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Yoshiko Chuma returns to La MaMa with Love Story, The School of Hard Knocks, the latest chapter in her ongoing multidisciplinary performance series. The 24-hour livestreamed performance will feature an international cast of more than 50 artists from four decades including veterans of The School of Hard Knocks and a new generation of artists from New York, Ankara, Tehran, Hong Kong, Berlin, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Brussels, Kabul, Palestine, and Dakar.
With her newest work, maverick choreographer, performer and instigator Yoshiko Chuma celebrates 40 years of developing collaborations, conceptual structures, and provocative performance art with her award-winning collective, The School of Hard Knocks. Chuma’s original and decidedly unclassifiable work, described as “a mixture of play and seriousness, anarchy and reflection” (Dance Magazine), tries to capture the contemporary world in all its complexity: speedy, multifaceted, diverse, both conceptual and concrete.
Through an assemblage of films, dance, music, visual art, and narratives, Love Story serves as a performative “documentary” where personal and cultural history meet the present. Love Story traces its inspiration to a 24-hour production Chuma presented at P.S. 122 in 1985 and other early collaborations in New York City, including Five Car Pile-Up. The performance will feature special guests and people important to the life and work of Yoshiko Chuma and the development of The School of Hard Knocks. They will be featured via a mixture of live performances, digital performances, and archival footage.
Love Story continues Chuma’s lifetime investigation of ideas regarding national security, perceived dangers within borders, immigration, and war. Now, in the face of the global pandemic, she turns to the ephemeral spaces online to forge connections between herself and her collaborators. Using livestreaming, live-video-mixing, and the ubiquitous tools of social conferencing, Love Story creates a new space for artists to find connection, explore ideas, and translate them into a theatrical language.
This anniversary performance is part of La MaMa’s Artist Residencies for its 2020–21 season focusing on the creation of new works across the digital and physical theater landscape during the coronavirus pandemic. Audiences are also invited to tune in to Chuma’s residency at La MaMa beginning October 5, to view archival footage, sketches and rehearsals of the work leading up to the performance.
Love Story, School of Hard Knocks was supported by a Watershed Lab Residency at Mount Tremper Arts
Cover Photo by Robert Flynt
Devin Brahja Waldman
Dona Ann McAdams
Emily Marie Pope
Jason Kao Hwang
Joseph V. Melillo
Marcio Kerber Canabarro
Zorybel & Enano
ABOUT YOSHIKO CHUMA
Cutting-edge choreographer/director/instigator/movement-explorer/performer, Yoshiko Chuma continues a lifetime obsession with the mythology of danger. Landing in New York in 1976, Chuma settled in lower downtown Manhattan, labelled as a dangerous place to be at the time. Devoid of the culture and inflation you see before you now, Yoshiko managed to begin her career in lower Manhattan, spanning an impressive 40 year career to date.
Creating over 100 productions, including company works, commissions and site-specific events, Chuma is constantly challenging the notion of performance for both audience and participants. Crossing physical and metaphorical borders along the way, quite literally, Chuma has placed herself in danger’s way for the sake of art.
She has crossed the border between East and Central Europe in the earlier 80ʼ to 90ʼ crossed the border to Palestine for over 10 years since 2005, the border between Albania and Kosovo in 2007, the border to Afghanistan in 2014, the border to Maracaibo, Venezuela in 2014 among many more.
Forbidden realms for some but centers of creation for Chuma, as her visits to these locations challenge preconceived ideas of danger and have brought about some of the most beautiful experiences. Chuma intentionally proposes to confuse documentation with history, recreating segments from her own documented events. She never gives herself any boundaries or let them interfere with her work. Making art is not her intention at all. All of her efforts are oriented towards giving to performances that have never been seen before.
Having received no formal dance training, she pursues spontaneous and experimental techniques and methods of construction. Her creative process begins with single movement (dance) or abstract image conveyed to her film making pattern. She once presented a crumpled piece of drowning to her team and requested a single movement that expressed similar qualities. Project after project, year after year, she upends conventional notions of dance and disrupts accepted characteristics of performance. Her performances not only stand apart from the genealogy of dance but also resist definition and confound interpretation – endless peripheral borders.
ABOUT LA MAMA
La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club is dedicated to the artist and all aspects of the theatre. We are a creative home to artists and audiences from around the world, and a dynamic hub for risk-taking new performance. A vital part of New York City’s cultural fabric, La MaMa has a worldwide reputation for producing theatre, dance, music, and performance art that defies form and embraces all identities.
Founded in 1961 by theatre legend Ellen Stewart, La MaMa is the only original Off-Off-Broadway venue still in operation. Ellen established La MaMa as a haven for underrepresented artists to experiment with new work, without the pressures of commercial success. Today, we maintain an environment of uncensored creative freedom, where artists of all backgrounds and identities can develop work that pushes the boundaries of what is possible onstage.
Martita Abril is a performer, choreographer, and teaching artist from the border city of Tijuana, México. Her work considers abstract elements of physical and cultural boundaries. She’s been a mentee and mentor for the New York Foundation for the Arts Immigrant Artist program and a volunteer interpreter aiding families seeking asylum at Dilley Texas detention facility. In the Summer of 2019, she co-curated with Yanira Castro in partnership with the Immigrant Artists Mentoring Program from NYFA and New York Live Arts, an evening of work by immigrant artists In | Between at the Live Arts Stage, and the group exhibition Wild, Wild Earth in the Live Arts Gallery. In Tijuana, Martita was a PECDA Scholar as a “Young Creator” by State of Baja California, México for her project “Union Artística Sin Fronteras” that explored transcendence of the physical and cultural boundary between Tijuana and the neighboring city of San Diego, through artistic exchange. She was awarded the national fellowship from FONCA, a year-long fellowship for scholarship abroad in New York City. Martita was a lead organizer with Tiroteo AC and Lux Boreal for the Fronteras México Project by Khosro Adibi, focused on teaching through the arts in marginalized and indigenous communities. Martita is currently the Coordinator of the Movement Research at the Judson Memorial Church and teaches at public schools through Movement Research Dance Makers In the Schools program. Martita-abril.org
Lithuanian Agnė Auželytė is an interdisciplinary performing artist, choreographer and cook based between Berlin and Amsterdam. Agnė has studied contemporary dance in Scotland. Later, she has worked solo and collaboratively with embodied improvisation, sound making, textiles, time-based art and social practice installations. She is a member of experimental sound projects such as Otolitos, VROUW! and Dragons/Doyle. Agnė has worked with Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks since 2014 and has been a part of six different productions presented in Ponderosa, DOCK11 (Berlin), Tic Tac Art Centre (Brussels) and The Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts (Amman). Besides performing, Agnė continues to cook for various dance and art events, festivals and communities as well as running Poodle Bar – a DIY pop-up event for short performances and experimental concerts. Headshot Photo credit : Dieter Hartwig
Turkish performance artist Deniz Atlı is working in multi-disciplinary arts fields, nourished mostly from theatre, dance, gymnastics, architecture and graphic design. After studying Interior Architecture, she has completed her master’s and got her PhD degree on Architectural Lighting. She has worked with different theatre and dance companies in Ankara and İstanbul in last 15 years. In order to accelerate her own artistic creations and provide a shared space for artists from different fields, she founded her studio and the dance company Platform Dance Theatre on 2014 in Ankara. Since then, she has been collaborating with both national and international artists, hosting companies, workshops and creating both performance and short film projects. She won best film, director, choreography and best performance awards with many of her short dance film productions and they have been screened in national and international platforms. She has been working with, physical theater company, Studio Matejka in Grotowski Institute, Poland since 2017. Also, she has been teaching movement, dance and physical theatre for 5 years, in Bilkent University Theatre Department, where she met with Yoshiko. They had a delightful day and ate a delicious, giant fish. Deniz has participated in five productions of Yoshiko Chuma and School of Hard Knocks in Berlin Dock 11 and LaMama Move Dance Festival until now. Photo Credit Beril Gür
We are “Los Babuinos,” an artistic company that mixes circus, dance and physical theater creating an unique language to share our feelings for performing arts. Nomads, primitives, dreamers, movement searchers, we’re willing to explore and exchange all the different ways to express art.We are two great Venezuelan artists with a long background nationaly and internationaly, currently doing a master’s degree in physical theater at the Dimitri Theater Academy in Switzerland. We started Manzanoarte Social Arts Project in March 2018. Since then we are dedicated to be a platform for developing social activities for new generation of Venezuelan artists. We believe in Venezuelan talent and we want to value it. In 2018 we met Yoshiko Chuma in Tic Tac Art Centre, an alternative art space in Brussels, Belgium. Created by David Zambrano and Mat Voorter. During the opening week of Tic Tac we explained to Yoshiko Chuma that we have a social art project in Venezuela and immediately she said: I want to go there! We couldn’t believe it, but in march 2019 Yoshiko Chuma came to Venezuela to perform in our social festival MANZANOARTE. Now we are in Brussels again, we got stuck because of CoronaVirus, we came to perform in some festivals and then borders closed. After two months confinate in a friend home we came back again to David Zambrano and Mat Voorter Home to spent time with them until the borders open again.
