Last night my friend Joyce and I caught the latest show by the Japanese drumming / tap group COBU at the Theater for the New City in the East Village. They always put on an incredible show, and after 10 years of work, the depth and power of their performance just keeps increasing.
Since the last time I saw them, COBU has incorporated stepping, staff fighting, and more elaborate staging and lighting into their show "EN." Still the essence, the heart and power of COBU comes from their blend of traditional taiko drumming and rhythm tap. My favorite piece remains "Dope," which is simply COBU leader Yako and lead dancer Hana doing a super funky tap piece.
I must admit that one of my favorite things about COBU is that they are just all so damn cute. Each dancer has a crazy hairstyle and wears a pomo blend of traditional Japanese garb and modern street wear. (I can imagine their tryouts: "You're a great dancer and a drummer, but your hair just isn't interesting enough. Sorry, get a new 'do.") Their outfits are always strategically cut to show off their ripped abs and powerful limbs as they stomp around the stage and pound a variety of drums. It's glorious.
This video blog by Christina Jeng in the Wall Street Journal summarizes nicely some of what makes COBU so unique and wonderful.