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GIRL X and More Set for Japan Society's 2016-2017 Performing Arts Season

Japan Society announces its 2016-2017 Performing Arts Season featuring works by visionary artists in dance, music and theater, along with one-of-a-kind related workshops and events. Productions and related events and workshops are detailed below.

All events are at Japan Society, located at 333 East 47th Street. Tickets available to Japan Society members beginning Tuesday, August 2; tickets available to all beginning Tuesday, August 9. For tickets and further detail, or information on dance, theater and traditional packages, and student and group ticket availability, visit www.japansociety.org or call 212-715-1258.


JAPAN SOCIETY PERFORMING ARTS SCHEDULE, SEPTEMBER 2016 - MAY 2017:

About Kazuo Ohno - Reliving The Butoh Diva's Masterpieces, North American Premiere, by Takao Kawaguchi, with Resplendent Shimmering Topaz Waterfall, by Big Dance Theater Friday, September 16 & Saturday, September 17 at 7:30pm
Takao Kawaguchi, one of Japan's most sought-after dancers and former member of the company Dumb Type, challenged himself to literally "copy" the dances of Kazuo Ohno, the late butoh master and co-founder, from archival recordings, channeling several of his renowned works anew. About Kazuo Ohno, with this North American Premiere arriving just weeks before what would have been Ohno's 110th birthday, aims to reconstruct, phrase by phrase, Ohno's timeless masterpieces, including Admiring La Argentina (1977) and My Mother (1981), bringing fresh expression to these works. This artistic endeavor offers the opportunity to explore the portrayal of gender, specifically femininity, that appears within Ohno's repertoire. As a companion piece within this program highlighting the reinterpretation of butoh by non-butoh specific artists in the 21st century, New York's Big Dance Theater presents Resplendent Shimmering Topaz Waterfall, a choreographic exploration of the notations of a work by another butoh legend, Tatsumi Hijikata. Tickets: $30/$25 Japan Society members. General Admission.
About Kazuo Ohno 7-city tour includes: The Hudson Opera House/Second Ward Foundation (NY), Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), University of Iowa Department of Dance (IA), UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center Bowker Auditorium (MA), REDCAT - Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (CA), and The Andy Warhol Museum (PA).
>> Related Event: Film Screening: Blessed by Toshiko Takashi. Takao Kawaguchi, former Director of the Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, will select September's Monthly Classics screening. See japansociety.org for details forthcoming.
>> Related Event: Film Screening: Portrait of Mr. O by Chiaki Nagano, Kazuo Ohno by Daniel Schmid and Trilogy for Kazuo Ohno's Admiring La Argentina by Yasumasa Morimura. See full details below under Workshop & Related Event listings.
>> Related Event: Body Sculpting Workshop with Takao Kawaguchi. See full detail below under Workshop & Related Event listings.
This program is supported by The Japan Foundation Performing Arts JAPAN Program and the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal year 2016.

Sounds to Summon the Japanese Gods, by Ko Ishikawa Friday, November 11 at 8:30pm
Step into a space where otherworldly sounds abound. Led by Ko Ishikawa, master player of the sho (ancient Japanese mouth organ) and internationally active contemporary musician, this program offers selections spanning from medieval Japanese gagaku (Imperial Court music) to works by acclaimed contemporary music composer Mamoru Fujieda. The program features Fujieda's latest piece Voices of the Spirits, which incorporates the resonant echoes of fermenting shochu (Japan's distilled alcohol), a highly sacred beverage in Japanese mythology. Ishikawa will be joined by Kayoko Nakagawa on koto and Ami Yamasaki on voice for this musical soiree. $25/$20 Japan Society members. General Admission.
>> Related Event: Concert held in conjunction with the Talk & Tasting Distilled, Not Brewed: Discovering Shochu on Wednesday, November 9 at 6:30pm. Visit japansociety.org for details forthcoming.
This program is supported by Doug and Teresa Peterson.