Mark Bennett is a composer and sound designer for theatre and dance. He has been a member of the School of Hard Knocks since 1989 when he composed music for, and performed in, Da Costakada Da Da. He and Yoshiko then collaborated together creating Suspicious Counterpoint with Harry Shepherd, Gonnie Heggen, Robert Black, Nicky Paraiso, Steve Silverstien, Mary Schultz, Gabriel Berry, and Jacob Burckhardt. His other work with TSOHK includes Crash Orchestra 2000, Unfinished Symphony, Crazy Dream in Hot Summer, and many Living Room Projects around the world. Mark has composed and sound designed On and Off Broadway, regionally, and internationally. He has has been honored to have worked with The Ridiculous Theatrical Company, Jeff Weiss, Carlos Ricardo Martinez and the Good Medicine & Company, The New York Theatre Workshop, and the Joseph Papp Public Theatre. A recipient of Drama Desk, Obie, Bessie, and Henry Hewes Design awards, Mark is also now a Professor of Sound Design at New York University and he celebrates TSOHK’s 40th Anniversary with love for all of the family of amazing artists he is connected with through his beloved friend and extraordinary collaborator, Yoshiko Chuma!
Elise Bernhardt, New York, founder, Executive director and producer of Dancing in the Streets; pioneered site-specific dance in the US in the ’80-90’s; long-time executive director of cultural organizations including The Kitchen, Foundation for Jewish Culture, and Brooklyn Youth Chorus; Artistic Advisor for the first 3 years of NYCity Center’s Fall for Dance; Director, Jerusalem International Fellows; Consultant to artists and non-profit organizations; floral designer and teacher. www.fleurelisebkln.com/
Gabriel Berry was in a castle in Budapest (then a workers’ museum) overlooking the Danube when a voice spoke to her: “Go to New York and be a costume designer.” “OK,” she thought, “Good idea.” It was late 1978. She got the next train out of town, made her way back to her home in North Carolina, packed her bags, and moved to New York. She arrived in early 1979. She moved into a loft on The Bowery alongside musicians, dancers and painters. Within a few months she met Ellen Stewart, made her New York debut designing costumes for Charles Ludlam’s The Enchanted Pig,and became the costume designer in residence at La MaMa E.T.C. Specializing in the creation of new work, she has designed premieres of the works of artists including John Adams, Samuel Beckett, Charles Ludlam, Caryl Churchill, Lucinda Childs, Christopher Durang, Ethyl Eichelberger, Richard Foreman, The Five Lesbian Brothers, Maria Irene Fornes, John Guare, Lameece Isaaq, Nick Jones, Craig Lukas, Mabou Mines, Naomi Wallace, Kia Corthran, Will Power, Marcus Gardley, Scott Z. Burns, Meredith Monk, Chuck Mee, Tony Kushner, Peter Sellars, Phillip Glass, Harold Pinter, Reinaldo Povod, Mabou Mines, Tennessee Williams, Brandon Jacob Jenkins and Tayler Mac.
Celestina Cardona Billington is an interdisciplinary artist. She has been called a director, actress, creative producer and human rights activist. Born in Houston, Texas, Celestina’s heritage is Tejano—her lineage an ethnic soup made up of hardworking anglo cowboys and Chicanas. Celestina’s work has taken her around the world—with projects in Europe, South Korea and across North America. At just 26 years old, Celestina’s artistic accomplishments are expansive. Her professional career began in 2011, when her original play “Don’t go to Hell, Dad,” was produced at the Alley Theater, the largest regional theater outside of New York City. She holds a degree in Creative Writing at The University of Houston. Upon graduating, she traveled extensively, and, supporting herself entirely on her artists income, she lived out of an Honda CRV for some time, exploring the concept of liminal space. All the while she maintained her practice, collaborating on shows for Taisha Paggett, Zoukak Theater, and many others. Celestina has been awarded the prestigious “Our Town,” grant by the National Endowment of the Arts, performed at El Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, and managed an artist residency in Massachusetts for the National Park Service. In 2019 Celestina moved to New York City with no hair, no money, and no local network. She came to the Big Apple with only her charisma, her creativity, and a wealth of prior experience. Now, just one year later, Celestina has re-grown her locks and lives in an historic apartment overlooking a park in the iconic Manhattan East Village, while still maintaining her studio in Houston. She met Yoshiko Chuma days before rehearsals were beginning for ‘Love Story.’ They shared a bowl of scrambled eggs and “that’s all she wrote.”
Robert Black tours the world creating unheard of music for the solo double bass, collaborating with the most adventurous composers, musicians, dancers, artists, actors, and technophiles from all walks of life. He is a founding and current member of the Bang On A Can All Stars. Current projects include a reflection on the Anthropocene in the form of a 10-channel audio/video installation with sound artists Brian House and Sue Huang, filmed at the Freshkills landfill in NYC, a collaborative work with dancer/choreographer Katie Stevinson. and commissions from John Luther Adams (bass quartet), Swiss composer Marcel Zaes (multichannel bass work), Natacha Diels (bass duet), Philip Glass (solo bass); Solo recordings include Philip Glass-Bass Partita and Poetry (Orange Mountain Music), Possessed (Cantaloupe Records) Modern American Bass (New World Records), The Bass Music of Christian Wolff and Giacinto Scelsi (Mode Records), and State of the Bass (O.O. Discs).
Chani Bockwinkel is a performer and filmmaker. She makes interdisciplinary-collaborative-feminist imagery for the stage, gallery, and internet. Her current project is : Those Who Wait a feature film re-telling the story of a 19th century doomsday movement. She also teaches an internationally roving queer feminist dance class SAPPHO and SWEAT. Her work has recently shown at BAMPFA, SOMArts, Acre TV, BRIC NYC, ODC Theatre, SF Dance Film Festival, Dock 11 Berlin and Aggregate Space Gallery.
