Big Drums. Big Sound. Big Life.

Taiko is a traditional Japanese musical tradition that means “big drum.” The large, hollow, skin-covered drums used in taiko are played vertically, horizontally or diagonally to create a range of vibrant rhythms. But taiko isn’t simply about sound. Its characteristic beat is achieved through choreographed arm movements, as drummers “dance” their sticks from drum to drum.

Established in 1997, Fort Wayne Taiko – a program of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective (FWDC) – is the first Taiko group in Indiana and one of few in the Midwest. Inspired by a performance by Vancouver-based Katari Taiko, our small group of volunteers built our first set of drums out of bourbon barrels bought from a Louisville distillery. As we’ve grown, we’ve remained passionate about sharing the taiko experience with our community. Our mission is to honor the ancient tradition of taiko with unique, multifaceted performance art.

Fort Wayne Taiko has hosted touring taiko groups from around the world. Our members have attended the North American Taiko Conference, spent time at taiko camps and workshops, and have traveled to Japan to study under renowned Japanese taiko masters. In July of 2014, Fort Wayne Taiko was invited to play at the World Taiko Gathering in Los Angeles, CA.  As our core group of members continues to build skills, we share it with incoming members – building the robust repertoire that we have today. Fort Wayne Taiko offers weekly classes, outreach programs and performances. Learn more.

Fort Wayne Taiko moves pretty quickly. Keep up with them on Facebook .

Since 2000, our performances have spanned the globe.

  • Rhinehart Music Center, IPFW
  • Fort Wayne Cherry Blossom Festival
  • Indiana State Fair
  • Women’s Drum Retreat of Oakwood Farms
  • Fort Wayne Museum of Art, International Women’s Festival
  • Japanese American Association of Indiana events
  • West Central Neighborhood Association Home Tour
  • Taste of the Arts Festival
  • Three Rivers Festival
  • Camp Jenee Cancer Survivors Retreat
  • Manchester College
  • FAME Festival
  • 2010 Great Lakes Regional Music Therapy Conference
  • Indiana Tech
  • Key Fasteners
  • United Hispanic American Association, Fort Wayne
  • Fort Wayne Suzuki Guild
  • IPFW Department of Music
  • East Wayne Street Head Start
  • Valparaiso International Festival
  • Trine University International Festival
  • World Taiko Gathering 2014, L.A., California
  • Matsuyama, Japan
  • Hiroshima, Japan
  • and countless schools from around the region!

To schedule a performance, class or workshop, contact the program director, Ashley Benninghoff. Educational performances may also be booked at