Tag Archive for dance

Top 5 Photos of 2013

Every new year needs a review of the old. Ok, yes, this is coming a little late, but timed for when most people are back at work and can benefit from this. The top 5 photos are available at both my PhotoShelter portfolio and my agent’s website.


5. 20-Somethings on a day out in Osaka.

Actually, in my list of 100 top photos of all time, nothing from 2013 appears, yet. However, on a photographer’s social networking site, 500px, this was one of the top photos, and was listed at “Popular” for a couple of days: an achievement. Both models were a delight to work with, and it was a fun morning. Thanks Ana and Brooke 🙂 This photo is available on my PhotoShelter portfolio and can be seen at 500px.

Young twenty-something friends on a day out in Osaka.

Young twenty-something friends on a day out in Osaka.


4. City Angel.

This photo also doesn’t (yet) appear in my list of top 100 photos of all time, but again on 500px it was a top performer, with a remarkable peak rating of 92.5 (squee!).


3. Naked Man Festival.

What could be more popular than the above ‘City Angel’? Naked men giving each other wedgies, of course! The Naked Man Festival is a winter event, and will be on again soon, and yes, this really is one of the top 100 photos of all time. From a quick check of my previous blog posts, I’ve written quite a bit on the annual Naked Man Festival, held in Komaki, just outside of Nagoya.


2. Korean Royalty.

I don’t know why, but Korean royalty is one of the most popular photos on JapanesePhotos.Asia. Obviously they are actors performing for tourists at Gyeongbok Palace. Incidentally, it was Japanese assassins who killed of most of the Korean royal family, paving way for a Japanese annexing of the peninsula starting from 1910 to 1945. This was a time when the Korean people were brutally treated (Wikipedia), and is still an open wound that current Japanese politicians do not or won’t understand (Japan Today).


1. One of Japan’s top jazz ballet dancers leaping.

I did this collection of photos with Ai in 2012, and this one was the top favourite in 2013. You can see my previous blog post of this photo in a tearsheet, and other previous Jazz Dance posts, too. It’s always a pleasure to work with jazz dancers, they know how to pose, they enjoy performing, and they have infinitely more energy than I. A new jazz dance project is in the planning stages for winter 2014, so keep an eye out for that, and please show support with microdonations on Flattr, every little bit helps.

POTW 19 Aug 2013: Domatsuri

The annual Nagoya Domatsuri (dance festival) is on this weekend, and so it’s the Photo of the Week. It usually attracts about and over 20,000 people in over 200 dance teams, and of course, many, many more spectators. Teams compete for prizes, but usually it’s just a hobby that brings community groups together.

For some info and history see previous Domatsuri blog posts, and for more Domatsuri photos see my agent’s website: Henry Westheim / Asia Photo Connection, and my Domatsuri gallery on my portfolio.

Participants in the annual Nagoya Domatsuri performing on stage, Nagoya city, Aichi, Japan

Participants in the annual Nagoya Domatsuri performing on stage, Nagoya city, Aichi, Japan

Ai Tsukamoto Jazz dancer

I’ve been very fortunate to work with Ai Tsukamoto, one of Japan’s leading jazz dancers, on this little project. She has won many competitions, she has also toured in North America, Europe, and Asia. Despite the drizzly rainy day it was, spirits were high, and so were the ballet leaps. She is as gifted at jazz dance as she is in ballet, and to top that she is a natural born model. I’m sure every photographer should be envious, as I had such a great model to work with. Also thanks to Mariko and Atsuko for your help in the behind the scenes work. I’m still working with Ai on some follow ups to this, so there will be web links to her online portfolios coming soon (watch this space).

My gallery of Ai Tsukamoto.

One of Japan's top jazz dancers Ai Tsukamoto

One of Japan's top jazz dancers Ai Tsukamoto

The Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival

Aka: Yosakoi Yume Matsuri. I’m not sure what Yosakoi means, it’s perhaps a local Nagoya word. It’s a mini version of the Nagoya Dance Festival (‘domatsuri’) held in September each year. The only thing that makes this stand out is that one of the dance teams wore a kimono costume that featured a waratah (pictured below), an Australian flower, and so I thought I should blog this, more to the benefit of the Japan-Australia blog (hi John).

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.

Participants in the Yosakoi Dream Dance Festival (Yosakoi Yume Matsuri) at Nagoya Port.


The annual Nagoya Dance Festival, locally known as the Nagoya Domatsuri, was held again this weekend. For details and history of the event, see this previous blog post about the Domatsuri. Whilst photos are still being processed you can browse last years photos, below.

Nagoya Domatsuri – Images by Andrew Blyth


Also, to whet your appetite, here is a video…

Nagoya Domatsuri

Next weekend is the Nagoya Dance Festival, or ‘Domatsuri’. I’ll be attending. Usually it’s either extraodinarily hot and sunny, and terrible to photograph in; or wet, humid, hot and terrible to photograph in. Wish me luck this year. The Nagoya dance festival is not a traditional town festival, nor traditional dance event. It was modelled on the Hokkaido event that the Nagoya university students attended, and were impressed by. Consequently, because of the Hokkaido influence, there are Sino-Japanese style dances, rock/pop influences, as well as more traditional or jazzed-up styles as well. It’s dynamic, and a feast for the eye. I always love to see the Kyoto University teams, they have time and depth-of-knowledge to dedicate in their preparations for this event. This is a must see for all tourists visiting Nagoya at this time of year.

My blurb for PhotoShelter portfolio gallery (shown below)

The Nagoya Dance Festival competition, known locally as Domatsuri is an annual summer event held at the end of August. Domatsuri was first organised by university students in 1999, and later taken over by the city. It now attracts over 200 teams with over 20,000 participants, with an audience of nearly 2 million viewers.?

As you can see it’s a big event, and a very big deal.  More information can be found at the Domatsuri webpage (in English). Below is the gallery available on my PhotoShelter portfolio, but more is also available at Asia Photo Connection (13 images available, see pages 5-6).

Nagoya Domatsuri – Images by Andrew Blyth

Tado Gagaku Winter Performance

A performer of Tado Gagaku (a traditional Japanese performance troupe) performing at Rokka En (Kuwana Mansion)

A big thanks to Shu’uchi (pictured right) for letting me know about this performance. It was great to get the invite and to see Tado Gagaku perform again. This performance was again held at Rokka En (Kuwana Mansion). The first performances were musical, and were held inside the mansion itself, in the Japanese style quarter (the building includes a Victorian-style quarter). Once this indoor performance was done, the audience were then invited to move to the large windowed-doors to view this outdoor performance (seen below), from the warmth and comfort of the building. Some images are now available at Asia Photo Connection (Henry Westheim).

Tado Gagaku's outdoor winter performance

A performer of Tado Gagaku (a traditional Japanese performance troupe) performing at Rokka En (Kuwana Mansion)

Tado Gagaku

A few weeks ago I saw a wonderful performance. Tado Gagaku is a traditional Shinto-related performance troupe. They have both actor-dancers and musicians. The Tado Gagaku performs two or three times a year. This time, they performed at Kuwana Mansion, known locally as Roka-En (Roka Park).The performances are done outdoors on a temporary stage. On this particular day, it was cold, rain threatened, miserable, and the lighting was less than par. But, the people were really nice. I was fortunate enough to get some model releases. A performer of Tado Gaku

There are several performances done in the course of two hours. Some are solo performances, some were group performances, in some the performers wore masks, but they all wore wonderful costumes. The musicians played all Japanese court instruments.

All images are available at Asia PhotoConnection / Henry Westheim.

A performer of Tado Gaku playing the sho (cheng)