All the while making underground movies, Jacob Burckhardt has worked at a variety of jobs: Blueberry picker, Steel Mill laborer, grape harvester, Fuller Brush man, Truck driver, Taxi driver, camera repairman. He did sound recording and mixing from North Africa to the porn industry. After making two features, IT DON’T PAY TO BE AN HONEST CITIZEN, and LANDLORD BLUES, he eschewed the money raising rat race, and prefers shorts, in film and video, where it is possible to preserve a direct relationship between the film and the film makers.He was one of the three collaborators of The School of Hard Knocks performance in 1980 in Venice, and did sound design for the company for several years after it was created.
Yanira Castro is a Puerto Rican interdisciplinary artist living in NYC. Since 2009, she has made performances, videos, and installations with a team of collaborators under the moniker, a canary torsi. a canary torsi’s practice has involved creating systems, scores, and software programs that ensure that elements of performance (choreography, text, music, environment) unfold in real time in response to the presence/participation of the audience, often building the work as a communal act. The work has been presented extensively in NYC and has toured nationally. Castro has received a Bessie Award for Outstanding Production and a NYFA Choreography Fellowship as well as various commissions, residencies and project grant awards. Her latest project, “Last Audience: a performance manual,” is a publication project with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and will be coming out the week of the election in 2020. She is one of the co-authors of “Creating New Futures’ Phase 1: Working Guidelines for Ethics & Equity in Presenting Dance & Performance,” a living document drafted as a call-to-action to address deep-rooted inequities and deficiencies in the field that were amplified by the global pandemic.
Tim Clifford is a visual artist based in Brooklyn, NY. His work addresses how vernacular objects and images accrue meaning and shape history. His recent work investigates the intersection of aesthetics and violence, of mourning rituals and games of chance. Clifford’s series Target Panic consists of 100 gouache drawings based on actual shooting targets. The title, Target Panic, refers to a condition that affects competition shooters and snipers who after years of practice are no longer able shoot straight. Clifford’s ongoing series, Threat Assessment, began in the aftermath of the school shooting which left 26 dead at his childhood elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. The works, in paper, use images from 20th century American shooting galleries found at Amusement parks such as Coney Island or travelling carnivals. His public sculpture Monument to a Missing Island commemorates the dynamiting of an island in New York’s East River in 1884.Clifford’s work has been shown in Randall’s Island Park, NY, at Howl! Happening, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and Socrates Sculpture Park.
Catherine Ai Csuka is an individual navigating the art of life in 2020. Ai grew up in Japan, moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where she was born at the age of 15 to have an “American” education. She moved to New York in 2017 in hopes of carving out a career in the arts industry. While experiencing various jobs from Executive Assistant to the CEO of Benihana to Assistant Director of a Japanese art gallery in Chelsea, Ai strived to be engaged in the local art community within her personal life – primarily in the Lower East Side and Brooklyn. The valuable relationships she cultivated will be life long treasures as she continues her pursuit of a fulfilling life with purpose.
Kyle Dacuyan writes poems and makes performance. His writing has appeared in Ambit, The Brooklyn Rail, The Offing, Social Text, and elsewhere. He is the Executive Director of The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s.
Sahar Damoni (سحر داموني) is a Palestinian choreographer whose body of work deals with the challenges she faces as a woman in Palestinian society. She holds a Bachelor of Dance and Movement for Practicing Teachers from Kibbutzim College. She danced with the KCDC Company. Sahar’s work has been presented in various festivals: Suzanne Dellal Centre International Exposure, Ramallah Contemporary Dance Festival, Internationale Solo-Tanz-Theater Festival Stuttgart, and Echo Echo Dance Festival, Ireland. She has lectured about her work at numerous universities. Sahar attended Ponderosa in Germany and participated in “Translucent Borders,” a project exploring ways that dancers and musicians create together hosted at New York University and Jacob’s Pillow, USA. In 2019 Sahar was invited to participate in Un/Controlled Gestures, sponsored by the Goethe Institute, Morocco; and a residency and performance at Movement Research, NYC, as part of Global Practice Sharing.
Ginger Dolden is a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, and teaching artist based in Brooklyn New York. Recently, she been seen live on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Last Call with Carson Daly and has performed at Roulette, Issue Project Room, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Ace Hotel, La MaMa, Joe’s Pub, Jalopy, Barbés, and The American Folk Art Museum. She has worked and recorded with artists including: Anthony Braxton, John Cale, Anthony Coleman, Yoshiko Chuma, Tony Conrad, Holly Miranda, Durand Jones and the Indications, The Hot Sardines and performs with The String Orchestra of Brooklyn and The Chelsea Symphony.
Ursula Eagly is a choreographer based in New York City since 2000. Her works are characterized by a “rabbit-hole logic” (New York Times), and her research considers the potential of porosity. Ursula’s works have been commissioned throughout New York City. Her last premiere was a piece for psychosocial motor systems at Danspace Project, and her previous project, an iterative work performed in multiple mediums, is still available as a vinyl LP from The Chocolate Factory. Ursula has collaborated with Yoshiko Chuma since 2006, when she was a core performer in the A Page Out of Order series. Her interest in different artistic contexts has drawn her to Yoshiko’s cross-border collaborations, and she has sustained independent projects with artists in the Balkans, Japan, Korea, and Mexico. www.ursulaeagly.org
Megumi Eda was born in Nagano, Japan. At age 3, she started training in classical ballet with her mom who is a ballet teacher using a dresser as a barre in a small living room. Her entire childhood and teenage years were totally focused on her dream to become a ballerina. She got a lot of attention and worked very hard which culminated in winning a major ballet competition and she has had a fortunate career as a dancer since then. She has been dancing professionally for over 25 years in Japan, Europe and America, including the Matsuyama Ballet, the Hamburg Ballet, Het/Dutch National Ballet, the Rambert Dance Company and Armitage Gone! Dance. She worked and toured all over the world constantly with these companies and participated in the creation of over a dozen new works with various collaborators. During those years, She began to move toward dance with a more modern/contemporary sensibility. Since she has assisted her husband, Nathan Buck a filmmaker, she has developed her passion as a video editor and a director. She has found that her internal artistic processes in creating these kinds of things is similar to her dance sensibility and she loves exploring these new areas of creativity. She has collaborated with Yoshiko Chuma since 2014 as a performer and filmmaker. She won a Bessie Award in 2004.
Dr. Mika Eglinton is Professor of Theatre and Cultural Studies at Kobe University of Foreign Studies, Japan. Her areas of research are on early modern and contemporary British drama, with emphasis on productions of Shakespeare in both European and Asian contexts. Her academic publications include contributions to The Routledge Companion to Directors’ Shakespeare (Routledge, 2008), Shakespeare Studies 49 (2011), Shakespeare 7.3 (2011) and A History of Japanese Theatre (Cambridge University Press, 2016). She is also actively involved in the creation of theatre as a dramaturg, translator and critic. Her recent translation works were commissioned by Kyoto Experiment, Aichi Triennale and SPAC. She is a regular writer to English and Japanese language media including The Japan Times. She is one of the core members of Asian Shakespeare Intercultural Archive (A|S|I|A) and Asian Women Performing Arts Collective (AWPAC) and a co-researcher of Scene/Asia, Art Commons Tokyo, as well as a committee member of the World Shakespeare Conference in 2021.
