Odaiko New England

The Taiko March

While we were at Summer Taiko Institute, Tanya, Beth and I had the unique opportunity to join Kris Bergstrom of On Ensemble in a demonstration of the Taiko March, a piece he had composed and choreographed as part of the Taiko Games at North American Taiko Conference. He had had everything planned out, but at the last minute he needed 3 more marchers, and we were excited to be able to join in.

Kris composed the Taiko March based on the Algorithm March that’s become a fad in Japan and throughout the world. The Taiko March demonstrates many of the well-known traditional forms of taiko.

The Taiko March was arranged and choreographed by Kris Bergstrom. What I share here is only my imperfect understanding of it. Because Kris is a proponent of open-source everything, I expect that a more authoritative version will become available soon. I present this as my own experience with the Taiko March.

My descriptions of the march moves are far from complete and are just to give you a sense of what’s going on. If you wish to learn the more complete version, I would be happy to share what I know (which I felt would not translate well into text), or you can try contacting Kris directly.

The steps are marked in the image at the bottom of the page.

The Taiko March

Lyrics (in Japanese) Translation of lyrics Movements
1 Ip-po susunde
Bachi Kamae
Take a step.
Get into ready pose with your bachi
Take a step forward.
Emulate a ready pose, using your index fingers as bachi.
2 Ip-po susunde
Tsugi naname
Take a step
Next slant stand
Take a step forward.
Step to the side, assuming a stance for slant stand playing.
3 Ik-kun kaite
Turn around for the moment and
Odaiko! (big drum)
Turn around in the first two steps.
Mime hitting an odaiko
4 Don! Yoku ni aruite
Don! Take a step to the side
for Hachijo
Say “Don!”, then step to the side.
Mime the motions for hana-hachijo.
5 Chotto shaga de
tsugi Miyake
Get a little low,
next it’s Miyake
Turn to the front and take a low Miyake stance.
Mime hitting the Miyake drum with your left and then your right
6 Katsugi-daiko o
mochi agete
Carry the
slung drum
Mime slinging the drum over your shoulder.
Turn around completely, jumping on your left foot.
7 Tsukaremashita
We’ve worked hard –
break time
Wipe the sweat off your forehead.
Dip down and touch your hands to your knees.
8 Uchiwa auge,
Sore! Sore!
Wave the fan drum.
Let’s go! Let’s go!
Wave your outstretched arms in front of you.
Turn around completely, waving your arms in front of you.
9 (three times)
Soro soro,
owari ka na?
This has gone on a bit,
Why don’t we end?
Take a step,
do a conga line move
Owari! The end! End balanced on your left foot

The Taiko March

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