Treasured Noh Plays from the Desk of W.B. Yeats, by Kita Noh Theater Company Saturday, November 19 at 7:30pm (Program A) & Sunday, November 20 at 5:00pm (Program B)

In the early 20th century, poet W.B. Yeats (1865-1939) became highly immersed in traditional Japanese noh plays translated by American poet Ezra Pound (1885-1972), resulting in a landmark publication of 15 noh plays in English in 1916. One hundred years later, the distinguished Kita Noh Theater Company, led by Living National Treasure Tomoeda Akiyo, selects titles from this collection, showcasing them for New York audiences. Presented in conjunction with Japan Society Gallery's fall exhibition Simon Starling: At Twilight (After W.B. Yeats' Noh Reincarnation), featuring the U.S. premiere of an expansive multimedia installation by Turner Prize-winning artist Simon Starling that re-imagines Yeats' noh inspired play, At the Hawk's Well (1916).
More information on Simon Starling: At Twilight (After W.B. Yeats' Noh Reincarnation): www.japansociety.org/programs/gallery/simon-starling-at-twilight

Program A (Saturday, November 19) features highlights from various plays in W.B. Yeats' noh collection (Nishikigi, Kumasaka, Tamura, Shojo, Kagekiyo) performed in styles including maibayashi (noh play excerpt performed with a mask and costume), shimai (non-masked performance by an actor with chanters) and subayashi (noh music). This event includes a talk on noh's influence on Yeats and his artistic contemporary, and discussion with Living National Treasure Akiyo Tomoeda who performed in the premiere production of the modern noh play Hawk's Well, created in 1949, inspired by Yeats' At the Hawk's Well. Tickets: $40/$30 Japan Society members.
Program B (Sunday, November 20) offers the full versions of two classic noh plays, Kayoi Komachi and Shojo-midare, also from the collection of Y.B. Yeats, both with full costumes, masks and musical accompaniment. Tickets $60/$50 Japan Society members.
>> Related Event: Pre-performance lecture: Open and free for all performance ticket holders; beginning 1 hour before event on Sunday.
>> Related Event: Image-in-Focus Gallery Talk Sunday, November 20 at 2:00pm. Living National Treasure noh performer Tomoeda Akiyo will lead a short gallery talk on a specific work of his choice. Free with noh performance tickets or with gallery admission. >> Related Event: This program is presented in conjunction with the Fall exhibition Simon Starling: At Twilight (opens October 14); see above or visit japansociety.org for further detail.
>> Related Event: Noh Workshop with Kita Noh Theater Company. See full detail below under Workshop & Related Event listings.

Hanasaka Jiisan (The Old Man Who Made Flowers Bloom), a North American Premiere, by Condors/Ryohei Kondo, with PINK BUNNY by Maiko Kikuchi Saturday, December 10 at 7:30pm & Sunday, December 11 at 2:30pm
One of Japan's most popular folktales comes to life through the playful interpretation of beloved all male contemporary Dance Company Condors, described by The New York Times as, "a Japanese Monty Python with a Beatles-like spirit," led by Ryohei Kondo. Full of high-octane dance, spirited music, kamishibai (picture storytelling), colorful costumes, kimonos and props, and lots of humor, Hanasaka Jiisan (The Old Man Who Made Flowers Bloom), which recognizes the importance of honesty and kindness, promises delight for all ages. As a perfect prelude, New York-based Japanese puppet artist Maiko Kikuchi offers her witty PINK BUNNY, a parade of the most unlikely of objects, assembled in a work to remind us that nothing is impossible. Recommended for ages 5+, accompanied by an adult. Tickets: $28/$23 Japan society members.
This program is supported by the Japan World Exposition 1970 Commemorative Fund.

