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date: 04 July 2020


The Oxford Dictionary of Dance

Debra Craine,

Judith Mackrell

Japanese form of dance theatre dating back to the 16th century. Kabuki means song, dance, and acting, although the term originally meant shocking or strange, in reference to the form's unusual style. It originated in performances given by O-Kuni, a dancer and lay priestess from the Izmumo region who created a fusion of prayer dance, folk dance, comic mime, and erotic dance for herself and her all-female troupe. Her shows were very popular in Kyoto and evolved into dance dramas whose vernacular style contrasted with the refined and aristocratic noh theatre. Part of their popularity derived from their overtly erotic content however and this eventually led to a ban on women appearing in kabuki performances (from ... ...

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