The site-specific performance by Onibana Taiko and Alvin Erasga Tolentino is part of Queer Arts Festival 2021
Ceremony for Rebel Spirits is more than a dance and music performance. It’s an experience where Japanese folk tradition meets punk in Vancouver’s only cemetery, an opportunity for audience members to commune with the ancestors via Obon dance, song, sensu (fan) cheerleading, fue, shamisen, incense, and kick-ass taiko.
The event is a collaboration by Onibana Taiko 鬼束太鼓 and Alvin Erasga Tolentino Dance and part of Queer Arts Festival 2021 Dispersed: it’s not easy being green. It takes place August 7 at 8 pm PDT at Mountain View Cemetery.
Onibana Taiko consists of three Nikkei veterans of Vancouver’s taiko community, whose performances draw from Japanese traditional arts, festival drumming, and folk music and dance, all with a touch of feminist queer punk aesthetics.
As a group, Onibana draws its name from a type of flower that grows in the grave sites of Japan. Through taiko, the group seeks to transform shadowy elements into beauty, bridging the divide so as to commune with ancestors.
The group’s members include E. Kage, a taiko artist and digital audio artist who embraced the art of taiko as a way to express their empowerment as a mixed-race queer youth; Noriko Kobayashi, a musician and author of The Development of Canadian Kumi-Daiko and Asian Women Kick Ass Through Japanese Drumming; and artist Leslie Komori.
Alvin Erasga Tolentino is a Filipino Canadian choreographer and dance artist and the founding artistic director of Vancouver’s Co.ERASGA. His dance creations are driven from the need to intricately illustrate the human experience of light and dark and the infinitely complex relationship between nature and humanity. His choreography challenges the exploration of hybridity to reveal the private and public territory, identity, gender and the issues within the traditional and contemporary cross-cultural dialogue.
Tickets ($25) for Ceremony for Rebel Spirits can be purchased here.
QAF 2021 Dispersed: it’s not easy being green takes place from July 24 to August 3. A festival pass, $99, guarantees attendance at all events and saves over one third on individual event prices.
More information is at Queer Arts Festival.