October 31, 2010

Costumes for All Souls Procession

What is news about the world-famous Tucson All Soul's Procession doing on your Kimono blog?? I've been writing about it on my other blog, so check it out!!
Odaiko Sonora has introduced an element of Japanese culture into the procession for the last few years. The procession is about celebrating ancestors, deceased relatives, etc. Most cultures have this type of festival or ritual and All Souls encompasses many traditions, the most obvious is Mexico's Day of the Dead.
Odaiko Sonora traditionally processes right behind the urn cart and we have created "Tucson Ondo", which is our own obon dance and have taught it to many people. We all dress up in Japanese or Asian-inspired costumes and dance the procession.This year, the performing ensemble of Odaiko Sonora are going to be part of the finale of the procession! In keeping with our art form, the six of us have created some interesting Japanese-inspired costumes to wear on stage. We are playing in pairs, so our costumes are also similar within our pairs. One thing is the same for all of us including the band Ensphere:  we are all wearing deep purple/black iridescent taffeta hakama!
Because this year's color is blue (Bright turquoise and cobalt) and the theme is the underworld and water, we needed to add some blue elements to the hakama in order to make them work as costumes. Creating Japanese-inspired costumes that work on stage for 11 people of all shapes and sizes using existing costume bits is a challenge. I've been working with our taiko group with ideas and here is what my taiko partner and I will be wearing, so far at least.
First, let me introduce the original inspiration. I basically ripped off an anime character, and changed the colors to blue in Photoshop, adding some more costume elements. This was in September. This was just an idea at this point.

Now as of last week, this is what I put together on my lunch hour. (Note that my top is backwards, right over left, because I am in front of a mirror). yesterday after taiko, we played around with the costume elements even more.
Me in the mirror showing my latest costume idea.

The "obijime" cord is now turquoise and white, and Karen will be making turquoise tekko (wrist bands). We will also be wrapping the ankles of our hakama so they look like Tattsuke Hakama, with leggings- like this ninja costume or the ladies below in their tattsuke hakama. We nixed the long strips of blue and white hanging from the obi. It looks really cool but not taiko or fire-friendly. Fire-friendly? Yep, my taiko partner and I will be using "fire-bachi" at one point during the finale. Pouffy hakama are just on the edge of being unsafe, so wrapping the legs is a really good option. It keeps thm from blowing around too much. Plus it makes the hakama look less like skirts. We will be working on the costumes again this week, finishing various details, including cool blue and white Kyoshi warrior-style make-up! More photos before the event...one a week away!

Ninja costume
Tattsuke Hakama

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