Author: Clay Evans

TAO: Phoenix Rising — Japanese taiko ‘musician athletes’ at Macky Feb. 24

BOULDER, Colo. — The members of the Japanese taiko drumming corps Tao should feel right at home when they perform in Boulder for the first time on Feb. 24.

After all, the city has as good a claim as any other as the aerobic fitness capital of America, and Tao members know firsthand what it means to train. The performers have their own training center in the Kuju highlands of Japan where their daily workouts start at 5 a.m. and include 20-kilometer runs, calisthenics and martial-arts training along with dance, drumming and music practice.

The training regimen is so challenging that more than 400 would-be members have washed out since the group was founded in 1993, inspired in part by Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil.

“We often say we are not only musicians but also athletes,” drummer Taro Harasaki has said. “We move around the stage all the time. We bring a lot of choreography, there’s a lot of dancing. The drumming itself is so hard actually.”

Set to both traditional Japanese music and modern compositions written by members of the troupe, a Tao performance combines athletic drumming, but vigorous dance, acrobatics, spectacular special effects and chameleonic costumes into an unforgettable experience that evokes everything from ancient samurai culture to the slick and futuristic Shinjuku, Tokyo’s “cyberpunk district.”

To call a Tao performance “high energy” is, shall we say, a bit of an understatement.

“Their name may evoke thoughts quiet meditation, but the … performers in the Japanese troupe Tao are anything but quiet,” says the Chicago Tribune. “They’re all about noise, pounding, driving, intricate drumming, as well as incomparable muscular zeal. No matter your weariness, this is one performance during which you’re not likely to doze off.”


TAO: Phoenix Rising

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24

WHERE: Macky Auditorium, University of Colorado Boulder campus

TICKETS: $14 and up

INFO: or 303-492-8008

Upcoming Events View all events

Kodo One Earth Tour 2019

Feb 16, 2019

Kodo One Earth Tour 2019


Athletic energy, rich musical tradition and mesmerizing symmetry meet whenever this remarkable taiko drumming ensemble takes the stage. Kodo, named af...


Mar 4, 2019


Tales of Two Cities: The Leipzig-Damascus Coffee House
Starting at $15

In the 18th century, the coffee house was a popular gathering place for brilliant minds and musicians—and nowhere were the sights, sounds and sc...

Batsheva Dance Company

Mar 20, 2019

Batsheva Dance Company

“Venezuela” by Ohad Naharin
Starting at $34

Israel’s foremost contemporary dance company, revered worldwide for its cutting-edge work, visits Boulder for the first time. Artistic Director ...