Fumie Erikawa was born in Tokyo in 1965. In the mid-twenties, transferred from an office worker of life insurance company to a flower designer. Through flower job, attracted to beautiful Japanese Tea Ceremony. It was a turning point to think about Japanese culture. After that, immersed in practice of Japanese Tea Ceremony named Sohen-ryu over decade. In 2005, engaged of membership program operation for Mori Art Museum (Tokyo.) Since 2013, in charge of development of Yokohama Museum of Art to the present day. In 2010, involved of the project ” ROOT CULTURE meets Yoshiko Chuma : Hold the Clock” (in Yokohama) as a production staff. Currently living in Kamakura and learn Itchu-Bushi (a style of Japanese music by shamisen and joruri) continuously.
Joan Finkelstein (MFA, BFA NYU Tisch Dance) joined the Harkness Foundation as Executive Director in 2014. A native New Yorker, she has extensive professional dance experience, performing in modern, contemporary and Afro-Haitian companies and on Broadway; choreographing for ballet and modern companies and for theatrical projects; and teaching children, college students and adults nationwide. As Director of 92Y Harkness Dance Center (1992-2004) she supervised classes, the DEL program, performance festivals, workshops, space grants, lectures, and social dances. While Director of Dance for the NYC Department of Education (2004-2014) she spearheaded the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance, citywide dance assessments, and dance teacher professional development. Participating Writer: National Core Arts Standards in Dance (2014), New York State Learning Standards in the Arts – Dance (2017). Board service: Dance/USA, International Committee for the Dance Library of Israel, Actors’ Temple. Advisory boards: Dance/NYC (founding year), Dance Teacher Magazine, Martha Hill Fund, EFSD, NYFA. Honors: ICDLI (Hall of Fame, 2003), NDEO (2009 Leadership Award), La Mama (2011), NYSDEA (2014 Outstanding Leadership Award). Awards: NEA and NARB Choreographer Fellowships. Joan was a BESSIES NY Dance and Performance Awards Committee member for 16 years.
Robert Flynt’s work has been widely exhibited in museums and galleries in the US and abroad since 1980. In 1992 it was featured in “New Photography” at MoMA in NYC, where it is in the permanent collection, as well as in the Metropolitan Museum, International Center of Photography, LA County Museum of Art, MFA Houston, among many others. Flynt has received fellowships from MacDowell, Light Work, Art Matters, Bogliasco (Italy) and Valparaiso (Spain). He has collaborated extensively with choreographers and performance artists at PS122, The Kitchen, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Centre Pompidou, and elsewhere. Flynt’s collaborative projects include commissions from Brooklyn Academy of Music with choreographer Bebe Miller in 1989, and the L.A. International Arts Festival with Ishmael Houston-Jones and Dennis Cooper in 1990, and with Yoshiko Chuma on The Yellow Room, Daghdha Dance Company (Ireland) in 2003. Body-Scan, a image/performance project with choreographers Benoit Lachambre and Su-Feh Lee, premiered at Le Quartz in France in March, 2008 . In 2009 he collaborated with Pavel Zustiak/Palissimo on Weddings and Beheadings, premiering in New York at the Ailey Center Theater. The pair received a Baryshnikov Arts Center residency in 2010 and premiered their collaboration, Amidst, there in June, 2011. More recent projects include Octavio Campos’ “Triple Quince”, at Miami Light Project and Baryshnikov Arts Center and “Exit Strategies” with ChrisMastersDance at Triskelion Arts.
Dan Froot is a Bessie Award-winning performance artist, musician, dancer, director and writer who has collaborated with such artists as Yoshiko Chuma, The School of Hard Knocks, Betty Much, David Dorfman, Ping Chong, Dan Hurlin, Ralph Lemon, Guy Klucevsek, Victoria Marks, and the legendary Jeff Weiss. His current project, “Pang!,” is a triptych of short plays and a season of podcast episodes based on oral histories of families around the country living with food insecurity.
Tatsuo Fukutomi is an administrative manager at The Saison Foundation, a grant-making organization based in Tokyo that supports contemporary theater and dance artists and projects. During the past two and a half decades, he has held positions at the nonprofit institution as program officer, secretary to the president, and public relations manager. Tatsuo is also a DJ by the name bemsha and has played music for various events such as PechaKucha Night Tokyo. He co-founded the DJ unit and party Les Vibrations at the bar/restaurant VIVE LA VIVE in Shibuya, Tokyo. His other activities include photography and his images have been printed in several publications and were featured in the Paris-based magazine Clam. He lives in Tokyo with his wife and children. Photo: KEPHA
Dieter Heitkamp is a Professor for contemporary dance at the University for Music and Performing Arts Frankfurt a.M. and director of the Dance Department since 2001. He has been on the Board of Directors of Tanzlabor_21/ Tanzbasis Frankfurt_ Rhein_Main from 2006 – 2015. In 2009 he initiated the interdisciplinary research platform THE ARTIST’S BODY tab.hfmdk-frankfurt.info. Since over 40 years he has been involved with studying, teaching and performing Contact Improvisation (CI). His on-going interest in developing and documenting CI as a social dance form and a choreographic tool took a new direction, with contactencyclopedia.net, which he developed in cooperation with Norbert Pape and with the support of the HfMDK Frankfurt a.M. For 20 years (78–98) he worked with Tanzfabrik Berlin as a choreographer, dancer, teacher, collective member and one of the artistic directors (until 1995). Besides creating over 18 full evening length pieces for Tanzfabrik, he also worked as a guest choreographer for Ballet Frankfurt („Pizza Girl“), choreographed two theatre productions (Peter Palitzsch, Holger Schulze) at Freie Volksbühne Berlin and made works for Video and TV. In 1997 he created both the choreography and the set design for „Le Disperazioni del Signor Pulcinella“, a ballet by Hans Werner Henze, for the State Opera Berlin. In his choreographies and lecture performances Dieter Heitkamp combines movement, text, concepts, images, objects, light, film and music. His choreographies have been presented throughout Germany, in 15 European countries, Canada, the USA, Japan, Hongkong and Brazil. He was a founding member of the German Forum for Contemporary Dance in the 90ies, is a member of ITI Germany and ID_Frankfurt/ Independent Dance and also worked as curator for Tanzplan Deutschland, Fonds Darstellende Künste, Tanz im August and Kunststiftung NRW. He was the Artistic Director of the 3rd. Dance Education Biennale 2012 Frankfurt am Main and has been one of the speakers of the German dance education conference for 7 years.
