Soran Bushi, a fisherman’s work song from the Northern part of Japan, and how, through efforts of a school teacher and his class, it was updated by being done to rock music, and, as a result, became a highly popular dance that youth perform in Japan and across the globe today.


The participant will:
•Learn and do dances from a variety of origins in Japanese culture
•Gain appreciation of Japanese Culture through dance and other supportive disciplines
•Learn about the concept of tradition and how it actually does change and grow over time
•Identify and understand some of the values held in traditional Japanese culture
•Have an interactive learning experience that makes them want more!

Standards Alignment

National Standards

National Education Technology Standards (NETS):
• Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
• Develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures.
• Understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior.

NCSS Curriculum Standards (in revision):
• To help young people make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse democratic society in an
interdependent world. Students should understand:
• Multiple perspectives that derive from different cultural vantage points
• The ways human beings view themselves in and over time
• People, places, and environments.
• Interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions
• How people create and change structures of power, authority, and governance.
• How people organize for the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services.
• Global connections and interdependence

National Arts Education Associations:
• Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
• Students analyze common characteristics of visual arts evident across time and among cultural/ethnic groups to formulate analyses, evaluations, and interpretations of meaning
• Students correlate responses to works of visual art with various techniques for communicating meanings, ideas, attitudes, views, and intentions

Dance: ArtsEdge The Kennedy Center
• 3. Understanding dance as a way to create and communicate meaning
• 5. Demonstrating and understanding dance in various cultures and historical periods

State Standards

Wisconsin Standards (with benchmarks):

Information and Technology Literacy: D.
• The Learning Community:
Students in Wisconsin will demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively in teams or groups, use information and technology in a
responsible manner, respect intellectual property rights, and recognize the importance of intellectual freedom and access to information in a democratic society.
A.12.1 use desktop or video conferencing equipment and systems
D.4.2 employ proper etiquette in all forms of communication

Students in Wisconsin will recognize, understand, and demonstrate movement elements and skills in dance.
A.4.9 Demonstrate rhythmic awareness by moving to a musical beat and responding to changes in tempo
A.8.6 Demonstrate increasing kinesthetic awareness, concentration, and focus in performing movement skills
A.12.3 Use increasingly complex combinations of locomotor and non-locomotor movements, emphasizing the elements of space, time, and force

Language Arts: Students in Wisconsin will listen to, understand,and speak clearly and effectively for diverse purposes.
C.4,8,12.2 Listen to and comprehend oral communications.
C.4,8,12.3 Participate effectively in discussion.
E 4, 8, 12 Use media and technology critically and creatively to obtain, organize, prepare and share information; to influence and persuade; and to entertain and be entertained.

Social Studies: Behavioral Sciences Students in Wisconsin will learn about the behavioral sciences by exploring concepts from the discipline of sociology, the study of the interactions among individuals, groups, and institutions; the discipline of psychology, the study of factors that influence individual identity and learning; and the discipline of anthropology, the study of cultures in various times and settings.
E.4, 8, 12.4 Describe the ways in which ethnic cultures influence the daily lives of people
E.4.9 Explain how people learn about others who are different from themselves
E.8.10 Explain how language, art, music, beliefs, and other components of culture can further global understanding or cause misunderstanding
E.8.13 Select examples of artistic expressions from several different cultures for the purpose of comparing and contrasting the beliefs expressed
E.12.10 Describe a particular culture as an integrated whole and use that understanding to explain its language, literature, arts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behaviors
E.12.13 Compare the ways in which a universal theme is expressed artistically in three different world cultures

Social Studies: Geography
Students in Wisconsin will learn about geography through the study of the relationships among people, places, and environments.
A.8.8 Describe and analyze the ways in which people in different regions of the world interact with their physical environments through vocational and recreational activities
A.12.8 Identify the world's major ecosystems and analyze how different economic, social, political, religious, and cultural systems have adapted to them

Social Studies: History
Students in Wisconsin will learn about the history of Wisconsin, the United States, and the world, examining change and continuity over time in order to develop historical perspective, explain historical relationships, and analyze issues that affect the present and the future.
B.8.12 Describe how history can be organized and analyzed using various criteria to group people and events chronologically, geographically, thematically, topically, and by issues