March 19, 2020 / 3:06 AM / 13 days ago

Dance Dance Dance: Japanese classical dance defies virus via online lessons

TOKYO (Reuters) - As the coronavirus outbreak leaves people cooped up at home, aficionados of classical Japanese dance are using modern technology to keep their passion for the art form alive.

Takujiro Hanayagi, who with a fan in his hand teaches the graceful, mesmerizing dance form known as “Nihon Buyo” - literally “Japanese dance” - has begun instructing his pupils via a tablet computer.

“Culture shouldn’t stop because of the virus ... It is an opportunity to think about what can be done under the circumstances,” Hanayagi said.

Students are embracing the chance to learn the dance form, which dates back to Japan’s Edo period (1603-1867), despite the virus disrupting daily lives.

“It is not as inconvenient as I imagined. It’s similar to how I would normally practice,” said Komaki Yamashita, who along with her daughter Konoha has started taking Hanayagi’s online lessons.

Reporting by Akira Tomoshige, Hideto Sakai and Akiko Okamoto; Writing by Sam Nussey; Editing by Giles Elgood

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