Torii Taiko

torii taiko
torii taiko

Member Profiles

Jon Whitsell

Taiko grabbed Jon Whitsell 21 years ago during a lesson with Blake Himm. A founding member of Smokin’ Bachi Taiko, Jon was Co-Director in Crestone, CO of the "Taiko, Awakening the Spirit Conferences" with Koji Nakamura, of Ondekoza, Shumei Taiko Ensemble, and Makoto Taiko. He has performed as a guest artist and workshop leader. Jon and Dyan both played in Sabaku Taiko.

His many years in the corporate Audio Visual world, enabled him to combine his passions of tech, event management, and love of taiko to be the Stage Manager at the Matsuri Japanese Cultural Festivals - organized by the Santa Fe JIN (Japanese Intercultural Network.) Some of the Matsuri guests included Tokara, Marco Lienhard, Ringtaro, Koji Nakamura, David Wheeler, and Jodaiko.

Jon presently works in alliance with BrandNature LLC doing well for people and the natural world creating video and audio projects with a triple bottom line of people, planet, and profit. He spent the summer of 2023 at the Utah Taiko Experience playing taiko day and night.

Dyan Yoshikawa

Dyan Yoshikawa hails from Long Beach, CA and holds a BFA in Dance Performance from CSULB. After living in New York City as a modern dancer, she relocated to Santa Fe in 2000 to study massage therapy. Dyan began learning taiko in Santa Fe in 2007 and developed her skills to perform with Smokin’ Bachi Taiko, Taiko Sol and Sabaku Taiko. After a 4 year hiatus to study biodynamic cranial-sacral therapy, she brushed off her bachi to join Torii Taiko in March 2023. Currently, Dyan has a private practice in massage and cranial sacral therapies. She recently discovered snorkeling.

Emily Walukas

Emily Walukas is a bilingual STEM teacher, aikidoka, amateur tinkerer and aspiring community builder. They began their music endeavors at age 11, playing concert percussion and performing in drumline in high school and college. Their favorite instruments are the marimba, cajón and ukulele, and now, all taiko-related instruments as well. Emily is new to the art of taiko but blends a keen wealth of experience in movement, rhythm, and enthusiasm.

Danny Silver

Danny Silver is a dance teacher, musician, and mother of two grown artistic daughters. She started dancing at age 7. In college at UC Berkeley, she trained with principals from the Martha Graham company. She has taught dance and fitness in California and New Mexico for close to 40 years. She just completed an 18 year run with the National Dance Institute of New Mexico.

In her well-spent youth, she worked as a whitewater river guide while avoiding gainful employment after college, and still spends quality time every summer on the river. Danny feels that music and dance are inextricably entwined, and brings her wide-ranging musical tastes of blues, funk, jazz, Latin, hip-hop, fold, swing, and world music into her dance classes.

She was long-captivated by the combination of rhythm with movement in taiko drumming and finally found a community to study with in Santa Fe. Danny finds the practice of taiko challenging and exhilarating, and a welcome release from stress. She is grateful to be a founding member of Torii Taiko.

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