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APSU to host evening of traditional Japanese dance on Oct. 5

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – On a warm summer evening, Dr. David Rands, Austin Peay State University associate professor of history, put on a dress shirt and tie and headed to the cultural and political center of Tokyo. The Supreme Court of Japan stood to his south, and only a few blocks away, surrounded by a moat, was the famed Imperial Palace.

            CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – On a warm summer evening, Dr. David Rands, Austin Peay State University associate professor of history, put on a dress shirt and tie and headed to the cultural and political center of Tokyo. The Supreme Court of Japan stood to his south, and only a few blocks away, surrounded by a moat, was the famed Imperial Palace.

              That night, the APSU professor followed some of that country’s elite into the National Theatre of Japan—an imposing building designed in the Japanese Azekurazukuri architectural style—to watch a performance by members of Global Culture Nasu, one of the major schools of traditional dance in Japan. The dancers, with white painted faces and multilayered kimonos, moved gracefully to the sound of ancient Japanese instruments.

            “When you first see it, you’re just blown away by the whole thing,” Rands said. “It’s spectacle. But then you realize that this is so deliberate. You start to understand all the intricacies of it.”

            This fall, the famed troupe is making a special trip to Tennessee, and at 7 p.m. on Oct. 5, Global Culture Nasu will visit APSU’s Trahern Theater for its only public performance on an American college campus. The event is free and open to the public.

            “They have taken it upon themselves to come share their dance in Tennessee because they feel it’s important for people to see the cultural side of Japan, in addition to the business side, “Rands, who also coordinates APSU’s Asian Studies Program, said. “This is not something you can see anywhere else in America.”

            Global Culture Nasu’s visit to campus is part of collaboration between APSU’s Department of History and Philosophy and APSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance. On the morning of Oct. 5, the internationally renowned group will meet with students in a class taught by Margaret Rennerfeldt, APSU associate professor of dance. In that class, the dancers will instruct APSU students in the traditional art form, with the intent of having the students join the troupe on stage later that evening.

            At 7 p.m., the concert will begin with a brief introduction to the dance style, including a tutorial on what some of the delicate movements represent.

            “I would greatly encourage anyone who has never been to the performance to go,” APSU student Cody Shapiro said. He attended a performance last year hosted by the Japanese Consulate in Nashville. “It's a good way to experience authentic Japanese culture in person.”

            For more information on the performance, contact Rands at randsd@apsu.edu.

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