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15th Japan and East Asia Dance Showcase Features Four North American Premieres

15th Contemporary Dance Showcase Japan + East Asia

Friday & Saturday, January 11 & 12, 2013, 7:30 pm, at Japan Society

Featuring:

• Makoto Enda & Kutomaro Mukai’s Misshitsu: Secret Honey Room – Duo Version (Tokyo)
• KENTARO!! and Tokyo ELECTROCK STAIRS in Send it, Mr. Monster (Tokyo)
• Kosei Sakamoto’s HAIGAFURU~Ash is falling performed by his company Monochrome Circus (Kyoto)
• Chieh-hua Hsieh’s Seventh Sense performed by his company Anarchy Dance Theatre (Taipei)

第15回 『コンテンポラリー・ダンス・ショーケース:日本と東アジア』

New York, NY – As part of its Fall 2012/Spring 2013 Performing Arts Season, Japan Society presents the 15th Contemporary Dance Showcase Japan + East Asia , back with a thrilling assortment of offerings. Set to play two performances only Friday, January 11 and Saturday, January 12 at 7:30pm, the showcase features four North American premieres:

From Tokyo, Japan, the new post-post-butoh dance work Misshitsu: Secret Honey Room – Duo Version created and performed collaboratively by Makotocluv founder Makoto Enda and former Dairakudakan dancer Kumotaro Mukai. This marks a North American premiere, following a world premiere at Setagaya Public Theatre/Theatre Tram in Tokyo in August 2012.

Also from Tokyo, Send it, Mr. Monster, by award-winning choreographer and singer KENTARO!!, who leads his group Tokyo Electrock Stairs in a hip-hop dance set to Japanese pop and serenade songs – an unusual yet organic pairing. This represents a North American premiere of this work, which enjoyed its world premiere at Setagaya Public Theatre/Theatre Tram in Tokyo in June 2011.

Hailing from Kyoto, Japan, choreographer Kosei Sakamoto’s new work HAIGAFURU~Ash is falling, created in contemplation of Japan’s nuclear disaster during his residency with Finnish dancers in Helsinki, is performed for the first time by members of his company Monochrome Circus. HAIGAFURU~Ash is falling had its world premiere at Zodiak – Center for New Dance in Helsinki, Finland in April, 2012, and this New York presentation marks its North American premiere.

From Taipei, Taiwan, Seventh Sense choreographed by Chieh-hua Hsieh and performed by his company Anarchy Dance Theatre brings astonishing human body movements set within a high-tech, real-time interactive space. This marks a North American Premiere; Seventh Sense had its world premiere at Jing-Mei Human Rights Memorial and Culture Park in Taipei in November 2011.

Since 1997, Japan Society's Contemporary Dance Showcase has been a vital incubator for Japanese and East Asian choreographers, introducing them to the U.S. and serving to launch and support their international careers. Originally America's leading platform for the introduction of Japanese choreographers and companies, the Dance Showcase has expanded to include artists and works from the broader East Asian region, including Taiwan and South Korea. Many Dance Showcase “alumni” have gone on to perform in major venues such as Jacobs Pillow Dance, Walker Art Center, The Kennedy Center, The Joyce Theater, and others. Through dozens of debuts and premieres, the Dance Showcase has introduced Jo Kanamori’s Noism05, Ko Murobushi and Ko & Edge Co. and chelfitsch Theater Company, among many artists who rose to international acclaim.

2013 CONTEMPORARY DANCE SHOWCASE ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES:

Makoto Enda (dancer/choreographer/leader of Makotocluv) began his performance career in composer Mizushima Kazue’s early theatrical works in 1992, and joined Kim Itoh + the Glorious Future at its founding in 1995, performing in most of its national and overseas bookings. He has also performed for other choreographers, conducted workshops and presented his own street performances. In 2001, Enda formed his dance company Makotocluv. Wearing their trademark training jerseys, the company has performed on the street and on trains, as well as in office buildings, museums, movie theaters, airports, and other unconventional settings. Enda’s company records these performances in public spaces and incorporates them into their live stage shows, resulting in often comic revelations about day-to-day life and movement. The company’s signature works include Nipponia Nippon, Jijou Chiiki and re ・re ・re. In 2004, Enda was Resident Artist at Session House, Tokyo. Enda and his company have received numerous awards including the 2005 Dance Bazaar Grand Prize at Tokyo Competition #2 (Makotocluv), the Audience Award at the 2006 Toyota Choreography Awards (Makotocluv) and the First Japan Dance Forum Award in 2007 (Enda). Of Enda’s Nipponia Nippon with Makotocluv in Japan Society’s 2008 Dance Showcase, The New York Times noted, “wonderfully fluent in the language of the theater.”

