This season, we were thrilled to receive funding from The Montana Arts Council for an exciting 2-part residency with Unit Souzou, a Taiko performance group from Portland, OR. The ensemble’s five artists spent a week in September introducing PAL students to the art form, teaching vocabulary and physical drumming positions, and discussing the history and significance of the tradition.
Unit Souzou will spend the next eight months developing an original performance piece entitled The Constant State of Otherness, drawing on their experience with PAL and other groups around the region. PAL students will continue to work on their own Taiko compositions with prompts provided from the artists.
The Constant State of Otherness will premiere at The Myrna Loy on May 1st. Leading up the premiere, the artists will return to their work with PAL, helping students finesse an original composition. The students will have the opportunity to perform their piece alongside the artists as part of the premiere.
After playing Taiko for the first time, students were asked how they felt about the experience and had this to say:
“It was epic.”
“I felt free.”
We can’t wait to continue building on the first week of work! Stay tuned for updates as this project progresses.
Photo Credit: Jason O’Neil