This week, we’re pleased to introduce the second group that will be performing as part of Taiko Jam 2017: UNIT SOUZOU from Portland, Oregon. In addition to their Taiko Jam performance, Unit Souzou’s Co- Directors, Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe will also be piloting one of NATC’s newest programs, the MINI INTENSIVE. Don’t miss either one of these amazing opportunities, and REGISTER FOR NATC today!
‘Souzou’ can be written in three ways meaning ‘creation’ (創造), ‘imagination’ (想), or ‘noisy’ (騒々), alluding to a force by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world. Inspired by these words, the mission of Unit Souzou is to build creative, imaginative works while honoring the history and roots of the taiko art form. The core of Unit Souzou’s artistic voice is personal and authentic, sound shaped and inspired by form and by movement. The essence of Unit Souzou is an expressive blend of taiko and Japanese folk dance, forging new traditions for evolving communities. In addition to creating groundbreaking professional theatrical works, Unit Souzou is deeply committed to share taiko through community performances and collaborations, public classes for adults and youth, and school-based education programs.
Unit Souzou was founded in 2014 by co-directors Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe, relentless innovators at the forefront of a growing artistic movement within the worldwide taiko community. Fujii and Watanabe met at Warabi-za, Japan’s foremost traditional folk dance troupe based in Northern Japan. Through their 20 years of professional experience, the two have worked with premiere North American taiko groups including San Jose Taiko, On Ensemble, Portland Taiko, TAIKOPROJECT, and Shasta Taiko.
UNIT SOUZOU has received support from Regional Arts & Culture Council and the National Performance Network (NPN), and was a featured showcase performer at NPN’s 2015 Annual Meeting. UNIT SOUZOU has toured across the west in Oregon, Washington, California, Montana, Utah, Arizona, and Wyoming, performing professional theatrical work and teaching taiko workshops.