The dance group Todoroki Stuttgart was founded in early 2013. Among the 13 dancers are musicians who play traditional Japanese instruments such as the Japanese drum Taiko and the Japanese bamboo flute Shakuhachi or also sing to them.
Yosakoi dances, which are not yet so well known in Germany, combine traditional dance elements with modern rhythms. That is, old traditional dances were redesigned with new choreography and provided with modern rhythms. This includes influences from a wide variety of music styles such as rock, samba, hipp hopp, and so on. Within these modern rhythms there is always a traditional folk song.
This energetic dance form, which developed more than 50 years ago, is now danced almost everywhere in Japan. Dancing is done in teams at yosakoi dance festivals, where up to 30,000 dancers and 200,000 visitors can gather to dance and celebrate.
Yosakoi dances are performed with Japanese castanets, called naruko, which were used to scare away birds that were about to eat the growing rice. However, there are also the so-called Yosakoi-Sōran dances in which these castanets are not used. The design of the costumes, the choreography, the accessories and the music is relatively free, despite certain specifications. Japanese mythology and its mythical creatures often serve as inspiration for the groups’ colorful costumes. But anime or rock bands can also serve as models.
The repertoire of the dance group Todoroki Stuttgart includes dances that are danced at Japanese Yosakoi dance festivals, but also their own compositions and choreographies, in which tradition, modernity and internationality come together.