“Dance” Terms

Kakari (カカリ)

Kakari refers to the opening part of a dance. Dance pieces including chūno-mai, kami-mai and haya-ma...

Tsuyu (露)

Floor-length cords under the sleeves of a wide-sleeved costume. A long cord (tsuyu-himo) is put thro...

Ryochūkan (呂中干)

Noh dances are made up of eight-beat measures known as kusari, and the ji, which make up the musical...

Shirabyōshi (白拍子)

A type of chanting and dance popular from the end of the Heian era through the Kamakura era, or, the...

Hiraki (ヒラキ)

Hiraki refers to the idea of release in vocals or forms. During the forms, or kata, the performer e...

Hiraki (開き)

Hiraki refers to the idea of release in vocals or forms. During the forms, or kata, the performer e...

Banshikichō (盤渉調)

Banshikichō is a tone of the flute used in Noh. It used to be one of the six tones of gagaku, tradit...

Ōshikichō (黄鐘調)

Ōshikichō is a tone of the flute used in Noh. It used to be one of the six tones of gagaku, traditio...

Katatsuke (型付)

Katatsuke refers to a predetermined, stylized form (movement) in Noh and kyōgen plays. Or it can be ...

Sandan-no-mai (三段之舞)

A type of dance in Noh and kyōgen. The shitetsure or kokata dance the naka-no-mai, officially a five...

Bōfuri (棒振リ)

“Stick waving” – a type of dance in kyōgen. In the play Nabeyatsubachi, a man selling kakko, double...

Maikyōgen (舞狂言)

One type of kyōgen. Maikyōgen refers to kyōgen that borrows the form of Noh, particularly mugen-noh....

Maibayash (舞囃子)

One style of Noh performance danced in montsuki or hakama (or occasionally kamishimo) in which the m...

Iroe (イロエ)

One of the movements of Noh (when hayashi is added to the movement of the performers). Most iroe inv...

Sanbasō (三番叟)

The dance performed by the kyōgenkata after the dance of the words of happiness of the Okina, the S...

Okinamai (翁舞)

The Shinto rituals and plays of prayer, Shiki Sanban (Okina), that must be included in a Noh play. ...

Oshikihayamai (黄鐘早舞)

See "Ōshikihayamai"...

Ōshikihayamai (黄鐘早舞)

One type of dance in Noh. The soft dance of a male spirit soothing a heart filled with bitterness a...

Sagarihanomai (下リ端之舞)

One type of dance in Noh. Sagarihanomai is danced by the atozure/tennyo in Kuzu. Sagarihanomai is t...

Tennyonomai (天女之舞)

One type of dance in Noh. Nakanomai danced by the tsure female god in Chikubushima and Arashiyama a...

Gaku (楽)

One type of dance in Noh. A dance said to take from gagaku, it is danced often in Noh plays related...

Hanomai (破ノ舞)

One type of dance in Noh. After female spirits, fairies or other spirits dance the jonomai or nakan...

Kamimai (神舞)

One type of dance in Noh. It is danced by the form of a male god to portray fluid, pure godlike dig...

Shishi (獅子)

One type of dance in Noh. In the latter part of Noh’s Ishibashi, it is danced to portray a crazed s...

Kagura (神楽)

One type of dance in Noh. A very elegant dance danced by a female god or priestess holding treasure...

Sagimidare (鷺乱)

One type of dance in Noh. Sagi, or “heron” is danced by a heron in front of the emperor on the orde...

Midare (乱)

One type of dance in Noh. Noh’s shojōmidare or midare is danced by a shite or shojō. The typical sh...

Shojōmidare (猩々乱)

One type of dance in Noh. Noh’s shojōmidare (or midare) is danced by a shite or shojō. The typical ...

Ageōgi (上扇)

A form in Noh and kyōgen. In the ogeōgi, or “rising fan” form, the hinge of the opened fan is held b...

Ranbyōshi (乱拍子)

One of the forms in Noh and kyōgen. Ranbyōshi, or “confused rhythm,” is when the maeshite or shiraby...

Senzainomai (千歳ノ舞)

In Okina (Shiki Sanban), a play that prays for peace and security of the nation, this is the dance o...

Anza (安座)

One of the forms in Noh and kyōgen. Anza, or “peaceful sitting,” is folding the legs to sit cross-le...

Ashibyōshi (足拍子)

One of the forms in Noh and kyōgen. Ashibyōshi, or “foot rhythm,” is stepping on the floor of the st...

Sayū (左右)

One of the forms in Noh and kyōgen. The fan is taken in the right hand, the direction changed to the...

Aimai (相舞)

Aimai refers to when two or more dancers dance simultaneously on the same stage. Aimai is also refer...

Kuruizasa (狂い笹)

Bamboo grass held in the hands to symbolized a crazes, confused characters. Kuruizasa is used for th...

Kakko (羯鼓)

A kind of dance performed by entertainer characters to display their abilities. They carry small tab...

Mai bataraki (舞働)

A variation of hataraki goto (movements accompanied by music) performed by deities, dragon gods or g...

Kyū no mai (急之舞)

The fastest type of Noh dance. There are two types of Kyū no mai, performed with either the fue, kot...

Chū no mai (中之舞)

A basic type of dance in Noh danced between quieter dances and faster dances by shites playing beaut...

Jo no Mai (序之舞)

A type of very quiet, elegant dance in Noh often danced by the shites playing beautiful women, tree ...

Michiyuki (道行)

The michiyuki, or “travel song” is the shōdan describing the character’s travels. The vocals often i...

Dan (段)

Dan is a segment of a Noh play. Noh is made up of a collection of dan, and is used in phrases such a...

Haya mai (早舞)

A type of dance, literally “fast dance.” Haya mai is danced by characters playing ryunyo such as the...

Otoko Mai (男舞)

A type of dance, literally “male dance.” Danced by male characters playing actual historical figures...

Shimai (仕舞)

A type of performance accentuating the movement of the shite danced in the crest-adorned kimono know...

Kuse (クセ)

A single Noh play is made up of a combination of numerous shōdan, or “modules,” and kuse is one name...


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