Bob Holman, founder of the Bowery Poetry Club and the author of 17 poetry collections (print/audio/video), most recently The Unspoken (YBK/Bowery), Life Poem (YBK/Bowery). The Cutouts (Matisse) (PeKaBoo Press) and Sing This One Back To Me (Coffee House Press), Bob Holman has taught at Princeton, Columbia, NYU, Bard, and The New School. As the original Slam Master and a director at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, creator of the world’s first spoken word poetry record label, Mouth Almighty/Mercury, and the Artistic Director of the Bowery Poetry Club, Holman has played a central role in the spoken word, slam and digital poetry movements of the last several decades. All told, he has performed well over 1,000 times, around the globe, from Madison Square Gardens and rock stadiums to church basements and Ethiopian Tej Bets (honey wine bars). Co-founder of the Endangered Language Alliance, Holman’s study of hip-hop and West African oral traditions led to his current work with endangered languages. He is the producer/director/host of various films, including The United States of Poetry (International Public Television Award) and On the Road with Bob Holman. His film about language loss and revitalization, Language Matters with Bob Holman, winner of the Berkeley Film Festival’s Documentary of the Year award, was produced by David Grubin and aired nationally on PBS. Holman traveled for the film and led workshops at language revitalization centers across Alaska and Hawaii, sponsored by the Ford Foundation. His short film, Khonsay: Poem of Many Tongues, has lines of poetry in 50 languages, and premiered at the Margaret Mead Film Festival. In 2018, Holman was awarded the Chambra d’Oc Premio Ostana Award for his work in language revitalization. His roots are in Harlan, KY, and he currently lives on the Bowery in New York City.
A hoop dancer and an instructor, Grace Hoop was trained in Berlin from 2014 to 2016 and 2018 summer. She participated in numerous hoop conventions throughout Germany, where experiences include performing, choreographing and conducting workshops. Grace is now based in Hong Kong and she is passionate in stimulating the hoop culture. Recent projects include 《 BAUHAUS Magic Flute by Zuni Icosahedron 》, 《 Circular Reflection – The Abstract Cosmos 》 by Orleanlaiproject, 《 Secret Journey, Stranger Than Paradise 》 by Yoshiko Chuma (Berlin), impromptu performance in Sónar and Clockenflap Music and Art Festivals. In 2017, Grace received The Hoopie Awards – “Hooper of the Year Asia” by hooping.org. Grace’s hoop dance is a form of free movement with hoop manipulation. It gives unlimited opportunities for discovering new moves, inspiring others, exploring the feeling of freedom with a tremendous amount of joy.
Chris Ignacio is a Filipino-American theatre artist, musician, puppeteer, producer and educator. He has toured nationally and abroad since graduating from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee. He is a Culture Push Fellow for Utopian Practice, and Queens Council on the Arts: Community Engagement Commissioning grantee for his self-produced project Co-written, which involves collaborative songwriting with young people of color. Chris served as Associate Producer for the Obie Award Winning Ma-Yi Theater (KPOP), and currently works at La MaMa ETC. As a performer, Chris often shares the stage with resident theatre artists and puppeteers at La MaMa, such as Theodora Skipitares, Loco7 Dance Puppet Theatre, and Yara Arts Group. He has sung at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, National Sawdust and more.
The music of Jason Kao Hwang (composer/violin/viola) explores the vibrations and language of his history. His compositions are often narrative landscapes through which sonic beings embark upon extemporaneous, transformational journeys. His most recent release is the Human Rites Trio. In 2019, 2018, 2013 and 2012, the El Intruso International Critics Poll voted him #1 for Violin/Viola. In 2017 Downbeat Magazine named his quintet Sing House as one of the best of the year. As violinist, he has worked with William Parker, Anthony Braxton, Butch Morris, Reggie Workman, Pauline Oliveros, Tomeka Reid, Patrick Brennan, Will Connell, Jr., Zen Matsuura, Oliver Lake, Adam Rudolph, Jerome Cooper and others.
Mizuho Kappa was Born in Osaka, Japan. She started her dance training at the age of 3 with Ballet and attended Hans Meister Summer Ballet Course. In Japan, she performed works by Kazuyuki Futami, Miho Ryu, Jonathan Huor, Jorge Vasquez, Ryu Suzuki and many others. Besides that, she researched insect biology at the University of Tokyo and published her article about the longhorn beetle in “Applied Entomology and Zoology”. Also she worked as a creative planner of space branding and experience design division at the marketing company, and won Bronze in Cannes Lions International Creative Festival as a creative planner. In 2018, she moved to New York and performed works by Igal Perry, Julie Magneville, Guanglei Hui, Nicholas Palmquist, Bennyroyce Royon, Vivake Khamsingsavath, Hussein Smko, Ayako Takahashi and more. In NY, she has had the opportunities to perform her own choreographic solos and group pieces at The Salvatore Capezio Theater, House of YES, Alvin Ailey, Arts On Site and more. Also she has presented her experimental performances collaborating with some artists from different art world at ITINERANT Performance Art Festival, Open Source Gallery, DE CONSTRUKT, New Museum & NEW INC and more. Currently she works with Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, GASPARD & DANCERS, Project TAG and more.
Andrew Kim is a videographer and photographer from Austin, TX. He has been involved in non-profit arts organizations such as Movement Research, Vilcek Foundation, and Dieu Donné. He received his BFA in Art History from the University of Texas at Austin.
Elizabeth Kresch, Brooklyn born painter, grew up steeped in rich lineages of poetry, art and jazz and started painting in the post punk music and art scene of the New York 80’s. Equal parts observer, documentarian, dreamer and functional protector she finds the shape, angle, color and conjures the subjects that populate the heady fascial flow of our world-over creative pulse. Her childhood exposure came through watching her mother draw for Saks Fifth Ave on the light of she built. (She maintained her maiden name Patricia Middaugh for her fashion illustration drawing work and self taught using a mirror when she wanted to move away from modeling), reading the boxes of books beat poet Denise Levertov would send her and being privy to the raucous painting discussions that would erupt during slide nights in their living room with artists Leland Bell, Robert DeNiro Sr, Louisa Matthiasdottir and sometimes others. When Count Basie records shook the house she knew her father, Hoffman student Albert Kresch, was busy painting. She swore she would never be an artist. Alas. He continued to voraciously keep her up with friends shows, take her for studio visits and museums and invite her to sit in on the classes he taught at Parsons MFA & Fashion Institute of Technology. Summers were spent trading houses with people outside the city where her parents could paint and she would entertain herself with the grasshoppers and in New Mexico a sculptor down the road who showed her how to make bird whistles. She was about 12 when her father brought her to see his students bands at CBGBs and other venues and she realized art was also for a younger generation.. The path was lit. She soon found her own peers and dedicated pencil to paper and brush to canvas to be continued throughout her work and adventures. Elizabeth studied painting at the New York Studio School, Sarah-Lawrence College and Chautauqua Institute as well as Bennington College, and has contributed to group shows at Noho M55 Gallery, Wendigo Gallery, Gershwin Hotel, Tactile Bosch in Cardiff, Wales, & Portrait Gallery in London. In February 2019, she had a solo show at Love, Henry entitled Entropy & Eternity and in July she embarked on a collaboration with visionary Yoshiko Chuma for her School of Hard Knocks endeavor out of which this show has sprung.
Kanami Kusajima, a native of Japan, started training at Sonoko Yuhara's studio when she was six years old. During her tenure at this studio, she won awards such as the TV Saitama Prize and the Encouragement Prize. In 2013, she entered Kanagawa Sohgoh High School, where she trained in physical expression, foundations of acting, dance studies, singing, and stage production.
Kusajima graduated Summa Cum Laude from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College, SUNY in 2020. During the 4-year program at Purchase College, she trained in ballet, modern dance techniques (Graham technique/Cunningham technique/Limon technique), improvisation, and choreography, among others. She has performed in dance works by various choreographers, including Martha Graham, Francesca Harper, and Ana Maria Lucaciu. In 2019, she danced for Meagan Ahern’s piece in American Dance Guild Festival. She also performed in the U.S. premiere of Xu Yi's music piece "Saveur," which was created for solo percussionist and solo dancer. She has done a lot of improvisational performances at jazz bars, art galleries, and a variety of outside locations as well, including Showman’s, Mist Harlem, Dwyer Cultural Center, OSSAM Gallery at J-COLLABO, Washington Square Park, and Sound of Brazil (SOB’s).
