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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 24, 2018

‘Tao: Drum Heart’ brings Japanese drumming to stage

Mar 29, 2018

With explosive drumming and innovative, acrobatic choreography, “Tao: Drum Heart” offers a breathtaking, vibrantly modern twist on the ancient art of Japanese drumming and a visual sonic tour de force at 7:30 p.m. April 5 at Fairfield Arts & Convention Center’s Stephen Sondheim Theater for the Performing Arts.

Combining highly physical, large-scale drumming with contemporary costumes, precise choreography, and innovative visuals, the 17 performers of “Tao: Drum Heart” create an energetic and unforgettable production. Enthralling legions of audiences in sold-out halls throughout the world, Tao moves to their own beat, with heart-pounding drumming, contemporary and eye-popping choreography.

“This internationally drum and dance sensation of Japanese performers will energize the Sondheim audience melding incredible athleticism with fiery rhythm,” said Rustin Lippincott, director of the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center. “You don’t have to look long to experience the awe-inspiring impact of these thunderous sights and sounds of powerful, athletic performers from around the world, we’ll have it on the Sondheim stage as the only Iowa date on the national tour.”

“Tao: Drum Heart” aspirations are to become a worldwide entertainment troupe by creating modern art through traditional Japanese drums. In 2004, Tao attended the world’s largest festival of the arts — the Edinburgh Festival Fringe — and made No. 1 box-office smash hit of the festival despite their first participation.

After invited to perform at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, every single show was sold-out on their first North American tour visiting 44 cities totaling 50 shows throughout the U.S. And now “Tao: Drum Heart” has been expanding worldwide and played over 24 countries, 500 cities with 7 million spectators.

“All the performers are musicians, drummers, dancers, and singers,” said Taro Harasaki, a performer on the North American tour, which began in January but has been touring the world since 2016. “We mainly use Japanese types of drums in the show, along with the Japanese three-strng guitar, harp, and bamboo flute, but mainly drum. We compose the choreography highlighting modern drumming using typical instruments but it’s full of energy, excitement and entertainment and there are martial arts aspects in the show including karate.”

The men and women of TAO live and train at a compound in the mountains of Japan, reaching the highest level of virtuosity only after years of intensive study. The performers each bring non-traditional flair to the group by drawing on their diverse backgrounds, one as a hard-rock musician, another as a gymnast and another as a composer. With whirlwind martial arts displays and pulsating beats, the drummers bring a young and vibrant style to this authentic show.

“Looking back over our first years, people from across the tri-state region have embraced the new experiences and have attended performances that were unfamiliar, unknown but ultimately were unbelievable,” said Lippincott. “This is one of those shows fitting for the latter part of our 10th year celebration season. In ancient Japan, the Taiko drum was believed to be inhabited by a god. With their powerful, athletic performances at the mammoth drums, the cast of ‘TAO: Drum Heart’ might make you believe it still is there.”

Tickets for “Tao: Drum Heart” are $44 for Zone 1, $39 for Zone 2, $29 for Zone 3 and $19 for Zone 14 and $10 for youth and students. Tickets are available at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center ticket office, 472-2787 or www.FairfieldACC.com.

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