17th Contemporary Dance Showcase: Japan + East Asia Friday, January 6 & Saturday, January 7 at 7:30pm
Japan Society's much anticipated wintertime program returns, this time, with a line-up of five striking and vastly diverse duos from throughout Asia. Now in its 17th installment, the Dance Showcase introduces U.S. audiences to the latest in dance from Japan and East Asia. This season, Un Yamada (Japan) returns to the Dance Showcase with a North American Premiere, Les Noces (The Wedding), set to Igor Stravinsky's famed composition. The upcoming Showcase also features the World Premiere of TranSenses, an immersive duo in which media alchemist Navid Navab's (Canada) audiovisual architecture morphs under the textual tonalities of movements by choreographer/dancer Akiko Kitamura (Japan); the U.S. Premiere of B. DANCE's (Taiwan) muscular and fluid Hugin/Munin choreographed by Po-Chen Tsai, drawing inspiration from two ravens from Norse mythology (Taiwan); the North American Premiere of In Theatre's (Taiwan) Tschüss!! Bunny, choreographed by Yen-Chen Liu, offering a glimpse into simple but important slices of daily life; and the North American debut of JJbro's (Korea) Jimmy & Jack, in which an innocent narration guides the kinetic story of two young boys coming into their own. Tickets: $30/$25 Japan Society members.
This program is supported by the Ministry of Culture, R.O.C. (Taiwan) and the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York. Jimmy & Jack is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports of the Korean Government and Korea Arts Management Service with additional assistance provided by SIDance.

Girl X, A North American Premiere by Theater Collective HANCHU-YUEI & Suguru Yamamoto Thursday, February 16 - Saturday February 18 at 7:30pm
On the heels of overwhelming enthusiasm from New Yorkers for the English-language staged reading of Girl X in Japan Society's Annual Play Reading Series last spring, the Society proudly presents the original, fully-staged Japanese production of the play, in a North American Premiere. Weaving a tapestry of complex emotions, Girl X follows an anonymous urban family portrayed on stage by two actors, as well as projected text (a reflection of the text message oriented communication culture in contemporary society) as the story unfolds through dialogue and highly physical performance. Written and directed by Suguru Yamamoto, one of Japan's most promising young theater artists, and performed by his company Theater Collective HANCHU-YUEI, this unsettling comedy offers a glimpse into an anxiety-ridden post 3/11 Japan. Girl X premiered in Japan in 2013 and had subsequent performances in Malaysia, Thailand and India in 2014, garnering international acclaim. Tickets: $30/$25 Japan Society members.
This program is supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal year 2016.

Nihon Buyo Dance by Geimaruza Friday, March 3 & Saturday, March 4 at 8:00pm; Family performance on Sunday, March 5 at 4:00pm
Nihon Buyo, literally "Japanese dance," is a modern art form performed by artists who train vigorously in kabuki dance technique. Geimaruza, Japan's young and rising stars - all alumni from the prestigious Tokyo University of the Arts' nihon buyo program, grace the stage with a gorgeous program including traditional kabuki and folk dance and original neo-traditional arrangements. Performed alongside an ensemble of eight musicians (shamisen, fue, taiko, otsuzumi, kotsuzumi) and chanters, the program includes the auspicious Ayatsuri Sanbaso (Puppet Sanbaso), the amusing Oshukubai (The Nightingale in the Plum Tree), and a series of musical selections. The dynamic Shunkashuto (Four Seasons), a quartet of works of various kabuki and folk dance styles celebrating the richness of Japan's exquisite four seasons, completes the program. Tickets: $55/$45 Japan Society members.
Geimaruza / Nihon Buyo Dance tour includes: Duke Performances at Duke University (NC) and Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre (Toronto).
>> Related Event: Pre-performance, beginning at 6:30pm, the artists lead A Comprehensive Intro/Demo to Nihon Buyo. Open and free for all performance ticket holders but reservations are required. Tickets are required for non-performance ticket holders $12/$10 Japan Society members. See full details below under Workshop & Related Event listings.
>> Related Event: Nihon Buyo Dance and Music Workshop with Geimaruza, Saturday, March 4, 2:00-4:00pm. See full detail below under Workshop & Related Event listings.
This program is supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, Government of Japan in the fiscal year 2016 and The Asahi Shimbun Foundation.

