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Japan Society Presents JAPAN X TAIWAN: CHOREOGRAPHERS RESPOND TO COVID-19

Featuring Japanese Butoh choreographers Kentaro Kujirai & Barabbas Okuyama and Taiwanese choreographers Hao Cheng & Wei-Chia Su.

Japan Society, in cooperation with Taipei Cultural Center in New York, presents an online roundtable discussion between rising Japanese butoh artists Kentaro Kujirai and Barabbas Okuyama and Taiwanese contemporary dance choreographers Hao Cheng and Wei-Chia Su as the culmination of a seven-month Contemporary Dance Choreographers' Virtual Exchange between Japan and Taiwan.

These four emerging choreographers, originally slated to perform in Japan Society's biennial Contemporary Dance Festival: Japan + East Asia, which was necessarily canceled for Winter 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have come together via this virtual artist exchange to explore new avenues of dance-making without sharing a physical space. This pre-recorded online event will premiere Wednesday, April 28 at 8:00 PM EDT. Program runs approximately 40 minutes, with English subtitles.

Since September 2020, the choreographers and their respective dance company members met once a month virtually to conduct joint workshops. To offer audiences an inside look, short video diaries filmed in each of these monthly artist workshops will be available for viewing one week prior to the roundtable discussion, starting on April 21. Before the premiere presentation of the roundtable discussion, viewers are invited to watch each of these 5-7 minute video diaries to be posted on the Japan Society website www.japansociety.org to further explore and engage with this bilingual (Japanese and Mandarin) discussion and to provide a model for other organizations interested in facilitating their own international online exchange.

"Cognition of the physical body and surrounding space is a crucial element for choreography. However, in these virtual sessions, the four artists had to exchange through a flat-screen environment, and so they had to rely on 'language' to convey their concepts-yet they don't even speak the same language," said Yoko Shioya, Artistic Director of Japan Society. "It was as if they were sailing in this uncharted territory, but they were rewarded for their efforts greatly in the end. I am happy to share this process and its results with English-speaking audiences."

Japan Society began its Contemporary Dance Festival in 1996 (originally launched as Contemporary Dance Showcase) to coincide with the annual Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) conference, the largest gathering of international arts presenters in the world. In 2008, the showcase changed its name to Contemporary Dance Showcase: Japan + East Asia, and expanded to include artists from Korea and Taiwan. Since 2011, the program has been presented every other year. It has provided enormous opportunities for emerging choreographers and new dance pieces to be seen by international presenters, functioning as an incubator for East Asian dance makers. Choreographers and companies who have made their U.S. debut in this program and later went on to build international careers include Ryohei Kondo, Akiko Kitamura, chelfitsch Theater Company and Korea's LDP, to name a few.

Wednesday, April 28 at 8:00PM EDT: Japan X Taiwan: Choreographers Respond to COVID-19, An Online Roundtable Discussion with Kentaro Kujirai & Barabbas Okuyama and Hao Cheng & Wei-Chia Su (40 minutes).

This event is FREE but registration is required for the premiere. To register, please visit www.japansociety.org/performingarts, or call the Box Office at 212-715-1258 (M-F 10AM - 6PM).


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