Jul 18, 2020

SATURDAY MORNING LIVE | SML: Zooma – Dead End | Madaba / Amman / Kabul

Presented and supported by La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club and Mount Tremper Arts
Secret Journey: 40th Anniversary of Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks // The School of Hard Knocks to Dead End: My Diary, Tipping Utopia to Dead End

a black arrow pointing downward

Special Guests This Week:
Tim Clifford, Bob Holman, Brian Moran, Ryuji Yamaguchi

SML: Zooma – Dead End is a completely new style of theatre.

SML: Zooma – Dead End is the latest chapter of Dead End, The School of Hard Knocks (2020-2023) an ongoing multi-disciplinary performance series conceived, created and performed by Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks. Assembling a mosaic of films, dance, music, visual art, and narratives, Chuma continues a lifetime investigation of ideas regarding national security, perceived dangers within borders, immigration, and war. Now, in the face of the ongoing pandemic, Chuma turns to the ephemeral spaces online to forge connections between herself and her collaborators. Using live-streaming, live-video-mixing, and the ubiquitous tools of social conferencing, Zooma: Dead End will enable artists to explore their ideas and translate them into a theatrical language that can communicate to diverse artists and members of the community.

SML: Zooma – Dead End will feature 19 “sequels” that feature a regular cast of performers with hosts, special guests, and artists who are scattered across the world. Musicians, dancers and designers interact, albeit indirectly, as nineteen chapters cross over each other within the time-frame of one hour. Parallel incidents of sound, text, and action connecting the cities of New York, Ankara, Madaba, Tokyo, Caracas, Tehran, Hong Kong, Berlin, Los Angeles, Brussels, Kabul, Palestine, and Dakar.

Creative Team:
Ginger Dolden, Ryan Leach & Yoshiko Chuma

Music By:
Ginger Dolden, Jason Kao Hwang, Christopher McIntyre,
Sizzle Ohtaka, Steve Swell & Dane Terry

Series Performers:
Martita Abril, Agnè Auželytė, Deniz Atlı, Los Babuinos, Emily Bartsch,
Chani Bockwinkel, Yoshiko Chuma, Tim Clifford, Ai Csuka, Sahar Damoni,
Ursula Eagly, Megumi Eda, Bob Holman, Grace Hoop, Chris Ignacio,
Mizuho Kappa, Andrew Kim, Elizabeth Kresch, Peter Lanctot, Ryan Leach,
Heather Litteer, Jake Margolin, Kouiki Mojadidi, Brian Moran, Nicky Paraiso,
Miriam Parker, Peter Pleyer, Emily Marie Pope, Kathyrn Ray, Isaac Rosenthal,
Aldina Michelle Topcagic, Tanin Torabi, Nick Vaughan, Devin Brahja Waldman, Ryuji Yamaguchi, zaybra


These Performances Will Be Live Streamed on Zoom from 11:00am to 12:00pm (EDT):

June 20th (Opening Performance) | From Mount Tremper Arts to La MaMa Experimental Theater Club
June 27th |  Hong Kong
July 18th | Madaba / Amman / Kabul
July 25th | Lithuania / Berlin
August 22nd | Venezuela / Brussels at Tic Tac / Palestine
August 29th | Tehran / Ankara

These Social Distance Live Performances
at Mount Tremper Arts in Mount Tremper, New York will also be live streamed:

September 12th at 11am (EDT)
September 12th at 3pm (EDT)
September 12th at 7pm (EDT)

This Installation / Exhibition with Social Distance Live Performances
at La MaMa in the East Village will also be live streamed:

October 1st – 4th at 7:30pm (EDT)
October 8th – 11th at 7:30pm (EDT)
October 15th – 18th at 7:30pm (EDT)


For more than three decades now, Yoshiko Chuma has been building unique structures in the liminal area between her native Japanese culture and her adopted American one. Using trained and pedestrian movers, virtuoso instrumentalists (who’s playing she often conducts), film, video, and sculptural forms by collaborating artists, she develops unusual time-based art works that blend the live and the recorded, the flat and the three-dimensional, people and things. Chuma’s multidisciplinary work tries to capture the contemporary world in all its complexity: speedy, multi-faceted, diverse, both conceptual and concrete. She has traveled and worked in countries around the globe, with international casts.

Dead End, The School of Hard Knocks (2020-2023) intends to denote the final production of The School of Hard Knocks, founded in 1980 by Chuma, and will be the ultimate culmination and celebration of 40 years spent developing collaborations, concepts and provocative performance art.

Don’t overreact to anything that happens, it is not your practice.
If you are seeing this for the first time, you may have an idea about it, it is not what you think; it is something totally different. You may never understand it, but that is part of it
Admit if you are confused.
If you think you are listening, you are not.
If you think you understand, you do not.

An endless continuous circle of life, fluctuating between utopia and war;
no one knows any of these sequels.
Through observing, the audience perceives the results of war and conflict.


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.


Nestled in the Catskill Mountains, Mount Tremper Arts (MTA) is an artist-founded laboratory space dedicated to supporting artists in the creation and presentation of new works of contemporary art. Founded in 2008 by visual artist Mathew Pokoik and choreographer Aynsley Vandenbroucke, MTA cultivates generative artistic communities while making experimental contemporary art accessible to its diverse local community. As the New York Times recently wrote: “[MTA] has become a quietly thriving offshoot of the city’s contemporary performance world: a magnet for adventurous urban artists and a devoted local audience.”


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.

Headshot of Martita Abril

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

Headshot of Agnė Auželytė

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

Headshot of Deniz Atlı

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

Headshot of Los Babuinos

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.

Headshot of Chani Bockwinkel

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.

Headshot of Tim Clifford

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.

Headshot of Catherine Ai Csuka

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.

Headshot of Sahar Damoni

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.

Headshot of Ginger Dolden

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.

Headshot of Ursula Eagly

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

Headshot of Megumi Eda

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.

Headshot of Bob Holman

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.

Headshot of Grace Hoop

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.

Headshot of Chris Ignacio

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.

Headshot of Jason Kao Hwang

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.

Headshot of Mizuho Kappa

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.

Headshot of Andrew Kim

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.

Headshot of Elizabeth Kresch

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.

Headshot of Ryan Leach

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

Headshot of Heather Litteer

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.”

Headshot of Chris McIntyre

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.

Headshot of Brian Moran

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.

Headshot of Sizzle Ohtaka

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

Headshot of Nicky Paraiso

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

Headshot of Miriam Parker

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.

Headshot of Peter Pleyer

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.

Headshot of Kathryn Ray

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.

Headshot of Steve Swell

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

Headshot of Dane Terry

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.

Headshot of Aldina Michelle Topcagic

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.

Headshot of Tanin Torabi

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

Headshot of Nick Vaughan and Jake Margolin

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.

Headshot of Ryuji Yamaguchi

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.

Headshot of zaybra

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.

Online Happenings


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.

Special Event