In Ryūkyū dances (Ryūkyū Buyō) there is a dance called Zai (麾; ぜい). It is categorized as a Nisai-odori, performed by two udui-dī (dancers). The Zai originally was a bâton de commandement for giving signals of command to an army. In the Ryūkyū dances it is said to have been used in a quite contrary sense: as an auspicious stage equipment to celebrate the times of peace.
The first half of the dance is a “dance of gestures” (tī-udui 手踊り) based on the Kata of Karate. In the latter part, with waving and swinging the Zai, the dance is full of tensed atmosphere with footwork in heroic activity.
© 2015, Andreas Quast. All rights reserved.