Dance, Drum Combine for Unique Experience

For more than 50 years, the Tamagawa Daigaku Taiko & Dance Group has been performing its unique music and dance experience before sold out crowds around the world.


What’s the big attraction? According to Rie Seo, company manager for the group, it’s a blend of intensity and honesty in the group’s performances.


“Watching the drummers on YouTube or listening to a recording doesn’t come close to the experience of being in the same room when they start to perform,” Seo said in an interview with Color Magazine. “Recordings can’t capture the feeling you get when the vibrations of the drums hit you.”


The power of the drums, she added, is matched by what she called the purity of art that the drummers and dancers bring to the stage. “I think today, the emphasis on too many performers is to do something quick and easy to become famous and rich,” she said. “The students in the Tamagawa Daigaku Taiko & Dance Group really want to share the experience they have playing with the audience. They are cultural ambassadors, in that way, and take great pride in what they do.”


Each performance of the group not only celebrates the cultural traditions of the folk dancing and drumming, Seo added, but shows the audience how the art form continues to be interpreted by each generation of the company. “Some of the dance movies and rhythms have been handed down for generations; even the costumes worn for these pieces are meticulous reproductions of what traditional performers would wear,’ she said. “There are other numbers in the show that have a more modern feel to the, in the movements and in the costumes they wear.”


Whether traditional or more modern, Seo said, each number performed at a Tamagawa Daigaku Taiko & Dance Group show shares one important factor: the absolute joy they performers have on stage. “You don’t just walk onto the stage and perform. It takes a lot of training and discipline whether you are a dancer or a drummer,” she said. “When it finally comes time to go in front of an audience and show what they can do, there’s a great energy and joy flowing from the stage. You can really feel it.”


The Japan Society of Boston presents the Tamagawa Daigaku Taiko & Dance Group on Sunday, April 5, 2015 at 3 PM at Berklee Performance Center. Admission by reserved seating at 3:00 p.m. and tickets are: $20, $30 and $40. Tickets can be purchased at:, by calling 617-747-2261, in person at BPC Box office or