Contemporary dance prodigy Hiroaki Umeda develops as artist-in-residence
Held on a continuing basis in Mons, Belgium, and Maubeuge, France, the VIA Festival features the performing arts and the latest technologies. As a component of Mons 2015, this year the festival hosted contemporary dancer and visual artist Hiroaki Umeda at a one-month residency at La gare numerique, located in the Maubeuge suburb of Jeumont. Co-located with a railway station, La gare numerique is an art center for media art, science, education and research. After crafting his new dance piece “Intensional Particle” in this well-equipped creative space, Umeda debuted it at the VIA Festival, where it delivered a major stimulus. He then captivated large numbers with the same piece at such locations as Stereolux in Nantes and Mapping Festival 2015 in Geneva.
Date: 15 Feb. - 18 Mar. 2015 Venue: La gare numérique (Jeumont, France)
Performance (VIA Festival):
Date: 19-20 Mar. 2015 Venue: Andrée Malraux Theater (Jeumont, France) Program: new piece
Dance perfomance confronting worldwide issue of social recluses
The Farm in the Cave theater company is known for its creative process in which the dancers get to the core of their subject matter by themselves conducting conscientious research and interviews. Based in the Czech Republic, the group enhances the appeal of its pieces with the richly varied perspectives of its multinational makeup, with dancers coming from such countries as Korea, Vietnam and Slovakia. Inspired by the novels of Ryu Murakami and such contemporary Japanese art as the pictures of Tetsuya Ishida, “Night in the City” takes as its theme the societal issue of social recluses that has now appeared outside Japan as well. Assisted during their Japan visit by Kawamura, who served on the volunteer staff at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival in 2012, the dancers conducted an energetic course of interviews and investigation. Their true-to-life performance in this production underpinned by actual experience was acclaimed. Included in the program of the 2016 Czech Dance Platform, the piece enjoys growing prospects for presentation to a broader audience in future.
Joint production by Japanese, Czech artists who studied together in Paris
The stage production Among Us emerged from the encounter of Chinami Gentsu and Hana Strejčková as students at L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in 2011. The creation of local children and a production team assembled from such far-flung places as the Czech Republic, Japan, Jordan, the United States and Poland, this piece underwent long-distance preparations and then three weeks of rehearsals in the Czech Republic. The exploitation in the work of workshops held concurrently and of the results of a survey of the viewpoints and creativity of children in non-linguistic areas was reminiscent to an adult audience of our receptivity in infancy. The performance stirred large numbers and brought much to their notice. With the success of this project in the Czech Republic, ideas are afoot for bringing the performance to Japan as well in future.
Chinami Gentsu Hana Strejčková Juni Endo Sota Sakuma
Performance by Czech-based Japanese artist Noriyuki Sawa
“Gauche the Cellist” is a joint production by the Czech-based puppetry artist Noriyuki Sawa and the JT Biohistory Research Hall in Osaka. Jakub Hora, director of the Alfa Puppet Theatre in Plzeň, encountered the work at the Iida Puppet Festival in 2014, which then led to its performance at European Capital of Culture Plzeň. Interweaving cello and piano playing, puppetry, speech, paper cutouts and images of sand pictures, the work was produced to mark the 20th anniversary of the JT Bioihistory Research Hall. Replete with statements by Sawa touching on the mission of the Biohistory Research Hall to lend an ear to the stories of the smallest creatures and “live life as part of Nature” and the worldview of Kenji Miyazawa depicting how Gauche grows through his involvement with animals, the performance proved tremendously moving for adults as well as children.
Kobo Abe's signature work The Woman in the Dunes is one of the great classics of modern Japanese literature. It has been translated into 20 languages, including Czech, and acclaimed overseas as well. Depicting symbolically the ordinariness of civil society and the truth and essence of the life force of human beings in it within a worldview like the boundary between reality and unreality, the novel has been compared with Kafka's and enjoys a broad readership in the Czech Republic. Lifting ideas from Abe's novel, Nanohach, a dance company based in the Czech Republic since its formation in 2004, took up the challenge of dance transcending the different Czech and Japanese cultures. Playing an outdoor venue that made the most of the uncanny space of an old fortress on a hill, Nanohach's dance mesmerized a large audience with its overlays of the supple and the subtle.
