Awa Dance (Awa Odori) is Tokushima’s world renowned traditional performing art that has been danced continuously for over 400 years. Tokushima, the home of Awa Dance, has approximately 1,000 individual dance groups, known as ren. Dance groups that uphold a high level of technique are called yumeiren.
Awa Dance groups, called ren, each hold a diverse background and can have anywhere between 50 to 300 members. A ren is composed of male dancers, female dancers, happi-coat female dancers, children dancers, and instrument players. Each group has its own style of dancing and playing instruments.
It is said “Once you raise your arms and move your legs, you’re already dancing the Awa Dance”. Awa Dance has a distinct style; in both men’s and women’s style of dancing, the dancers raise their arm, then move their right arm and right leg forward, followed by moving their left arm and left leg forward. Along with holding more than 400 years of tradition, the greatest attraction of this dance is that anyone can join in and dance as they please.
Awa Odori Promotion Association was formed in 1955 in order to preserve and pass on the Awa Dance to future generations. Our association is composed of 16 yumeiren. We continue to develop the dance while skillfully keeping up with the demands of the current dance style and at the same time protecting the history and traditions of Awa Dance. We don’t only perform at festivals throughout Japan, but also perform around the world throughout the year in order to share about Japanese culture.