It takes three full years of training until a person is allowed to take the stage in a Drum Tao performance. It’s a regime that is as rigorous and unforgiving as any boot camp, demanding complete devotion and a sacrifice of all luxuries. It’s little wonder then that the group have found critical acclaim worldwide, leaving in their wake a trail of awe and wonder.
A Drum Tao performance is a spectacle that has to be seen to be truly believed, as the choreography is close to perfect. Performers leap over and around drums, contorting their bodies, falling into split positions on the ground, all in flawless unison. The drum beats are felt as much as heard, while the acrobatics and martial arts are incorporated into the choreography to produce something wholly unique.
Founded by former marketing manager Ikuo Fujitaka in 1993, his aim was to take the ancient art of Japanese drumming, or taiko, and wrest it into the 21st century. A former gymnastics, judo and marathon champion, he believes the extreme training regimen he puts his drummers through is necessary, along with the monk-like existence that forbids money, partners, drinking and smoking. The 10-hour instrument practice is supplemented by a daily workout of calisthenics, martial arts and a 20km run at 5am. It is due to this harsh routine that over the years, almost 500 trainees have fled in search of an easier occupation.
Promoters tripped over themselves to snatch up the troupe after their breakthrough performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2004, where their show sold out 25 days in a row. Since then, they have been touring the world to capacity crowds and glaring reviews, establishing themselves as one of the most polished entertainment groups on the circuit. One city at a time, the 20 sculpted drummers are taking over the world with their unparalleled talent.
Drum Tao will now add KL to the list of 400 cities and more than five million people that have witnessed their meticulously crafted, pulsating show. Mark your calendars for 24 and 25 August and set your GPS for the KL Convention Centre for the chance to be dazzled and beat into amazement.