Ryan Leach (he/him) is a New York based actor, writer and comedian originally from Virginia. Film credits include We Demand (Berlinale 2016, BAM), Little Men (Sundance) and The Ducks Migration (OUTFest, Queer Lisboa). Television credits include Comedy Central’s The Other Two and At Home With Amy Sedaris on TruTV. He has performed at La MaMa, HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, Dixon Place and the New York International Fringe Festival. His comedy can be seen at Broadway Comedy Club, MTV News, StandUp NY, Littlefield, Union Hall, The Bell House, Upright Citizens Brigade, Caveat and more. He is proud to be a co-founder of Awf Magazine — the first online LGBTQ+ satire publication. Photo by Alex Schaefer
Heather Litteer is an actress and chatusee – Meaning “She knows how to wiggle and tell stories in the key of middle C” ! Heather has been a vital member of the downtown performance & alternative cabaret scene. Having her own Variety show called Pleasure Seekers! LIVE with a rotating cast of downtowns most lively denizens and Women Reading series W.O.(e).R.D Womens of Experience Read Downtown. She is the recipient of HOWL! Arts Fellowship and Theatre Communications Group Fox Fellowship. She wrote and premiered her one woman show Lemonade at La MaMa. Lemonade went on to the AfterGlow festival in P-town, SFX festival NYC , Edinburgh Fringe to London’s Kings Head Theatre. Heather is a member of Caden Manson’s critically acclaimed Big Art Group ,Yoshiko Chuma’s School Of Hard Knocks. as well as the legendary arthouse performance nightclub “The Jackie Factory.” Also making daring film choices acting as the “subject of desire” in a few major motion pictures working with Jane Campion, Darren Aronodsky and Mary Harron. Ms Litteer loves her NYC neighborhood but still hangs on to her Georgia Roots and Sass … Cause … “When Life Hands you Lemons you Just gotta make Lemonade.”
Chris McIntyre is a trombonist, voltage controller, composer, and conceptualist who works in various musical contexts (from improvisative to interpretive.) He makes scores and strategies for various media and instrumental forces, experimenting with recorded and synthesized sound and using transformational structures to create a narrative of evolving sonic states. McIntyre has harnessed the feral energies of trombones in septet formation, sometimes heard in Zooma. Throughout his career, he has organized various unitized masses of brass instruments, focussing the listener experience on amplified vibrations of air projected from within these metallurgic, conical forms. He consistently (and unconsciously) employs patterns of 5’s, whether articulated in tuplets, cycles, or in formal structures. Much like his dislocated spiritual mentor Robert Smithson, McIntyre is preoccupied with the artistic employment of entropy.
Kouki Mojadidi, founder of Wingspan Architects, is a licensed Architect and an alumna of The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. She has implemented socially conscious projects in areas of conflict, natural disaster, and reconstruction leading complex design projects through all phases of development, from concept to implementation to create an inclusive architectural practice aiming to empower communities. Every project for Kouki is an opportunity create spaces that thrive at the intersection of community, social impact and justice. https://www.wingspanarchitects.com
Free sound fragments for a blowing up world. Dancer-musician-sound artist Brian Moran has been working in New York since 1981, beginning with experimental dance and expanding out to performance art, live video/sound, improvisation, DJing, punk and contemporary theatre. His career as a psychiatric RN and Craniosacral Therapist and the fascination with energy work and body psychology have informed both his movement works, with their body quirks and obsessive gestures, and his sound design which channels the tics of Tourette’s syndrome, the rituals of the autistic, the obsessiveness of the addict and the subtleties of life’s deviance. He currently uses modular analogue synthesizers, field recordings, effects pedals, and modified cassettes in his music and sound design, which has been influenced by artists, writers and musicians such as John Cage, J G Ballard, AMM and Min Tanaka. Known in the 1980s for his “Blood Boy” performances (often seen at the notorious King Tut’s Wa-Wa Hut and The Pyramid Club), Moran has choreographed his own solo projects and performed internationally and in the US with Yoshiko Chuma, Stephanie Skura and Ishmael Houston-Jones dance companies; with the live video group NNeng (with Nancy Meli Walker and Benton Bainbridge). Other collaborators include Charles Cohen, Mark Ashwill, Lydia Lunch, Richard Kern, Ikue Mori, Hopi Kamayama and Molly Davies. An impresario of Avant-Garde music Moran curated “+/-“ ; a series of duet DJ/dancer improvisations and “Special Input” an avant electronic music series. Recording as “Operating System Bug”, Moran created a super remixed audio travelogue compiled from street sounds recorded in South East Asia for a performance with Angie Eng. Ongoing sound projects include “Shunyata” an Electro-acoustic duet with drummer Matt Hannafin and solo modular synthesizer live performances and collaborations. He has been awarded numerous ETC and “Meet The Composer” grants and in 2000 received a residency at the Experimental Film and Television Center. More recently he has released a sold out limited cassette “ The Driscoll Mala” on the Love All Day label, and has appeared on stage in a short movement solo for the 30th anniversary of Yoshiko Chuma’s “Five Car Pile Up”. Inspired by two recent trips to Cairo, Egypt and a partnership with visual artist Shayma Aziz, Moran has begun work on “Cairo Khalas Ba’a” (Cairo, enough said/heard) a durational sound piece for her “Floating Over The Cairene Sky” installation project.
Born in Tokyo, Sizzle Ohtaka’s music career has spun beyond genres and geographical borders. Sizzle leads improvisation workshops called, “Voice Drawing” and regularly appears in “Nihongo de Asobo” on NHK’s (Japan BroadcastingCorporation) Educational Channel. http://sizzle-ohtaka.com
Nicky Paraiso is an actor, singer, musician, writer, curator, solo performance artist. He has been a fixture of the NY downtown performance scene for the last four decades. He is Director of Programming for The Club at La MaMa, and Curator for the annual La MaMa Moves! Dance Festival, celebrating its fifteenth year in May 2020. He has worked as a performer with vanguard artists Jeff Weiss & Richard C. Martinez, Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble, Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks, among many others. Nicky is the recipient of a 1987 Bessie Award for Performance, a 2012 BAX Arts & Artists in Progress Arts Management Award, a 2018 TCG Fox Fellowship for Resident Actors/Round 12, and the 2019 (NY Innovative Theatre) Ellen Stewart Award for Stewardship. Nicky’s most recent full-length performance, now my hand is ready for my heart: intimate histories, directed by John Jesurun, was presented at La MaMa in March 2019. Photo: Jackie Rudin
Miriam Parker is an artist who uses sound, paint, light, movement, video projection and sculpture to create media and performance-based works. Her work has been greatly influenced by her connection to free jazz tradition, and her study of Buddhism, phenomenology, and kinesthetic empathy. She has worked as a performer in collaboration with Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks for the past 10 years.
