In 2014, Spirit chose to delve deep into Asian culture and explored what defines a hero. In the Asian culture the characteristics of heroes are both masculine and feminine. The dragon (yang) represented the masculine (and blue/teal colors to represent water) while the tiger (ying) represents the feminine qualities of a hero. (Traditionally white tigers are used, but we have represented it in its natural colors as many judges may not have this understanding in their experience.) Inside both is the potential for heroism. These characteristics are not sex based. As demonstrated in the Asian film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, the two main characters are both women- one is the tiger and the other is the dragon.  The two must be kept in balance.

The show opened with an introduction of the two characters: Dragon on the taiko; Tiger on the floor.  At this time the two are “in balance” so the large “O-Daiko” is played.  The first movement begins by exploring Dragon – all in teal and blue. Spirit then moves to Tiger with the introduction of the dance ensemble and the shedding of our dragon to embrace our Tiger, using source music from Future of Fire, by Zhou Long.

Tiger with its violent beauty and litheness, is explored through the tune Gone with Leaves by Tan Dun, from the movie, Hero. During the third movement (the Taiko movement, which was originally composed by a team of people on the Spirit staff) the two opposing forces encounter each other and, similar to a conga, establish the tension between the ying and yang (Taiko drummers and Pike dancers).

In the final movement the “O-Daiko” is again introduced, as the two representations co-exist with mutual respect for the other expressed through an arrangement of the work, Marimba Spiritual, by Minoru Miki. At this point the Battery is all Dragon (both men and women) and the pit represents Tiger (both men and women). We hope you enjoy our exploration of the Asian philosophy of Hero and we invite you to embrace your own Tiger and Dragon!



Classes on Asian culture
Study of Kodo drumming techniques with Richard Cravens
Implementation of 12 Taiko drums, 5 shimedaiko drums and 1 odaiko drum
The Front ensemble learned how to wield ancient Chinese weapons (pikes)
It was Spirit’s first show with lighting effects


Spirit Winter Percussion | PO Box 2831 | Orleans, MA, USA | 508-255-4044