13 Jun. 2015
The English Park of Kozel Chateau
Dance company NANOHACH (CZ) Ley Švejdová (Choreographer / CZ)
"The Woman in the Dunes" (Suna no Onna)
Circle of contemporary dance linking Japan, Slovakia and Czech Republic
The dance form butoh formed in Japan in the 1960s around Tatsumi Hijikata and has now established itself as one of our time's leading performing arts. Based in Slovenia, butoh dancer Ryuzo Fukuhara teaches at university and is also active in the vanguard of dance, taking part in the 2012 European Capitals of Culture Maribor and Guimarães, in Slovenia and Portugal respectively. In response to the request of local dancers, in Plzeň Fukuhara also offered a special workshop. Performed under a 250-year-old oak on an outdoor stage overlooking a lake, Fukuhara's “Touch of Life” lodged firmly in many memories as a piece both mysterious and brimming with the dynamism of life. As it happens, Fukuhara has deep connections with Plzeň: He has performed there previously and has many fans in the city who look forward to further workshops and performances in future.
20, 21 Jun. 2015
The English Park of the Kozel Chateau (20 Jun.), DEPO2015 (21 Jun.)
"A Touch of Life"
Ryuzo Fukuhara - The Seeds of Dance A workshop of butoh basics
Date: 22-26 Jun. 2015 Venue: St. Anne's Chapel (Nectiny)
Czech-based dance network spreads around the world
A festival of contemporary dance held annually by the non-profit Tanec Praha since 1991, the Czech Dance Platform this year operated in linkage with European Capital of Culture Plzeň 2015. As well as select performances of contemporary dance, the festival also featured workshops and seminars, and dance pieces describing the host country. The high-quality program attracted people involved with dance from around the world, also making the festival a networking opportunity. Yukio Suzuki and Ayano Honda took part in 2014, and their observations from the perspective of dancers had a great influence on their subsequent work. In 2015 the Japanese critics Takao Norikoshi and Megumi Ikeno took part. Their take-away from Czech contemporary dance was not only the high level it operates at, but the “abundance with admissibility” that makes room for interlocutors from outside. One looks forward to the development of much cooperation in dance between Japan on one hand and the Czech Republic and Europe on the other.
8-12 Apr. 2015
Ponec theatre for dance, Theatre Archa, Studio Alta, Alfred ve dvoře, Experimental space of NoD (Prague）
Participants from Japan:
Takao Norikoshi, Megumi Ikeno (Critic)
Since 1999 the bi-annual THESPIS festival has presented the status quo in monodrama theatre from all around the world. It is the only festival of its kind in Germany and has reached worldwide acclaim. This year’s 9th edition will be complemented by a special series: THESPIS junior, with monodramas for young audience. In this series, the show "TRUST ME" will be performed by the Japanese artist Hotaka Hagiwara, who participated in THESPIS in 2008. Other artists of THESPIS junior will come from Armenia, Poland and Germany. In the main section of THESPIS there will be performances from Denmark, the U.S., Great Britain, France, and other countries.
International Monodrama Festival website: http://www.thespis.de/
Introduction is live performance of Shamisen and Shakuhachi with video of “The Jiutamai performance in Itsukushima Shrine etc by Tokijyo Hanasaki”.
The first Jiutamai is “Chaondo(Tea ceremony with nature)”. It is the tribute dance to the four seasons while serving tea at a ceremony by young girl. The next is Shamisen performance, it is a comical story of animals. These two programs are vivid. The third one is Shakuhachi performance, it is very calm sound. The last program is Jiutami “Kanawa”. This is the wife changed to the demon by jealousy. The theme is change from the girl to the demon.
After the performance, workshops of Jiutamai, Jiuta and Shakuhachi will be held.