Getting to know the artists of TAO:The Art of the Drum

Next up in our 10x10 Arts Series is TAO:The Art of the Drum. TAO was formed in Aichi, Japan in 1993 and two years later moved their base of operations, called "Grandioso," to Oita seeking a better environment for creative enrichment.

Nearly 20 years later, over five million spectators in 17 countries worldwide have seen TAO. We are very excited to bring them to our corner of the world on February 28!

We sent them a short Q&A to get to find out more about their troupe before they arrive in Northwest Arkansas. Who would have guessed that if they weren't performing the world over they would have liked to work at Build-A-Bear?? Read on to learn more about these interesting artists!

1. What sort of background/training do you have? Is it mostly acrobatic or musical?

Surprisingly enough, not many of us have acrobatic or musical background. Some come straight from high school or college. One came from academy of art and design, and used to be a member of an amateur rock band. One came from fashion design school. One came from Self Defense force of Japan. One used to be a tour guide in Canada. So many backgrounds, and some had Taiko experience, some did not. Nobody had professional knowledge or skill of music; therefore, everyone leaned it together starting from nothing.

2. What is your favorite country that you have travelled to?

Spain - Atmosphere, Sunshine, Good Food, Lively Fun people

3. Is there a location that you aspire to perform at someday?

Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris, Tokyo. Our goal is to have long running shows in these 5 locations.

4. Is there a sport that you enjoy playing?

The boys play baseball, volley ball, basketball, etc, but we don't really do much sports. Obviously, we run quite a lot!

5. If you were not a performer today, what profession would you have chosen?

Office person, Stuffed Animal Builder

6. You all come from wildly different backgrounds; a rocker, a gymnast & a composer, how did you get into this field?

By seeing TAO's show!

7. This is a very physically demanding performance – what kind of exercise regime is required?

Our training is quite hard core for ordinals. Our day starts at five in the morning, run 20km, do 200 push-ups, followed by 200 sit-ups and round it all off with more muscle and rhythm training before going for breakfast at nine. And we start rehearsing. Some trainees do not last long if they cannot handle the tough physical training or mental impact living with others might have on them.

A lot of mental strength is needed. It's like running marathon. You can stop, but at the same time you can't. You feel like giving up, but around you, the rest of the group doesn't stop. Daily training is to build strength both mentally and physically. If you can not do those push-ups and sit-ups, you will not have the strength to lift the sticks to play the drum.

8. How many different instruments can you play besides the drum?

It depends on the performers, but of course all of us play drums, and some can play the Shamisen (three-stringed lute), Koto (plucked zither) and Shinobue(flute).

9. Do you have any pre-show rituals to get ready for a performance?

Stretching real good, putting the favorite perfumes on (lady), having circle every single show

This is such an interesting group of performers! We can't wait for their show on Tuesday, February 28. Tickets are going fast, so call our box office (479.443.5600) or visit today.