The Teodori, the Dance with Hand Movements

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

The Service, whose completion Oyasama sought to hasten, includes the Teodori, in addition to the Kagura Service.

The Teodori is performed by six dancers, three males and three females, who form a single line, in contrast to the Kagura Service, performed by ten performers, five males and five females, who surround the Kanrodai. The six Teodori dancers perform exactly the same hand movements in unison--expressing the meaning of the songs that accompany the dance--as opposed to the Kagura Service performers' hand movements, which vary in parts from performer to performer when they represent different aspects of God the Parent's providence.

Since Church Headquarters' Monthly Service invariably involves the Teodori, which follows the Kagura Service, some seem to think that the two constitute one seamless whole. They are, however, independent of each other. There was a time in the past when the Service for Safe Childbirth was conducted by repeatedly performing only the Kagura Service. Another thing we may note is that, at present, the Spring and Autumn Memorial Services--and other memorial services such as for the late Shinbashiras--include the Teodori but not the Kagura Service.

Whereas the Kagura Service, which involves hand movements that represent God the Parent's providence, is performed to pray to receive this providence in the present, we may say that the Teodori is intended to enable us to savor the state of the Joyous Life by helping us let go of greed and melt into the accompanying songs as we come face to face with God the Parent.

From late 1888 through the following year, a number of churches were established in various districts, and some of them requested permission to perform the Service when their sanctuaries were completed. In response, the Divine Directions made it clear that the Kagura Service could not be performed anywhere other than at the Jiba for the Kanrodai. The kagura masks were not to be worn--or even merely placed in front of the performers--at local churches, though the use of all the other implements including the musical instruments was allowed. Local churches' monthly services, performed on the days sanctioned by Church Headquarters, include the seated service--which is performed by six people seated on the raised floor performing the same hand movements as those used in the morning and evening services--followed by the Teodori.

As has been seen above, the monthly services at local churches do not include the Kagura Service, and they are, needless to say, performed away from the Jiba. Yet, when our sincerity in spiritedly performing the services connects us to the Service of the Kanrodai, performed at the Jiba, we can receive the spirited blessings of God the Parent.