Wendy Perron teaches dance history at Juilliard and a graduate seminar at NYU Tisch School of the Arts. As a dancer/choreographer in the 1970s–1990s, she performed at Lincoln Center Festival, The Joyce, Danspace and other venues. A former editor in chief of Dance Magazine, she published a selection of her writing in Through the Eyes of a Dancer. She now posts articles, including the new series “Unsung Heroes of Dance History,” at www.wendyperron.com. Her book, The Grand Union: Accidental Anarchists of Downtown Dance, 1970–1976, was just published by Wesleyan University Press.
After some years as an actor in German theater, Peter Pleyer studied dance and choreography at the European Dance Development Center (EDDC) in the art academy in Arnhem/NL. He worked as dancer and choreographic assistant for Yoshiko Chuma (New York) and Mark Tompkins(Paris). Since his studies he has worked closely with the Hungarian dancer Eszter Gal, their choreographies and improvisations have been shown in Holland, Germany, Hungary, Paris and at the New York improvisation festival. In the Netherlands Peter choreographed his first group pieces (selected for the choreography completions Groningen/NL 1994). Since 2000 he lives in Berlin with a strong interest in new methods of training dance and composition, where improvisation plays a central role. Out of his interest in the newly developing dance-research programs in different universities he developed the lecture performance „choreographing books“ (2005) on his view of the difference in the dance research in the US and Europe, and how that can be beneficial for dancer and choreographer. He teaches internationally, his workshop „history in practice“ that focused strongly on the „post-judson-avantgarde“ was held in the alternative dance academy in Poznan, P.O.R.C.H.- Stolzenhagen, the Polish Theatre-Institut, Warsaw, MA Choreography ArtEZ/ Arnhem, HZT-Berlin and Tanzquartier Wien. From 2007-14 he was the artistic director of Tanztage Berlin. In 2014 he successfully picked up his choreographic career with the solo „Ponderosa Trilogy“ (at the Life-Legacy-Project at Tanzhaus NRW and Impulstanz Wien), the group research and choreography „visible undercurrent“ (2014/16) and „cranky bodies dance reset“ (2017). His newest solo „triton tanzt – twisted trident“ about the history of release technique, deconstructing masculinity and the death of his father, was performed in Berlin and Prag. With his partner, Michiel Keuper, a visual composer, he will found „cranky bodies“ a/company in August 2020, despite or because of the difficulties of our times.
Kathryn Ray: born San Francisco, California. Came to New York mid-1970’s to dance. Met Yoshiko then. Andy Degroat, Kenneth King. Friend of Eric Richards. Resident of NYC. Ph.D. in developmental and molecular biology Graduate Center CUNY 2013. Adjunct lecturer Brooklyn College, teaching microbiology and biology. Service: two years tutoring reading with Reading Partners in Brooklyn. Share two children and two grandchildren with Lenny Pickett, another expected August 2020.
A film and media curator out of New York, L. Somi Roy has curated for The Asia Society, Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum, and the Smithsonian, among others. His film exhibitions have been seen across the US and in China, India, Indonesia and Israel. Roy was Festival Director of the Gold Coast International Film Festival in New York, the Asian American Film Festival of New York, and the New York Indian Film Festival. He produced animation displays for the Atlanta Olympics, the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, and HD for Tokyo Broadcasting System in New York.
For over 20 years Mark Russell was the executive/artistic director of Performance Space 122 located in the East Village. Mr. Russell brought Performance Space 122 from a modest rental performance space with minimal technical service into a renowned year-round professionally equipped full production space. He was responsible for programming all events in both performance spaces at P.S. 122, as well as the P.S. 122 Field Trips, a national touring program. Unearned revenue for P.S. 122 and audience attendance more than tripled under his direction. In 1984, he was given a Village Voice Art Hero Award for his work at Performance Space 122. In 2000 he was awarded the prestigious Ross Wetson Obie for sustained achievement and support of emerging theatre artists. In May of 2004 he was awarded an Obie for Lifetime Achievement.
Jan Schmidt worked at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center for nearly thirty years, retiring as Curator in November of 2015. In retirement she worked with David Gordon, editing his writing for his website davidgordon.nyc. She is also working on a novel The Ninth Step and collection of short stories titled Everything I Need. Her website can be found at janschmidt-writer.com.
Bonnie Sue Stein is a producer, director, performer, writer and administrator; currently Executive and Artistic Director of GOH Productions, a non-profit arts organization in New York City. GOH creates and produces both live events and film projects in the USA, Europe, Middle and Far East Asia. Stein has been a consultant to numerous arts organizations in production and international exchange in over 25 countries, including Palestine, Estonia, Jordan, New York, Japan, Macedonia, Albania, Czech Republic and more. She was a program associate at Asia Society in NYC in the 1980s; General Manager for the musical group Absolute Ensemble for 10 years touring the globe; and managed Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks NY and global projects for over 20 years. Bonnie was born in Detroit, and studied theater, dance and Japanese at Michigan State and Waseda Universities. In the 1970s, in Japan, she immersed herself in the traditional arts – NOH Theatre, tea ceremony and flower arranging — as well as daily martial arts practice. She enjoys collaboration on many levels — with performers, backstage artists, producers, and designers — to create a variety of performance engagements and interactions.
Charlie Steiner is a photographer, filmmaker and media educator. Among other subjects covered in a long career, he has been filming dance extensively, in many locations worldwide, and has worked collaboratively many times with Yoshiko.
Steve Swell has been active in the NYC music community since 1975. His breadth of versatility has allowed him to tour and record with such mainstream artists as Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich in the past, as well as more contemporary artists like Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor and William Parker. He has over 50 CDs as a leader or co-leader and is a featured artist on more than 125 other releases. He tours regularly with numerous projects worldwide (William Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Ken Vandermark, Gebhard Ullmann) and several of his own (Kende Dreams, Soul Travelers, The Chicago Plan). Steve conducts workshops worldwide and is a teaching artist in the NYC public school system. Steve worked on music transcriptions of the Bosavi tribe of New Guinea for MacArthur fellow Steve Feld in 2000, received a grant from USArtists International in 2006, an MCAF (LMCC) award in 2008 and 2013. In 2014 he received a Creative Curricula grant (LMCC), was nominated Trombonist of the Year 2008, 2011 & 2020 (Jazz Journalists Association), and received the 2008 Jubilation Foundation Fellowship Award (Tides Foundation) for his work in NYC public schools. He has been recognized by the Downbeat Critics Poll in the Trombone category each year from 2010-2018, 2020. He was selected Trombonist of the Year 2008-2010, 2012, 2014-2019 by the Argentinian journal El Intruso. Steve’s recording “Soul Travelers” (RogueArt LP) was selected as an Album of the Year 2016 in the NYC Jazz Record. Steve’s CD Music for Six Musicians: Hommage à Olivier Messiaen (Silkheart) was listed in NPR’s top 50 albums for 2018. Steve is also an inaugural recipient of a Jazz Road Tours grant (SouthArts.org) begun in 2019 and received a 2020 Creative Engagement grant (Lower Manhattan Cultural Council) for performances to take place in Manhattan. www.steveswell.com
Dane Terry is a multi-media storymaker, performer and composer. He has made stories and music for all sorts of rooms. He has been up to this for quite some time and intends to stay up to it. Dane is the writer, composer and lead performer of the Music Fiction podcast Dreamboy. Works for stage include: Jupiter’s Lifeless Moons (PSNY 2018) and Bird In The House (La MaMa 2015, Under The Radar Festival 2016). Dane was the 2016 recipient of the Ethyl Eichelberger Award from PSNY. I began working with Yoshiko Chuma in 2014. On night two of a multi-night bill at La MaMa Theater featuring both of us, the first night of which I was the accompanist for several other performers, Yoshiko said to me: “tonight, I want to play piano”. I laughed awkwardly and said “well, so play!” She pointed that huge skylight of a smile at me and said “no, I cannot!” I laughed and joked: “well, I can hide under the piano and play while you act like you’re playing.” Her smile instantly vanished and she said: “yes. that is what we will do.” I began to realize that she was serious when she began to tell me how I would hide under the piano before her performance in the dark. My nerves sparked and I pleaded for a run thru, even a cue-to-cue sort of deal, anything to understand what I was supposed to do. To which she quite firmly said something that I have since heard countless times: “no. no rehearsal.” Anyway, the rest is as they say, herstory…and that night people actually thought she was playing, until she danced away from the piano.
