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Friday, April 24, 2009

A cappella groups face off in JAM battle

Staff writer

To celebrate Children's Day, May 5, a shopping mall in Tokyo's recently developed Shiodome area will host two events in which Tokyo youngsters will battle in a way familiar to any viewers of TV shows such as "Britain's Got Talent" and "American Idol."

News photo
In full voice: An a cappella competition will take place for students at Caretta Shiodome beside Tokyo Bay on May 3.

An a cappella competition for high school and university students and a dance contest for elementary and junior high school children will also be held at Caretta Shiodome beside Tokyo Bay in Minato Ward.

The "JAM Presents Caretta A Cappella Battle" will take place on May 3, and feature eight a cappella groups competing for ¥30,000 in gift vouchers. JAM, which stands for Japan A Cappella Movement, is one of the nation's biggest a cappella organizations, and was started by university students in 1999. Since then, several of the group's members have gone on to careers as professional singers.

The dance contest for kids in the Kanto-area heat of the nationwide "All Japan Super Kids Dance Contest" will be held on May 5. About 30 groups of elementary and junior high school students will perform their street dances, with the final set to be held in December. The winner will then be the opening act of "U.K. B-boy Championship," an international break-dancing contest to be held in Britain.

One of the highlights of the events will be seeing the elaborate costumes of the children, who will have made their attire for the performances with the help of their parents, according to the organizers.

The popularity of street dance, which reached Japan from the United States in the 1980s, and received mainstream media attention on shows such as "Dance Koushien," is currently increasing among Japan's youngsters.

The "JAM Presents Caretta A Cappella Battle" takes place on the B2 floor of Caretta Shiodome, a 5-minute walk from Shinbashi Station, from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on May 3. The "All Japan Super Kids Dance Contest," at the same venue, runs from noon to 6 p.m. on May 5. Admission for both events is free. For more information, call Caretta Shiodome at (03) 6218-2100.

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