Japan Society Unveils Performing Arts Events for 2009-10

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Courtesy of publicist Shannon Jowett comes word of the Japan Society‘s performing-arts programming for the fall of 2009 and early part of 2010. Before you read the press release, check out this very cool video:

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Japan Transatlantic: Tokio-Berlin, September 2009-January 2010
Japan Society’s Performing Arts Program announces a thrilling new season of daring work in the disciplines of theater, dance and beyond. Under the theme “Japan Transatlantic: Tokio-Berlin,” productions in the 2009-2010 season focus on Japan-themed performances developed in Berlin by international artists in collaboration with Japanese artists based outside of Japan. With a strong emphasis on visual art elements, often incorporating multimedia components, these works harness the power of performers’ pure physical technique and individual abilities, representing a remarkable cultural hybrid with a unique reflection on their Japanese roots.

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…”Japan Transatlantic: Tokio-Berlin” focuses on the modern era where boundaries-national, cultural and conceptual-are constantly bent and traversed, and Japanese culture is no longer confined to the geographical borders of Japan. Highlights include an interactive performance melding live-generated projections, dance, text and food in heavenly Bento (created by Hiroko Tanahashi and Max Schumacher of post theater); the twisted and romantic hybrid butoh-dance piece Ame to Ame (Candy and Rain); and the world premiere commissioned dance piece there is no end to more — a cynical look at Japanese “cute” culture through a bold and violent juxtaposition of movement, text, animation and video of manga drawing from Bessie Award-winning, Berlin-based American choreographer Jeremy Wade. The fall 2009 season concludes with the ever-popular 13th Annual Contemporary Dance Showcase featuring several exciting U.S. premieres from Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

post theater: heavenly Bento
Thurs., Sept. 17 – Sat., Sept. 19, 7:30pm
Tickets: $15-$30 (see below)

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From the Berlin-based international artist collective post theater, founded by the inventive team of Japanese media artist Hiroko Tanahashi and director Max Schumacher, comes an interactive performance that combines live-generated projections, dance, text and real food, captivating all five senses. Based on the epic journey of the founders of Sony Corporation, Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka, and their dream of forming an internationally successful consumer electronics company, heavenly Bento is performed in the round. Saturated with images projected onto its unique raised stage, which transforms Japan Society’s proscenium theater into a boxing-ring-as-boardroom, heavenly Bento is a dazzling display of human and technological expression in an exploration of friendship, ambition and the boundless human imagination. Please note: three tiers of seating options are offered for this performance, ticketed as follows:

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“Board Member” Tickets including premium stage-side seating and dessert are $30
“Executive” Tickets offering priority seating are $20;
Regular Tickets (General Admission) are $18/$15 Japan Society members.

inkBoat/cokaseki: Ame to Ame (Candy and Rain)
Thurs., Oct. 15 – Sat., Oct. 17, 7:30pm
Tickets $18/$15 Japan Society members

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From the San Francisco/Berlin-based inkBoat and Berlin’s cokaseki comes the twisted and romantic hybrid butoh-dance piece Ame to Ame (Candy and Rain). Shinichi Iova-Koga, the part-Japanese founder of inkBoat, and longtime collaborator Yuko Kaseki of cokaseki, a Berlin-based Japanese butoh artist, referred to by the San Francisco Bay Guardian as “Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire of Butoh,” throw themselves into this duet. Winner of the 2005 “Best Ensemble Performance” award from the Isadora Duncan Dance Committee, Ame to Ame (Candy and Rain) follows two powerful performers navigating their way through a sweet and philosophical love story, moving between restraint and manic struggle, from childlike play to sexual prowess. Direction and design by cokaseki’s Marc Ates.

Related Event:
Yuko Kaseki Butoh Workshops
Co-presented with CAVE Arts Space at the 2009 CAVE New York Butoh Festival
Intensive Session: October 23-31
Introductory Session: November 6-8
(Visit www.caveartspace.org for info/tickets)

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These physically charged workshops led by butoh artist Yuko Kaseki will draw upon techniques from butoh, Noguchi bodywork and Tai Chi, with a concentration on the center of the body (tanden). This workshop is part of the 4th CAVE New York Butoh Festival – the butoh-kan phase, October 23 – November 25, 2009.

Jeremy Wade: there is no end to more
Fri., Dec. 3 – Sun., Dec. 5, 7:30pm
Tickets $20/$15 Japan Society members

Japan Society proudly presents the world premiere of its commission to Bessie Award-winning American choreographer Jeremy Wade. In there is no end to more, a bold juxtaposition of movement, text, animation and video of manga (Japanese comics), Wade takes a playful and cynical look at Japanese kawaii (cute) culture-from the infantile fluff of Hello Kitty to the teenage doe-eyed love portrayed in anime-exploring its ubiquitous influence on contemporary culture. Demonstrating his inimitable way of walking the line between societal norm and aberration, consumption and delusion, Wade peels away the layers of kawaii to reveal something more sinister and grotesque beneath. Wade, one of the founding artists of Chez Bushwick in Brooklyn and currently based in Berlin, directs this solo work centered on a salesman selling his own super show. Performed by actor/dancer Jared Gradinger, this production was created by an international team including Brooklyn-based Japanese manga artist/illustrator Hiroki Otsuka, Berlin-based video artist Veith Michel, musician Brendan Dougherty and architects Katja Mitte and Henning Ströh. Text is co-authored by Wade and visual artist/writer Marcos Rosales.

For more information, visit www.japansociety.org.