Aldina Michelle Topcagic has created and performed for the “Guggenheim Museum Bilbao”, Spain, the “Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium”, in Belgium, the “Artlemo Gallery Berlin”, in Germany, “Musiikkitalo Helsinki Music Center”, Finland, “Fabrica de Arte Cubano” in Havana, Cuba, “Novi Hram Gallery” in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the “Universalmuseum Joanneum Kunsthaus Graz”, the “Universalmuseum Joanneum Joanneumsquartier”, “Papierfabrik – Kunstfreiraum Graz” and the “Zimmerman-Kratochwill Gallery” in Graz, Austria. She created and produced the following of her own multidisciplinary dance art projects: “Timeless in Space”, “Voice of the Silence,” “Timeless,” “Crossing Arts” “Inroots”, “Space Series”, “Living Sculpture”, “Transition”, “A Woman In Any Century” and “AMBIENTI & SPACE”. Through the interplay of spirituality and physicality, her work is oriented towards awareness and personality.
Tanin Torabi (طنین ترابی) is an award-winning contemporary dance artist, director, and curator based in Iran. She works in the realm of performance, choreography, and film, and enjoys exploring the connection between the three. Her dance films have received numerous awards in categories like “Creative Vision Award”, “Best Artist Film”, “Best Short Film Jury Prize”, “Best Inspirational Film”, “Best Inspiring Woman in a Film”, “Best Experimental Film”, “Best Cinematography” and “Best Documentary”, to name a few, from renowned festivals and have been shown and studied in more than a hundred festivals worldwide. Torabi holds an MA in Contemporary Dance from the University of Limerick in Ireland, and a BA in Sociology. She is also the co-founder and artistic director of Seyr Festival, Tehran’s International Festival of Screen-Movement and Media Arts. Torabi has widely worked in collaboration with international, as well as Iranian artists in her works. She has choreographed and performed a number of solo dance pieces in Iran and Europe and has worked for some theatre companies as a Movement Director in Tehran. She also has performed in ensemble pieces by international choreographers during her stay in Ireland. Since 2020 she became a member of The School of Hard Knocks and has been working in close relationship with NYC based choreographer Yoshiko Chuma ever since. www.tanintorabi.art Photo credit: Milad Sanaei
Nick Vaughan & Jake Margolin are Houston-based interdisciplinary artists and a married couple. They have had solo shows at the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art, the Invisible Dog Art Center (NYC), Art League Houston, Aurora Picture Show (Houston), and Devin Borden Gallery (Houston). They have presented performative artist lectures at the Alley Theatre (Houston) and Hartford Stage. Recent exhibitions in LGBT community spaces include Tahlequah, Oklahoma’s 2018 pride festival and gay bars in Houston. Nick & Jake are recipients of a NYFA Fellowship, a Tulsa Artist Fellowship, and grants from the MAPFund, the IdeaFund, the Houston Arts Alliance, and Mid America Arts Alliance. Nick & Jake are members of the theater company The TEAM with whom they have created six devised works, and they frequently collaborate as visual designers with choreographers Faye Driscoll and Yoshiko Chuma.
Mat Voorter works with dance and other arts. With ZOO-Thomas Hauert he created-performed in almost all the works since their beginning 20 years ago. Over more than 25 years he worked with his life partner David Zambrano studying, performing, organising and creating costumes for many of the creations. In 2018 together they created Tictac Art Centre in Brussels, a space for dance and other art forms, with a focus in sharing spontaneous creation / improvisation through workshops / performing / exhibitions. Other recent collaborations which he can mention are with Anne Lore Baeckeland (improvising for/with children), NEST (directing and creating costume and scenography with teenagers), Les Slovaks and Cie Thor (costumes, created in collaboration with Pepa Canel).
Ryuji Yamaguchi, dancer and educator, is originally from Japan. In 2007, Ryuji moved to Madaba, Jordan as founding faculty member at King’s Academy, a new boarding high school, where he currently directs the dance program and is dean of residential life. As a member of Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks, Ryuji has collaborated with Yoshiko to create eight major productions in Jordan and Palestine, produce multiple short films, collaborate with numerous Jordanian and Palestinian artists, and invite over 40 Japanese and American artists to Jordan. As director of Midan: Amman Dance Lab, Ryuji works to nurture dance in Jordan across socioeconomic, linguistic, and cultural boundaries.
Yukihiko Yoshida (吉田 悠樹彦) is researcher of Digital Humanities and dance critic( Committee member of Dance Critics Society of Japan). the International Advisory Boards of the Digital Community Division, Prix Ars Electronica (2005-2009). Yukihiko YOSHIDA “Hironobu Oikawa”, The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance, Routledge(2019). Yoshida, Yukihiko,“Jane Barlow and Witaly Osins, ballet teachers who worked in postwar Japan, and their students, Pan-Asian Journal of Sports & Physical Education, Vol.3(Sep), 2012. Yoshida, Yukihiko,“National Dance under the Rising Sun, mainly from the articles in ’National Dance’, ’Buyo Geijutsu’ and activities of Takaya Eguchi”. International Journal of Eastern Sports & Physical Education. 2009.
David Zambrano has been a monumental figure in the international dance community for more than 35 years, and his passion for cultural exchange continues to influence his work. Zambrano is an ambassador and liaison across many borders, bringing together artists from all over the planet for his projects. He has taught his own approach to dance in more than 75 countries and has performed at hundreds of venues across the world. His pieces range from set choreography, structured improvisation, and pure improvisation. Born in Venezuela, Zambrano spent 15 years in New York and now lives in between Amsterdam and Brussels.
zaybra is a performer and dancer based in Brooklyn, NY and is performing with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks as well as collaborating with Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone in their project “scarcity complex or 21st century feelings.” zaybra has performed at MoMA PS1, Judson Memorial Church, Invisible Dog, 92nd Street Y, SPRING BREAK/ART SHOW, Center for Performance Research and the fab DIY venue, Trevorshaus. zay is studying energetic medicine and its relationship to creativity as a fellow at Succurro. zaybra creates performances and through this imagines a world equitable and impartial for all humans and creatures. zaybra believes a key component to creating this future is for people to have access and freedom to explore their true selves and desires. By creating cathartic movement experiences and surreal worlds through performance, zay works toward expressing their truth and sharing that access with others.
Presented by La MaMa and CultureHub, La MaMa is exploring ways to respond creatively to a situation that is potentially changing how we gather as a community in our theatres. La MaMa is working with CultureHub to provide online streaming of select productions and events on Howlround Theatre Commons.