What’s new with NATC? – Mini Intensives

This year, we are offering three mini intensive workshop experiences during NATC.  This is the first time we’re introducing this type of intensive experience within the conference schedule.  Driven primarily by Workshop Chair, Mark H Rooney and TCA’s NATC Committee, the mini intensive program was approved early on in the planning process by TCA’s Board of Directors to be part of the 2017 NATC schedule.  Here is some background information about the mini intensive program, and our 2017 offerings

Why did we decide to do this?

It’s been 20 years since the first NATC, and the conference schedule and offerings hadn’t changed much. However, the taiko community as a whole has been expanding and becoming more experienced all around.  According to the 2013 Taiko Census, over 50% of the taiko community at that point had been playing taiko for 4 or more years.  However, a large number of NATC attendees were consistently identifying as having played taiko for less than 4 years.  We wanted to find a way to cater to more experienced taiko players and create more immersive experiences.

What do we hope to accomplish with these intensives?

With the addition of this type of programming, we don’t only aim to provide a better experience for conference attendees, but also for workshop leaders.  Post conference surveys of workshop leaders have also indicated that many would like their workshop sessions to be longer in order to have more time to work with their students.

Mini Intensives aim to:

  • Broaden the spectrum of taiko players we can reach
  • Allow for a more in-depth format for taiko instructors and students alike

Because of these goals, enrollment in the mini intensives is limited to experienced taiko players who have previously been to an NATC and have had a minimum of two years of taiko experience.

Which intensives are being offered?

We’re excited to offer 3 Mini Intensives this year (CLICK HERE for full descriptions):

  1. Taiko Movement Intensive with Unit Souzou’s Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe:
  2. Edo Matsuri Bayashi (Festival Music of Old Tokyo) of Wakayama Ryu with work renown artist Kyosuke Suzuki
  3. Composition and Improvisation led by Tiffany Tamaribuchi of Sacramento Taiko Dan

Who are these instructors?

Basically, they’re amazing.

KYOSUKE SUZUKI is a master musician and dancer of the Wakayama Performance Troupe, touring internationally, and performing regularly at the prestigious National Theater of Japan. He collaborates regularly with world-renowned taiko groups including Oedo Sukeroku Taiko, Amanojaku, and the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble. Suzuki-sensei is an engaging and enthusiastic teacher, regarded by many as the “best shishi-mai dancer,” of Tokyo. He is a premier performer and teacher of Edo Bayashi,Tokyo festival music, with a well-respected Kyo-no-kai school for private lessons. He also teaches at the Kunitachi College of Music, Kaijou Junior and Senior High Schools, and Sankei Gakuen Cultural Center. Suzuki-sensei studied under Wakayama Taneo of the Wakayama School, recognized by the Japanese Ministry of Culture to be an “Important Intangible Cultural Property of Fine Arts,” learning all aspects of the shi-shi mai ensemble including flute, taiko, percussion, and lion dance

MICHELLE FUJII AND TORU WATANABE are Founders and Co-Directors of Unit Souzou, a Portland-based taiko ensemble. The pair met at Warabi-za, Japan’s foremost traditional folk dance troupe in Northern Japan. Michelle was awarded the prestigious Bunka-cho fellowship from the Japanese government. Toru was a professional company member appearing in six original musical productions and teaching at Warabiza’s in-house residency program for youth. Through their 20 years of professional experience, both are recognized as relentless innovators, working with premiere North American taiko groups including San Jose Taiko, On Ensemble, TAIKOPROJECT, Portland Taiko and Shasta Taiko. In 2014, Michelle and Toru founded Unit Souzou to create an expressive blend of taiko and Japanese folk dance, forging new traditions for evolving communities

TIFFANY TAMARIBUCHI is the co-founder and director of Sacramento Taiko Dan and Jodaiko, a professional women’s taiko ensemble. A student and supporter of Tanaka-sensei, Tiffany’s taiko experience forms a bridge between taiko in Japan and North America. Over the years she has played and toured with a number of notable groups from Japan, including Za Ondekoza, Zampa Ufujishi Taiko, Eisadantai Mafuekaji, and Shidara. Tiffany was the winner of the 2002 All Japan Odaiko competition and finalist at the first Tokyo International Odaiko Contest. Her work has garnered her support by Asano Taiko, and made her popular as a workshop facilitator not only at taiko conferences in North America and abroad but also as a private instructor and mentor for individuals and taiko groups. Tiffany developed and produces TaikoBaka training intensives on different topics in Sacramento and other venues. Always working to deepen understanding about taiko in Japan for North American audiences, Tiffany recently debuted the first Ondeko group outside Japan after training with Kasuga Onigumi on Sado Island and receiving their permission to share their indigenous art form with others

What are the registration details?

Mini Intensives are an option for Participant registrations.  At this time, observers are not allowed to sign up for or observe mini intensive workshops.  Costs are listed on our REGISTRATION PAGE, and inclusions are listed below.

Mini Intensive registration includes:

  • 4 workshop sessions (10 hours of instruction) with a workshop leader
  • Access to conference activities like Opening and Closing session, Taiko Ten and any other conference presentations
  • Access to the Taiko Marketplace

*Mini Intensives do not include a discussion session.

If you’re interested in signing up for any of our mini intensives, sign up as a “Participant” and select the Mini Intensive option.  Once our Mini Intensives sessions are full, they will be removed as a registration option.