If we take a look at Bon Dancing around Japan, we notice the fact that in many places, they are not held in “one single site for one single type of Bon Dancing.”. In some cases, the dancing site changes every day, and in other cases, the dancing site keeps changing throughout one single day.
The place for Bon Dancing are not only diverse, but seems to have unique “movements”. Here, we tried to look for the dynamism of dancing sites.
The number of dancing sites- one or plural
If we pay attention to the number of dancing sites that are used for one Bon Dancing, we come to understand that there are “single and fixed type” *1 which they always dance in the same place, and “plural type”*2 which they dance in several dancing sites. And in fact, we can observe quite a lot of “plural dancing sites”.
In most cases of plural dancing site, the organizer of Bon Dancing plan the rotation or decide the site according to tradion, so in this meaning, it can be said that the fundamental form of these sites are that dancing sites are readily identified. *1 There are many examples, such as Niino Bon Dancing (Nagano Prefecture), Nishimonai Bon Dancing (Akita Prefecture)
*2 In cases of “plural shedule type” Bon Dancing, there are many cases that they change the Bon Dancing site depending on the day. The representative cases are, Gujo Dancing in Gifu Prefecture, and “En-nichi Dancing” of Shirotori Dancing.]
The form of “Free Dancing Sites”
However, there are types of “dancing sites” that their dimension differ from these general forms. This form could be called as “Free dancing sites” which unspecified majority of dancing sites make an appearance.
For example, Gujo Dancing unifies the dancing cirlcle in the dancing site into one, but in the memory*1 of an old inhabitant, many dancing cirlcles spontaneously emerged, and people choosed the dancing cirlcle they liked and danced. There were rivalry between chorus leaders and dancing cirlcles, and it seemed that they were very energetic dancing sites.
As it can be seen above, the form of “Free Dancing Sites” which you dance each in their own way in the place you like and the dance you like could be seen widely nationwide in the old times. In the former times when the population of the young people of the local community was large, free dancing sites and plural dancing circles might have been rather natural.
It is true that it is pleasant when the whole town gathers in one dance, but it is also wonderful when dancing circles are formed spontaneously all around the town.*2
*1 “When I was a small child, of course travelers didn’t come, and the neighbors gathered as if insects breeded from concealed places, and danced. In those times, there were no street lamps, and people led the chorus at their choice, and made the circle at their own will in the light of the lamps and the small light of the lanterns of the shrines.”Quote from Gujo Hachiman Machizukuri-shi Henshu Iinkai “Gujo Hachiman no hon” (Gujo Hachiman Urban Development Magazine Editorial Comittee “Book of Gujo Hachiman) Haru Shobo
*2 In Gujo Hachiman, apart from the ordinary program, there is a trial to enjoy the old style of dancing with the name “Evening of old dancing”, and it is held every year.
While we travel Bon Dancing around the nation, we sometimes witness the moment when dancing circles of the local young people and tourists come into being from the sense of excitement.