THE beating of the drums rose to a deafening level and the crowd flocked closer to the stage to witness a showcase of color and skill at the height of the 5th Awaodori Festival on April 19.
Kids and adults craned their necks to watch how fast the dancers’ feet caught up with the beat but the members of the professional Tokyo Tensuiren Group from Koenji, Japan and the 45 members of the Saipan Awaodori team did not miss a single beat.
The unexpected construction undergoing at the Coral Tree Avenue in Garapan prompted organizers to move the Thursday market to the Fishing Base, and the new location gave the performers more elbow room to do their show.
For first timers, watching the Awaodori Dancers is a real treat. It’s like being given a glimpse of the biggest festival held every last Saturday and Sunday of August in Koenji. The drum beats will bring spectators to the narrow streets of Koenji and squeeze through hundreds of thousands of people from all parts of the world and watching thousands of Awaodori Festival dancers in their flashing and colorful costumes.
PDM Promoters Inc., is the organizer of the annual Saipan Awaodori Festival under its president Misako Kamata. Sonia Siwa of the PDM Promoters said that this year was special because members from three Awaodori groups flew in from Tokyo.
“We usually only have the dancers and musicians of the Tokyo Tensui-ren group but this year, we have representatives from Benkei-ren and Aoi Shin-ren groups and these are among the very famous groups in Japan. This is very good news. Hopefully this can encourage more groups from Japan to participate in the future Saipan Awaodori Festivals,” Siwa said.
From 5:30 p.m. all the way through 8:30 p.m. on Thursday last week, the joint Awaodori teams from Japan and Saipan impressed and stunned audiences along the streets of Garapan—all the way from Fiesta Resort & Spa lobby to the front of the Shenanigan Restaurant building, and heading toward Duty Free Shop Galleria for a short performance before capping the day’s festivities with a hit performance at the Fishing Base street market.
The group also performed during the opening of the Flame tree Festival at the Civic Park Center on Friday evening.
Marianas Visitors Authority represented by Judy Torres presented a certificate of appreciation to the Tokyo Tensui-ren group for its continued support and promotion of the CNMI as a preferred travel destination during a break in their performance at the street market on Thursday.
Except for last year where PDM Promoters Inc had to cancel the festival in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March last year, the Tokyo Tensui-ren group had been coming here and performing for the past four festivals.
Major sponsors for the Awaodori Festival are DFS Galleria, Docomo Pacific, Tan Sui Lin Foundation and Kinpachi Restaurant. For more information, please call 234-6900.