Kumotaro Mukai (dancer/choreographer) joined Japan’s acclaimed butoh troupe Dairakudakan in 1994 and trained under the world famous butoh choreographer/dancer Akaji Maro. In 2001 Mukai began to choreograph as part of Dairakudakan’s Kochuten series, a program that encourages younger members of the troupe to create their own works. Under this program, Mukai made seven works. Three of these works – Paradise in the Jar Odyssey 2001, Universe of Darah, and Tiger’s Cave: Butoh Boot Camp – were presented at Japan Society in 2002, 2003 and 2007, respectively. The New York Times called Mukai’s solo in his Universe of Darah, “a reverie, strangely poetic as subtle emotions are registered through the body." Mukai received the Dance Critics Society of Japan Rookie Award in 2005. Misshitsu: Secret Honey Room marks Mukai and Enda’s first collaboration in 15 years.

KENTARO!! (dancer/choreographer/leader of Tokyo ELECTROCK STAIRS), born in 1980, uses hip-hop techniques to create original works that break away from existing dance styles. Loosely blending his original song and sound composition, KENTARO!! creates abstractly narrative works. Founded in December 2008, his company, Tokyo Electrock Stairs, employs a wide range of dance vocabulary choreographed to original sounds. The group suggests the unsettled feeling of young generations through the portrayal of common daily occurrences. One of the most sought-after young companies, Tokyo Electrock Stairs is scheduled to present three new works in 2013. As a choreographer, KENTARO!! has received numerous awards, including the Young Choreographer Prize sponsored by the French Embassy in Japan at the Yokohama Dance Collection R (2008), the Audience Award and the Special Prize at the Tokyo Choreography Awards (2008), and the Japan Dance Forum Award (2010). As a solo dancer, KENTARO!! has been invited to perform by many international presenters, and had three-city tour in Germany in 2011, followed by three-city tour in India in 2012.

Kosei Sakamoto (choreographer/director/leader of Monochrome Circus) was born in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1967 and studied aesthetics at Kyoto University and anthropology in graduate school at Kyoto Seika University. His choreographic method is centered in contact improvisation and "communication" with one's body, incorporating inspirations from his research on urban design, landscape and architecture. Sakamoto formed his Kyoto-based dance company Monochrome Circus in 1990. Through an exploration of the human body in various environments in daily life, the group continually searches for the most inventive moments. Monochrome Circus has been invited to perform at prestigious festivals around the world including: Bates Dance Festival , Lyon Biennale, the Kaunas Festival (Lithuania), the Seoul Modern Dance Festival, the Bangkok Fringe Festival, and others. The group performed at Japan Society in the 8th Japanese Contemporary Dance Showcase. Sakamoto serves as Representative Director of the Dance and Environment Association, Program Director at the Kyoto International Dance Workshop Festival and teaches at Tenri University of Health Sciences. He has received many awards and fellowships, among which includes Asian Cultural Council fellowship (2002) and Kyoto City New Artist Award (2008). HAIGAFURU~Ash is falling was originally created as a part of FIN-JPN Contemporary Dance and Residency Exchange and Co-production Program. The program, initiated and carried out by Zodiak – Center for new Dance (Finland) and Japan Contemporary Dance Network (Japan), was a collaborative partnership aiming to international co-productions.

