If it’s a movement you’ve never seen before—an “eccentric” style—as in, if you move your feet like you are dancing—no, not like a dancer but like a wrestler or a dancer—then you may not get the dance. It comes from the Japanese word for a movement; the term is “shoichi.” (If you are not aware of it, it can mean basically anything you want it to mean.)
This term is used to describe an “abnormal” movement (i.e., it is a “one-step movement”) in both the Japanese and English lexicon. When your feet fall in a different manner than normal, you are a shoichi (to move your feet like a boxer) or a shinichi (to move your feet as a wrestler). The two main terms for the dance are shinkenki or shinjinkei (“shining in” and “shadow”).
The term shinkenki (to shine in) derives its name from the traditional Japanese practice of shinken, which means something like “bright, intense light.” When your feet hit the ground in an unusual manner—the toes or the tip of the foot—there are two possible outcomes: the first is shinken (so intense that you can see the light), the second is shinkenki (dark, hard).
The term shinjinkei or shadow is used to refer to the dance, and comes from the original Japanese word for shadow, shinkai (“shadow, gloom”). The dance is the shadow of light, or shinkenki, rather than its light. The two moves that make up shinkenki are the shinjinkei and the shinkenkin, the feet-first and legs-only variations, also known as the legless.
In addition to dancing in terms borrowed from shinkenki, the Japanese also make mention of shinjinkei in the dance. For example, in the popular “shoutoku” dance a young person or a samurai dancer will strike and kick the heel of his or her foot first so that it hits the floor under a wall or the floor underneath the tatami.
The two moves, shinjinkei and shinjinkei, are the focus of the choreography and are the basis for the dance. Both techniques involve striking or kicking foot first, which is the opposite of shinkenki.
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