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Hideki Natori takes top honors in Japanese Classical Dance competition

Japanese classical dancer Hideki Natori, whose stage name is Hideki Izumi, was awarded the top prize at the Japanese Classical Dance Association’s New Year’s Competition in January. He is a graduate of the former Department of Arts and Culture Studies in the College of Humanities, now known as the College of Performing and Visual Arts.

The Japanese Classical Dance Association and the government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs jointly sponsor this competition, which is known as an important stepping-stone for young dancers, and 80 contestants reached the final stage. Mr. Natori has entered the competition every year since 2008, and he has won prizes three times. He says he knows very well that the competition is of the highest caliber, and he was surprised to receive the top prize. He says that winning this prize will broaden his horizons as a professional dancer.

Mr. Natori’s mother, Tokuemon Izumi, is the head of the Izumi school of Japanese Classical Dance, and his first stage performance came at the age of five. He says he chose J. F. Oberlin University because it had a program in which he could study widely about the performing arts. He studied drama, dance, Beijing Opera performance, lighting skills, backstage work, and other subjects, and what he learned in the program helps him a lot now. Contemporary dance had an especially strong influence on him, and now in addition to being a Japanese classical dancer, he performs as a member of the 21st Century Geba Geba Dance Troupe.