So we were dancing on the stage in the middle of the dancers when we stopped for some speeches. Then someone announced an instructional run-through of the Yokohama Ondo, the dance choreographed specifically for Yokohama’s 150th anniversary of the opening of the port.
“What are we doing?” I asked.
“Not everyone knows the dance, so we’re giving instructions,” said Sumi, community relations person and all around most helpful and knowledgeable person ever.
“So…should we get down?” I asked as everyone started filling in the chairs facing the stage.
Sumi looked at me. “No. This is the Yokohama International Bon Odori Festival. You all are the international.”
After a few more rounds of the dance we had a 40 minute break…or so we thought. Some of the Americans headed off to buy the purses they’d seen earlier, when all of a sudden Chris and I, standing there with our green tea ice cream, hear, “Sumimasen!” (excuse me!) and turn to see a few hundred people staring at us. We both looked over our shoulders to see who they were talking to, then turned back and they were all still looking at us and doing the upside-down ‘come over here’ wave. Apparently we misunderstood the break. A coordinator grabbed my elbow and deposited me on stage while Chris ran to find the other dancers and the drums bellowed out the beat again. I felt like a wind-up toy programed to shuffle and wave my arms every time I hear drums. Thank you, Pavlov.
Aaaaand thus concludes Bon Odori Dancing Season 2009. See you next year for sure!