in Japan is traditionally a time for festivals and
ritual observances of all sorts, but on July the 20th
& 27th, one of the county's most elegant shinto
rituals is held... sagi-mai (white heron dance).
rite is a 400 year old tradition played out at Yasaka
Shrine in the southern Shimane Prefecture. Two
dancers dressed as a pair of beautiful white Herons
(male and female) engage in an elegant dance accompanied
by the music of drums, flutes, and chorus.
dancers gracefully spread and fold their wings repeatedly,
until finally drawing close together. The gorgeous
Heron costumes are made of papier-mache, paper, and
wood, and the ritual dance has been performed every
year since the 17th Century.