Godzilla Legend - Music of Akira Ifukube, performed by Hikashu Friday, April 28 at 7:30pm
Calling all monster movie enthusiasts for an evening filled with the marches and melodies from the Japanese cult classic Godzilla! Performed by Japan's forever-young popular techno-pop band Hikashu and special guest musicians including the spunky sister duo Charan-Po-Rantan, this concert showcases the remarkable range of music by Japanese composer Akira Ifukube (1914-2006), who was known for creating some of the most memorable aural moments in cinematic history. A not-to-be-missed event that brings these menacing monsters to life through music. Ticketing info to be announced in January.
This program is supported by Doug and Teresa Peterson.

WORKSHOPS & RELATED EVENTS: 2016-2017 Performing Arts Season:

Portrait of Mr. O & two short films
In conjunction with Takao Kawaguchi's About Kazuo Ohno Sunday, September 17 at 1:00pm This screening will include Chiaki Nagano's Portrait of Mr. O, which features Ohno journeys through and exploring his local neighborhood, and which served as a source of inspiration for Kawaguchi's About Kazuo Ohno. Also screened are the two short films: Kazuo Ohno by Daniel Schmid and Three Films for Kazuo Ohno's La Argentina by Yasumasa Morimura. Tickets: $13/$10 Japan Society members.
Portrait of Mr. O: 1970. 65 min. 16 mm, monochrome. Kazuo Ohno: 1995. 14 min. Blu-ray, color. Three Film's for Kazuo Ohno's La Argentina: 2010. 11 min. Blu-ray, color.
Special thanks to Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio.

Workshop: Body Sculpting Workshop with Takao Kawaguchi
In conjunction with Takao Kawaguchi's About Kazuo Ohno Sunday, September 18, 3:30 - 6:30pm Kawaguchi guides participations through his creative process for About Kazuo Ohno. After a discussion about Kazuo Ohno and viewing of archival footage, participants will sketch their images and create movements based on what they experienced. Maximum 20 participants; participants are asked to bring their own video streaming device (phone, tablet, personal computer). Tickets: $35/$30 Japan Society members. Combo ticket: Purchase tickets to both workshop and film on Sunday Sept. 18 and save $10.

Meditative Chanting Workshop with Ko Ishikawa
In conjunction with Sounds to Summon the Japanese Gods Thursday, November 10, 7:00 - 8:30pm Escape from the busy streets of New York and immerse yourself in the meditative chanting of kagura-uta (god songs) and roei (poem recitation), enjoyed by aristocrats during the Heian Period (794-1185). Notable gagaku (Imperial Court music) musician Ko Ishikawa leads this introspective workshop. Maximum 50 participants; No experience required. Tickets: $35/$30 Japan Society members.

Noh Workshop with Kita Noh Theater Company
In conjunction with the Kita Noh Theater Company performances Sunday, November 20, 1:00 - 3:00pm Members of the Kita Noh Theater Company lead a workshop on noh theater's unique stylized movement and vocalization. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to learn an excerpt from Yoro, a significant noh play thematically aligned with W.B. Yeats' At the Hawk's Well, and experience a musical instrument demonstration and chanting demonstration of the English translation of Nishikigi. Maximum 20 participants; some movement-based professional performance experience required. Participants must wear socks and exercise wear. Tickets: $75/$65 Japan Society members.

A Comprehensive Introduction to Nihon Buyo Dance with Geimaruza
Presented prior to performances of Nihon Buyo Dance Friday, March 3 & Saturday, March 4 at 6:30pm This special event offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to learn about nihon buyo from the experts. Prior to performances on March 3 & March 4, members of the Geimaruza company will lead an introductory presentation on the art form known as nihon buyo, offering examples of the many character roles in the kabuki dance repertoire (young maidens, princesses and warriors) and providing an in-depth look at the family of traditional Japanese musical instruments. Free and open to all performance ticket holders but reservations are required. Tickets to introduction program only (not performance): $12/$10 Japan Society members.

