Each gesture is an expression. Movements put together are a story. The music is a narration. Collectively they create Okinawan dance – a connection to ancient culture and ancestry. Come experience, for a day, the rich Ryukuan culture expressed through music and dance. Since 1997, Master Instructor Frances Nakachi has nurtured her students by teaching the values and traditions of Okinawan dance while teaching discipline and self-worth in a positive environment.
On Saturday, July 2, 2016, from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. at the Mission Memorial Auditorium there will be a rare opportunity to experience an Okinawan dance lesson for FREE. Tamagusuku Ryu Senjukai Frances Nakachi Ryubu Dojo will present an Open House to all who are interested in learning to dance.
About Artistic Director Frances Nakachi
Nakachi Sensei was born and raised in Okinawa, Japan. From the age of three, she began learning Ryukyu dance under the dual instruction of the acclaimed sisters, Yoshiko Tanita Sensei and Mieko Kinjo Sensei, co-directors of the Tamagusuku Ryu Senju Kai and are certified as the Preservers of Important Intangible Cultural Properties also known as Juyo Mukei Bunkazai Hojisha.
After graduating from high school in Okinawa, she moved to Hawaii to attend Chaminade University. Nonetheless, she traveled back and forth to continue her studies of dance and completed all three certifications of testing administered by the Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper Company in Okinawa called the Geino Konkuru, performing Arts Contest. The Geino Konkuru is an annual event where students of all branches of Okinawan traditional performing arts are judged by a panel of distinguished artists from each respective art form. There are three levels of testing that each student must pass, which are Shinjin sho, Newcomers’ Award, Yushusho, Award of Excellence, and Saikosho, Highest Award. Frances Sensei has taken all the certifications for not only for the perpetuation of the Ryukyuan Arts and but for her mother who was the biggest fan. Frances Sensei’s mother also used to dance Okinawan dance and it was her dream to have her older sister, Kathy and her to become teachers just like her senseis, Yoshiko sensei and Mieko Sensei.
In 1997, Frances started teaching Okinawan dance due to many inquires to learn Okinawan dance from her. She was moved by their seeking spirit to learn about the culture. She felt that teaching will help her continue with her practice and contribute to the community through her dance.
On January 9, 1999, Frances had passed her certification exam in Okinawa and earned her Kyoshi license in Dance from her instructors, Yoshiko Tanita Sensei and Mieko Kinjo Sensei. To commemorate her accreditation and to formally introduce the Tamagusuku Ryu Senju Kai Frances Nakachi Ryubu Dojo to the community, she held her first recital at the Hawaii Theatre together with the centennial celebration of the Okinawan immigration to Hawaii entitled, Chu Hisa Na , Fulfilling Dreams, One Step at a Time.
On June 5, 2005, Frances had passed the highest level of teaching certification exam in Okinawa and earned a Shihan license, Master Instructor license in Dance. She mentioned that this certification gave her a deeper sense of commitment in preserving the culture and understanding that there are so much more to learn and share . She mentions that the dance is always evolving and we must not stop learning.
Frances Sensei had performed and held recitals in numerous places in Hawaii such at the Hawaii Theatre, also known as the “Carnegie Hall of the Pacific”, Neal Blaisedell Center, Mamiya Theatre at Chaminade University, Orvis Auditorium at University of Hawaii just to name a few. She has also performed at a National Theatre of Japan in Okinawa, Fukuoka and many other places in Japan for cultural exchange. In 2009, she was invited to perform at the Carnegie Hall in New York and in 2014, she is dancing with her students at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC.
Also, Frances Sensei’s goal is to have students take their certification testing in Okinawa like how she has taken the testing in Okinawa. She wants to have her students experience what she had learned and train both body and mind. The students have the opportunity to be trained by the Grand Masters of Senjukai and other senior instructors. The training in Okinawa helps develop character, discipline, self confidence and a develop deeper sense of appreciation towards the culture. It is an life altering experience which helps the culture to be perpetuated and continued for many generations.
Currently, she teaches both children and adult classes at the Kilauea Community Center every Monday and Wednesday nights and performs at various community functions.
It is her mission to spread peace, joy and love by sharing the beauty of Okinawa’s Dance Arts to the world. “Together, we can make a difference, one dance at a time.”
For more information about Tamagusuku Ryu Senjukai Hawaii, check out their website: www.senjukaihawaii.com.