OU Festival Dance Club "MADANI" -- Delivering Local Kansai Energy throughout Japan through their Original Dances

OU Festival Dance Club "MADANI" -- Delivering Local Kansai Energy throughout Japan through their Original Dances

The charm of Yosakoi dances are the dancers' energetic voices

Wide smiles and energetic voices are "the charms of Yosakoi dance," said 17th club leader Taiki DOI (2nd year, School of Law). “I had never danced before, but these got me hooked.” Shintaro MURAKAMI (2nd year, School of Foreign Studies), leader of the Production Group, which supervises the production of each dance, added, "Friendship grows through dancing with other club dancers, which is also an amazing aspect of Yosakoi dances." Supposedly drawn in by the lively atmosphere, the number of applications to join the club have increased in the past few years, so much so that the club now needs to hold a lottery to choose members.

Music, moves, outfits, and props all made by hand

Each year, the club picks a theme heavily tinged with Osaka’s regional characteristics for their dance performances. Along with the help of a professional composer, the club members, and self-named " Madanikko *," take on tasks in specific groups ranging from music to choreography, costumes, props, and even the MC, all in the course of 8 months.

*Note: Madanikko means "Madani-born children." The School of Foreign Studies of Osaka University is located in Madani, Minoh City, Osaka.

Leader of the "Choreography Group" Eri TORIKOSHI (2nd year, School of Foreign Studies) intensely studied works from Yoshimoto-Shinkigeki (new comedy) and the Takarazuka Revue Company because she thought that everyday choreography just wasn’t fun. "I choreograph dances with the emphasis on movements in which dancers can show their originality and synchronize their movements without being bound by the images and techniques of Yosakoi ." In the club's dance based on Dotonbori, the dancers made exaggerated wobbling gestures for comic effect, livening up the crowd. "That particular performance was my toughest yet," Ms. Torikoshi laughed.

Still the Campus Battle Champs

The club participates in 10 festivals in a year. Of these festivals, the "Domatsuri" is the largest dance festival in Japan, stretching over the course of 3 days with some 2 million attendees. On the eve of the festival, "Campus Battle" is held to decide the champion of the student clubs. Last summer, the club competed with 41 clubs from all over Japan and achieved its third straight victory. The club also performs at fall festivals for welfare institutions and various local events on request. This year (2018) the club is also looking to place highly at the Koiya Matsuri Festival, to be held in Osaka in September ( Koiya means “come” or "bring it on"). With the slogan of “Convey our Thanks with a Smile,” the members are enthusiastic in their commitment to "sharing the fun of the festivals without ever forgetting to appreciate each individual involved."

OU Festival Dance Circle "MADANI"

Started as a club at the former Osaka University of Foreign Studies in 2000, the club currently consists of 78 first and second year students. The club’s name 祭楽人 (MADANI) literally means “people who enjoy festivals.” Practices take place twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays from 5:30 pm on the Toyonaka Campus. Every year, the club creates their original Yosakoi dance number on the theme of Osaka, in which the club is based. The club won its 3rd consecutive "Campus Battle," in which students competed for the title of "No. 1 Student Club in Japan" at the "19th Nippon Domannaka Matsuri" held in Nagoya in August 2017.

Madani’s Dynamic Dancing

You can see more of Madani on Instagram.

Note: This is a reprint of the article posted in the Osaka University NewsLetter No. 78 (February 2018).

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