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Japanese Dance





Hand towel


Tabi socks

Japanese dance uses a variety of objects as props, such as hand towels, folding fans, swords, umbrellas, and canes.

The folding fan, which was invented in Japan in the Heian period, is indispensable. Fans are tossed, spun, and used in countless other ways during dances. They come in a range of designs to suit each performance. During practice, students use a fan that bears the crest of the school to which they belong. At the Kawafuji school, they start off with a white-bamboo-ribbed fan with the crest of the school in white and move up to a black-ribbed fan with the crest in gold, which they get when they receive their professional dance diploma.

The hand towel is another important prop with many different uses. In some dances it becomes the oar of a boat, and in others it is used to express sadness, through an action of dabbing one's eye. The towels are usually 30 centimeters wide and 150 centimeters long and made out of cotton or crepe. They come in a variety of colors and designs and sometimes carry a spotted or overlapping V-shaped pattern.

Dancers wear socks called tabi, which are traditionally worn with kimono. White tabi are most common, but other colors, including turquoise blue, light purple, and pale yellow, are used for certain types of performances and costumes.