Hello Mr. Oisin Bourke,
May I say congratulations re: your daughter attaining the pivotal age of 7 or 3.
The Kagura/ dance dedicated to the Kami you likely saw was Urayasu-no-mai. Kagura differs from Jinja to Jinja, but by far the one most often see is Urayasu-no-mai.
Kagura is almost always performed by Miko/ shrine maidens. Miko-san are young women who work at the shrine. Usual age is 18 to around 22-23. There are exceptions where Kannushi/Shinto priests do mai, but such cases are really rare. There are also times when Bugaku/ court dancing is offered for Okami’s enjoyment—Bugaku is often done by men—but most usual case is Urayasu-no-Mai offered by Miko-san (commonly called Miko-mai. Just a quick note: the kagura suzu /bells used by Miko and the similar Gokitoh suzu used by Kannushi are very light weight.
When O’Sensei offered Misogi no Jo or Ken it was as the kagura….a dance dedicated to Kami. He would use in the dojo setting as the harae or purification analogous to the Kannushi waving the O-nusa or Harae gushi/ wand of purification to clear an area of any obscuring or stagnant vibration—to purify the KI to open the space for fresh KI from divine nature/ Kami. In the case of his offering such movements in a Jinja setting which (which he also did) he would have received the Harae/ purification from the Kannushi as a part of the normal flow of events.
As to being purified before performing Mai in the case of the Miko, yes shrine professionals are purified at the beginning of each day in a ritual known as Chouhai/ morning prayer which involves the group prayer of Oharahi no kotoba/ great words of purification (which O’Sensei prayed each and every day as part of his personal practice) and the harae of Harae gushi.
So to speak to your question, Urayasu no Mai is offered by women or young girls…but it is also very common and natural for Budoka to offer gifts of their art to Okami..that is the origin and meaning of Enbu…
Interestingly enough the first archetypal Kagura was offered by Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto who is the wife of Sarutahiko Okami who is ancestor Kami of Aikido. O’Sensei offered Misogi-no-ken movements to them in Mie Ken at Tsubaki Grand Shrine (where his mitama is enshrined).
Very best regards
Senior Shinto Priest
Tsubaki Grand Shrine of America