Miyako Odori is performed in April in Kyoto, at a stage in Gion not far from Yasaka Shrine. It is an event that rivals the excitement generated when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. These dance performances are well known even overseas, where they are called the "Cherry Dances". They began in 1872 (Meiji 5) as part of a plan to promote Kyoto for the first National Exposition. The Gion district has been a center for the traditional performing arts of singing and dancing since the early Edo period (1603-1868), and it is here that the Inoue school of Kyoto dance has been handed down from generation to generation. Miyako Odori is a large-scale event featuring performances of this style of dancing by maiko and geiko (apprentice and full-fledged geisha) of the Gion district. It is an unsurpassed opportunity to experience the traditional dance forms of Kyoto in all their splendor. The 130th performance will take place in spring 2002, choreographed by INOUE Yachiyo V, who succeeded to her professional name in 2001.
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