Nihon Buyo Dance and Music Workshop with Geimaruza
In conjunction with Kabuki Dance with Live Traditional Music Saturday, March 4, 2:00 - 4:00pm Experience the breadth of nihon buyo with members of Geimaruza. In this unique workshop with live musical accompaniment, participants will be guided through a number of different movement styles and expressions including techniques that derive from noh theater, agricultural lifestyle and the natural environment, in addition to the onnagata (male performer who impersonates women) and aragoto (strong heroic male). Maximum 20 participants; some movement-based professional performance experience required. Participants must wear socks and exercise wear. Tickets: $75/65 Japan Society members.

Kids & Family Events: 2016-2017 Performing Arts Season:

Obake Family Day: Specters of the Sacred Forest Sunday, October 30, 11:00am - 3:00pm
On Halloween Eve enter a mystical sacred forest (chinju no mori) filled with the frights and delights of Japan's ghosts and mythical creatures. Families experience the rich customs of Japan's fall festival including taiko drumming as well as a spooky haunted house, noh mask and o-mamori good-luck charm making, a scavenger hunt, and more. Recommended for ages 3+, accompanied by an adult.
Advance tickets: Adults $15/$12 Japan Society members; Kids (ages 3-12) $10/$7 Japan Society members. Day-of tickets: Adults $18/$15 Japan Society members; Kids (ages 3-12) $13/$10 Japan Society members.

Hanasaka Jiisan (The Old Man Who Made Flowers Bloom), a North American Premiere, by Condors/Ryohei Kondo, with PINK BUNNY by Maiko Kikuchi Saturday, December 10 at 7:30pm & Sunday, December 11 at 2:30pm
Recommended for ages 5+, accompanied by an adult. See above listing in Season Performances for details.
Nihon Buyo Dance for Kids & Families by Geimaruza Sunday, March 5 at 4:00pm Japan's celebrated nihon buyo (kabuki dance) troupe Geimaruza offers a program specifically for kids. This performance includes an entertaining and educational introduction to nihon buyo (traditional Japanese kabuki dance) and demonstration led by the artists. The program features excerpts from Ayatsuri Sanbaso (Puppet Sanbaso); Oshukubai (The Nightingale in the Plum Tree), a narrative dance in which a crow pretends to be a nightingale in order to rest on a plum tree; and the glorious Shunkashuto (Four Seasons). With vibrant costumes and an array of sounds, this program is sure to delight. Recommended for ages 5+, accompanied by an adult. Tickets: $28/$23 Japan Society members.


Since the inception of the Performing Arts Program in 1953, Japan Society has introduced nearly 700 of Japan's finest performing arts to an extensive American audience. Programs range from the traditional arts of noh, kyogen, bunraku and kabuki to cutting-Edge Theater, dance and music. The Program also commissions new works to non-Japanese artists, produces national tours, organizes residency programs for American and Japanese artists and develops and distributes educational programs. "At once diverse and daring, the program stands toe to toe with some of the most comprehensive cultural exchange endeavors today." --Back Stage.

Founded in 1907, Japan Society is a multidisciplinary hub for global leaders, artists, scholars, educators, and English and Japanese-speaking audiences. At the Society, more than 100 events each year feature sophisticated, topically relevant presentations of Japanese art and culture and open, critical dialogue on issues of vital importance to the U.S., Japan and East Asia. An American nonprofit, nonpolitical organization, the Society cultivates a constructive, resonant and dynamic relationship between the people of the U.S. and Japan.
Tickets & Information: Tickets for performances and related events at Japan Society can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 212-715-1258 or in person at Japan Society (M-F 11:00am - 6:00pm and Sat-Sun 11:00am - 5:00pm). Japan Society is located at 333 East 47th Street, between First and Second Avenues (accessible by the 4/5/6 at 42nd Street-Grand Central Station or the E at Lexington Avenue and 53rd Street). For more information, call 212-832-1155 or visit www.japansociety.org. For special offers, dance, theater, traditional and family packages, and student and group ticket availability, visit www.japansociety.org.



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