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Japanese drumming troupe TAO to perform in Durango

By Indiana Reed
Special to The PREVIEW

TAO, known as the “rock stars” of Taiko, traditional Japanese drumming, are set to stage a new production, “Phoenix Rising,” returning to the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, Sunday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m.

Powerful, dynamic and unique, TAO, with its explosive Taiko drumming and innovative choreography, is said to bring “Cool Japan” to the world.

TAO was formed in Aichi, Japan, in 1993, but moved its base to the Aso-Juju National Park in the mountains of Japan in 1995. There the stars of TAO live and train at a specially designed compound, reaching the highest level of virtuosity only after years of intensive study. The performers each bring nontraditional flair to the group by drawing on their diverse backgrounds: one as a hard rock musician, another as a gymnast and another as a composer.

TAO decided to first lay its roots in the southern Kyushu region and focused exclusively on performances there until the troupe achieved 1 million in ticket sales — to confirm TAO as “world class entertainment.” TAO achieved its original goal of 1 million tickets in less than eight years. Then the performers took their show to the world.

Today, with hundreds of sold-out shows and more than five million spectators in 17 countries, TAO has proven that modern entertainment based on the traditional art of Japanese drumming has massive international appeal.

As the Chicago Tribune noted of TAO, “Extraordinarily talented … incomparable muscular zeal.”

Tickets for TAO: “Phoenix Rising” ($29/$39) are available online at www.durangoconcerts.com, call 247-7657, or visit the ticket office at 8th Street and Main Avenue, downtown Durango.

Showtime is 7 p.m., with doors to the concert hall opening at 6 p.m. On show day, the box office at the concert hall will be open one hour prior to curtain, and remain open through intermission.

This story was posted on February 20, 2014.