Anaguma Eisa is a student organization at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that performs eisa, a traditional Okinawan folk dance from the Ryukyu Islands in southern Japan. The group was founded by Lucas Schneider during his Freshman year on campus. Lucas fell in love with eisa while participating with the Okinawan Taiko Drummers of Wisconsin in high school. After graduating, he wanted to continue training the Okinawan art, and thus founded Anaguma Eisa after he started university.
Anaguma Eisa has held many performances and workshops in the Madison community, in the state of Wisconsin, and even across the country. Each event is an effort to strengthen their mission, while exciting viewers with a cultural fusion of dance, drumming, martial arts, and both traditional and contemporary Okinawan music.Three types of drums are used in eisa performance: the odaiko (大太鼓, lit. “big drum”), a large barrel drum, the shime-daiko (締め太鼓, lit. “tightened drum”) a medium sized drum similar to those used in Noh theater, and the paranku (パーランクー), a small hand drum similar to those used in Buddhist ceremonies.
Anaguma Eisa encourages people of all ages and abilities to develop their full potential through cultural understanding and performing arts. They strive to share this aspect of Okinawan culture while fostering cultural awareness. Previously, they have performed for Madison Public Library, Hostelling International, the Wisconsin Global Youth Summit, Asia Fest of Milwaukee, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC, which attracts over 1.5 million visitors each year.