Chieh-hua Hsieh (choreographer/Artistic Director of Anarchy Dance Theatre) received his BA in architecture at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan. A love of modern dance led him to enter graduate school in dance choreography at the Taipei National University of the Arts (TNUA). Since graduation, Hsieh has devoted himself to the creation of modern art. His works display a special texture of creativity, influenced by his architecture and dance backgrounds. Recently, Hsieh was invited to the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) to create a new piece in April 2012. In 2010, he was invited by Frontier Danceland in Singapore to cooperate with the Artistic Director Low Mei Yoke and presented a new piece in Esplanade. Hsieh’s work Seventh Sense (2011) and Seventh Sense II- Sensory Incidence (2012) are “New Media and Techno Performing Arts Collaborative Creation Project” commissions by the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan. His other choreography credits include Anarchy’s Dream (2009) and Anarchy 1980 (2008) commissioned by the National Culture and Arts Foundation of Taiwan, Anarchy (2008), Gray Mass (2006), Falling Kiss (2006), and more. Falling Kiss earned him recognition as one of the most outstanding choreographers in the performance platform of the National Creative Dance Competition in 2008 sponsored by the Council for Cultural Affairs (former Ministry of Culture), Taiwan. In 2006, he received S-AN Artistic Creation Award in Taiwan after the success of Gray Mass. Hsieh’s works depict a strong structure, meaningful inspiration and creative way of playing with time, space and energy.

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Since the inception of the Performing Arts Program in 1953, Japan Society has introduced more than 600 of Japan’s finest performing arts to an extensive American audience. Programs range from the traditional arts of noh, kyogen, bunraku and kabuki to cutting-edge theater, dance and music. The Program also commissions new works to non-Japanese artists, produces national tours, organizes residency programs for American and Japanese artists and develops and distributes educational programs. "At once diverse and daring, the program stands toe to toe with some of the most comprehensive cultural exchange endeavors today.” --Back Stage.

Following the 15th Contemporary Dance Showcase, running in conjunction with The Association for Performing Arts Presenters’ (APAP) annual New York conference, Japan Society's Spring 2013 Performing Arts Season ushers in the innovative Robot/Android + Human Theater (February). In March, Japan Society delivers several standout offerings: Nocturne: Reemergence through Music, part of programming series commemorating the two-year anniversary of 3/11, a concert featuring acclaimed Amsterdam-based pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama’s Nocturne project; Macbeth, featuring kyogen star Mansai Nomura in a production that blends the tradition of kyogen with a contemporary take on a Western classic; and SANBASO, divine dance, co-presented with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in their Rotunda, with Mansai Nomura performing Japan’s oldest celebratory dance with accompaniment from noh musicians, within a stage set designed by internationally renowned artist Hiroshi Sugimoto. Rounding out the Spring season, a popular yearly event returns in April, as the Annual Play Reading Series: Contemporary Japanese Plays in English Translation showcases Strolling Invader by Tomohiro Maekawa, translated and directed by NY-based theater artist Aya Ogawa.

Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a world-class, multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society cultivates a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.

Tickets & Information:

Performances of 15th Contemporary Dance Showcase Japan + East Asia are Friday, January 11 at 7:30pm (followed by MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception) and Saturday, January 12 at 7:30pm. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 212-715-1258 or in person at Japan Society (M-F 11:00am – 6:00pm and Sat-Sun 11:00am – 5:00pm). Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between First and Second Avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E and M at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street). Tickets are $28 / $25 Japan Society members. For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit http://www.japansociety.org.

This program is supported by The Japan Foundation; Arts Council Tokyo, Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture; the Ministry of Culture (R.O.C.); and the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York. MetLife Meet-the-Artists Reception support is provided by MetLife Foundation. Major support for Japan Society 2012-2013 Performing Arts Programs is provided by the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Endowment Fund and the Endowment for the Performing Arts, established with leadership gifts from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Globus Family, Kyocera Corporation, The Starr Foundation and Toyota Motor Corporation. MetLife Foundation is a Corporate Partner of Japan Society’s 2012-2013 Performing Arts season. Japan Society is also grateful to the following individuals, foundations, and government agencies for their generous support: Dr. John K. Gillespie; The Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Inc.; Dr. and Mrs. Carl F. Taeusch II; Mr. Norton Belknap; Mr. Terry Brykczynski and Ms. Andrea Miller; Mr. James C. Nolan; Ms. Hiroko Onoyama; Howard and Sarah Solomon; Mr. Alex York; Paula S. Lawrence; and an anonymous donor. New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature. Transportation assistance is provided by All Nippon Airways Co., Ltd. Yamaha is the official piano provider of Japan Society.

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Media Contacts:
Bridget Klapinski, Seven17 Public Relations, 347-246-6182, bridget@seven17pr.com
Shannon Jowett, Japan Society, 212-715-1205, sjowett@japansociety.org
Kuniko Shiobara, Japan Society, 212-715-1249, kshiobara@japansociety.org

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