|ShastaYama 2007||Photo: Tom Pava|
Toru Watanabe is a renowned folk dance artist, creative performer, choreographer. and teacher.
He has trained and still has ties with Japan's folk dance group, Warabi-za, performing throughout Japan.
Toru was also a leading performing member of Portland Taiko and his presence raised Portland Taiko's presentations with his dance and artistic creativity.
He and wife Michelle Fujii perform in duo and collaborate with a variety of artists in America and Japan. The pair recently formed a new ensemble, UNIT SOUZOU, which combines dance, taiko, and theater to explore new directions for the performing arts.
Watanabe is keeping Japanese traditional folk dance alive while exploring new possibilities as a modern performing artist.
Toru Watanabe is a favorite ShastaYama guest artist and his dynamic artistry and energy adds a special magic to the festival.
ShastaYama 2009 - Toru Watanabe
ShastaYama 2009 - Toru Watanabe || photo: Sarah Diaz