The Camp Dance: The Music and The Memories (play)


Musical play set in an unidentified Japanese American concentration camp that is centered on the high school dances that took place in the camps as one of the centers of social life for teenagers. The play was written by Soji Kashiwagi and produced by the Grateful Crane ensemble in 2003. Grants from the California Civil Liberties Public Education Program supported performances of The Camp Dance in eight California cities in 2004, as well as the production of a soundtrack CD. As part of the show, the cast performs a variety of popular songs from the period. In some shows, Mary Nomura, a popular Nisei singer known as the "Songbird of Manzanar" has performed with the cast. Since its inception, The Camp Dance in its original two-hour version and a fifty-minute version has been performed at a variety of venues and events in California and the West including the 2006 Japanese American Citizens League national convention in Phoenix, Arizona; the 2008 dinner of the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation in Washington, DC; and the 2010 Minidoka Civil Rights Symposium as part of the Minidoka Pilgrimage.

Performance History

Full Version
Venice Japanese American Community Center (Venice, CA) December 2003
Orange County Buddhist Church (Anaheim, CA) December 2003
Armstrong Theater (Torrance, CA) February, 2004
Fresno Buddhist Church (Fresno, CA) March 2004
Clovis Japanese Christian Church (Clovis, CA) March 2004
Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Church (Los Angeles,CA) April 2004
Buddhist Church of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA) June 2004
San Jose Buddhist Church (San Jose, CA) June 2004
Sacramento Buddhist Church (Sacramento, CA) June 2004
Stockton Buddhist Church (Stockton, CA) June 2004
East West Players (Los Angeles, CA) July 2004
Northwest Asian American Theater (Seattle, WA) September 2004
Culver City High School, Venice Buddhist Church (Venice, CA) October 2004
Manzanar National Historic Site October 2004
Pasadena Buddhist Church (Pasadena, CA) October 2004
Sacramento Buddhist Church (Sacramento, CA) November 2004
Aratani Japan America Theatre (Los Angeles, CA) March 2005
Henry J. Mello Theater (Watsonville, CA) April 2005
Buddhist Church of San Francisco (San Francisco, CA) June 2005
Grace First Presbyterian Church (Long Beach, CA) September 2005
Southwestern College, San Diego Japanese American Historical Society (San Diego, CA) January 2006
Maryknoll Catholic Center (Los Angeles, CA) February 2006
San Fernando Japanese American Community Center (Arleta, CA) May 2006
JACL National Convention (Phoenix, AZ) June 2006
Ross Ragland Theater (Klamath Falls, OR) October 2007
Teikyo Loretto Heights University (Denver, CO) November 2007
Japanese American National Museum (Los Angeles, CA) November 2009
Unitarian Church (Fresno, CA) September 2012
Fifty Minute Version
Civil Rights Symposium (Twin Falls, ID) June 2010
Porterville College (Porterville, CA) March 2006
Manzanar Pilgrimage, Lone Pine High School (Lone Pine, CA) April 2006
Seattle Center (Seattle, WA) May 2006
University of Washington (Seattle, WA) May 2006
University of California, Irvine Day of Remembrance (Irvine, CA) February 2007
George Nakano Theater (Torrance, CA) March 2007
Capital Hilton, National Japanese American Memorial Monument Dinner (Washington, DC) April 2008
Porterville College (Porterville, CA) April 2008
Authored by Brian Niiya, Densho

Related Articles

For More Information

Asakawa, Gil. "Keeping History Alive Through the Good Times." Nikkei View: The Asian American Blog, Nov. 18, 2007.

Grateful Crane Ensemble website, http://www.gratefulcrane.com/CurrentShows.html.