Warren alum to dance with Japanese troupe

DOWNEY - Mary Suzuki Owens, a granddaughter of Dr. Mary Stauffer and holder of a degree in interior design from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandise, will be performing at the Downey Theater with the Azuma Japanese Classical Dance Troupe at 3 p.m. on Nov. 7.The dance troupe is under the direction of Sumako Azuma, indefatigable choreographer and dance master and well-known in many circles these many years as a Japanese classical dance teacher and corporate insurance broker. A product of both West Middle School and Warren High, Owens started dancing with the Azuma Japanese dance school at age 11, persisting to learn the difficult dance technique taught at the school. At age 20, she began training for what is called a natori degree, a formal degree conferred by the school for attaining a certain skill level and considered equivalent to earning a bachelor's in Japanese dancing. For this she has made the required trip to Japan for the requisite formal evaluation there. While in the school headquarters in Japan, Owens was exposed to the rich traditions and practices of the dance. She says, "In earning my natori degree, my dancing career had just begun." The Azuma style of dance itself was established over 200 years ago by Tozo Azuma, a choreographer from the Edo-Sanza, the official Kabuki theater during the Edo era. Owens's sensei (teacher) is Janice Edesa. Tickets are $20 per, with assigned seating. For ticket information, call (213) 346-5299, or email jedesa@aol.com. --Henry Veneracion, staff writer

********** Published: September 16, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 22