Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
Stream Now
Click Here for More Articles on Stream Now

La MaMa Presents World Premiere of LOVE STORY, THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS

The performance will take place from Saturday, October 17, at 11am to Sunday, October 18, at 11am (EDT).

La MaMa Presents World Premiere of LOVE STORY, THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS

Yoshiko Chuma returns to La MaMa with Love Story, The School of Hard Knocks, the latest chapter in her ongoing multidisciplinary performance series. The 24-hour livestreamed performance will feature an international cast of more than 50 artists from four decades of collaboration. This anniversary performance is part of La MaMa's Artist Residencies for its 2020-21 season focusing on the creation of new works across the digital and physical theater landscape during the coronavirus pandemic. The performance will take place from Saturday, October 17, at 11am to Sunday, October 18, at 11am (EDT). Audiences are also invited to tune in to Chuma's residency at La MaMa beginning October 5, to view archival footage, sketches and rehearsals of the work leading up to the performance. Tickets start at $5 and can be purchased at

With her newest work, maverick choreographer, performer and instigator Yoshiko Chuma celebrates 40 years of developing collaborations, conceptual structures, and provocative performance art with her award-winning collective, The School of Hard Knocks. Chuma's original and decidedly unclassifiable work, described as "a mixture of play and seriousness, anarchy and reflection" (Dance Magazine), tries to capture the contemporary world in all its complexity: speedy, multifaceted, diverse, both conceptual and concrete.

For Love Story, Chuma has gathered a cast of over 50 International Artists including veterans of The School of Hard Knocks and a new generation of artists from New York, Ankara, Tehran, Hong Kong, Berlin, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Brussels, Kabul, Palestine, and Dakar. Through an assemblage of films, dance, music, visual art, and narratives, Love Story serves as a performative "documentary" where personal and cultural history meet the present. From Chuma's early days in postwar Japan to films such as The Atomic Cafe, The Battle of Algiers, and Stranger Than Paradise, these important influences on her work all come into play. Love Story traces its inspiration to a 24-hour production Chuma presented at P.S. 122 in 1985 and other early collaborations in New York City, including Five Car Pile-Up. The work also revisits Chuma's performances with other artists in the downtown performance scene before The School of Hard Knocks was formed, as well as her new and ongoing border-transcending performances with collaborators in over 40 countries.

Love Story continues Chuma's lifetime investigation of ideas regarding national security, perceived dangers within borders, immigration, and war. Now, in the face of the global pandemic, she turns to the ephemeral spaces online to forge connections between herself and her collaborators. Using livestreaming, live-video-mixing, and the ubiquitous tools of social conferencing, Love Story creates a new space for artists to find connection, explore ideas, and translate them into a theatrical language. The multilayered work will feature live performances in La MaMa's Ellen Stewart Theatre, prerecorded video, and live performances on Zoom that will be projected onto screens in the theatre with the onsite and international performers interacting, transitioning seamlessly for virtual audiences.

Concept, direction, choreography, and installation by Yoshiko Chuma. The creative team includes Ai Csuka (Artist Liaison) Ginger Dolden (Creative Producer/Musician), Ryan Leach (Actor), Jake Margolin & Nick Vaughan (Dramaturge/Design), and Ruyji Yamaguchi (Middle East Specialist). Core performers include Martita Abril (NYC), Deniz Atli (Turkey), Agnè Auželyt?- (Amsterdam), Los Babuinos (Venezuela), Sahar Damoni (Palestine), Mizuho Kappa (NYC), Heather Litteer (NYC), Tanin Torabi (Iran), Devin Brahja Waldman (NYC), and zaybra (NYC). With live and original music by Robert Black (double bass), Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Christopher McIntyre (trombone), and Dane Terry (piano).

The performance will feature special guests and people important to the life and work of Yoshiko Chuma and the development of The School of Hard Knocks. They will be featured via a mixture of live performances, digital performances, and archival footage. Dance and choreography from Yanira Castro, Ursula Eagly, Allyson Green, Jodi Melnick, Sarah Michelson, Anthony Phillips, Peter Pleyer, Kathryn Ray, Steve Recker, Vicky Shick, and others. Poetry by Kyle Dacuyan, Bob Holman, and Anne Waldman. Musical compositions by Mark Bennett, Tan Dun, Nona Hendryx, Christian Marclay, Lenny Pickett, Marc Ribot, and others. Film and video by Chani Bockwinkel, Jacob Burckhardt, Rudy Burckhardt, Andrew Kim, Jonas Mekas, and Charlie Steiner. Photography by Robert Flynt and Dona Ann McAdams. Visual set designs by Tim Clifford, Alex Katz, Elizabeth Kresch, and Elizabeth Murray. And presenters Barbara Bryan, Rachel Cooper, Mark Russell, Yoko Shioya, Bonnie Sue Stein, Laurie Uprichard, and David White. Audiences will recognize artists from 1980s School of Hard Knocks productions including Donald Fleming, Dan Froot, Kaja Gam, Brian Moran, Nicky Paraiso, Harry Whittaker Sheppard, Gayle Tufts, Sasha Waltz, David Zambrano, and Nelson Zayao. Performances will also feature Emily Bartsch, Peter Lanctot, Kouiki Mojadidi, Emily Marie Pope, Isaac Rosenthal, and Aldina Michelle Topcagic.

This series of performances began in June 2020 with six online one-hour "sequels" entitled Saturday Morning Live SML: Zooma-Dead End presented by La MaMa and Mount Tremper Arts. These one-hour performances featured a regular cast of international performers and special guests from performances around the world by Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks. Chuma's inspiration for Saturday Morning Live came from watching a live production of Saturday Night Live where the audience could visibly see the set changes and scene transitions live behind the scenes. The series also includes a residency and three livestreamed performances at Mount Tremper Arts in September 2020.

About Yoshiko Chuma

Yoshiko Chuma (conceptual artist, choreographer/artistic director of The School of Hard Knocks) has been consistently producing thought-provoking work that is neither dance nor theater nor film nor any other predetermined category. She is an artist on her own journey, a path that has taken her to over 40 countries and includes collaborations with over 2000 artists, thinkers, and collaborators of every genre since establishing her company, The School of Hard Knocks, in New York City in 1980. 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.

Creating and touring her work internationally her entire career, Chuma has crossed the border between East and Central Europe in the early 80s and 90s, 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 others. 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 lets them interfere with her work.

Having received no formal dance training, she pursues spontaneous and experimental techniques and methods of construction. Her creative process begins with a single movement (dance) or abstract image conveyed to her film-making pattern. She once presented a crumpled piece of drawing 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.

Chuma is the recipient of fellowships and awards for choreography and career work from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Japan Foundation, and Meet the Composer Choreographer/Composer Commissions, among others. She has received two New York Dance and Performance Bessie Awards: one for choreography with The School of Hard Knocks in 1984, and one for Sustained Achievement in 2007. Chuma was artistic director of the Daghdha Dance Company in Limerick, Ireland, from 2000-2003.

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You