Bridge Dance Festival: Beyond the Box II ~ Yu (遊)

Bridge Dance Festival: Beyond the Box II ~ Yu (遊)

Tech / Design Credits: Prop master - Steve Ducklow, Scenery Consultants - Yoko Kawaguchi & Duncan Robert Anderson, Graphic Design - Al Brandtner, Costume/Make-up - Grandmaster Shunojo Fujima, Videographers - Rebecca Tsai & Yao Dang

Special Thanks: Grandmaster Shunojo Fujima, Kayako Kawaguchi, Tom Lee お父さん、お母さん、里奈 Millicent Drauer

Sponsored / Funded By: ChicagoDancemakers Forum, High Concept Labs, Asian Improv aRts Midwest

Yoshinojo Fujima

Chicago-area native, Yoshinojo Fujima (a.k.a Rika Lin) is an interdiscplinary performing artist, based as a Japanese classical dancer/choreographer. She received her professional name in 2006 as a member of the Fujima Ryu Japanese Classical Dance School in Japan, and attained her grandmastership last year, which certifies her with a shihan (teaching license). She has performed as an active performing member of Toyoaki Shamisen, as well as in collaborations with Asian Improv aRts MidWest, Tsukasa Taiko, Tatsu Aoki’s the Miyumi Project and was featured in the 2016 Chicago Jazz Festival at the J. Pritzker Pavillion. In 2016 she was awarded the Links Hall Artistic Associate Curatorial Residency for the 2017 season, for her “Beyond the Box” presentation/series. Currently she is beginning her research for "Asobi - Playing within Time" project as a 2017 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist.

Natsuki Kubo

Natsuki Kubo ~ A design calligrapher, a.k.a Hourin Natsuki was born in Kyowa-Chou, Hokkaido in 1984. She started learning calligraphy at age 7 from Master calligrapher Zuihou Sato. In 2009, she created her original writing method that combines letters and illustrations. In 2012, she moved her working base to Sapporo. At the same time, she started to collaborate and perform with artists and creators of various industry genres such as sound, clothing designers, lighting, and food. In 2014~15, she expanded the range of her artworks to include group exhibitions, workshops, and demonstrations in Japan and in America (Chicago). In 2016 she formed a unit “Wakana” to enjoy calligraphy in kimono. Her motto is “ to live with calligraphy a life-time”, expand the charm of calligraphy, which is one of traditional Japanese cultural arts, for future generations.

Tatsu Aoki

Tatsu Aoki is a leading advocate for the Asian American community, a prolific composer and performer of traditional and experimental music forms, a filmmaker, and an educator. Aoki was born into the Toyoakimoto artisan family in Tokyo, a traditional house for training and booking geisha, and began performing from the age of four. Aoki is now one of the most in-demand performers of bass, shamisen, and taiko, contributing more than ninety recording projects and touring internationally during the last thirty-five years. Aoki is the Founder and Artistic Director of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival, which observed its twentieth year in 2015.
Aoki was named one of 2001’s "Chicagoans of the year" by Chicago Tribune for his music for his cross cultural music and has performed with masters such as Roscoe Mitchell, Don Moye, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, and the late Chicago legend Fred Anderson. Aoki's suite ROOTED: Origins of Now, a four-movement suite for big band, premiered in 2001 at Ping Tom Memorial Park, and was performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival and at MCA Stage as part of Chicago Asian American Jazz Festival. Additional notable releases include Basser Live (1999) and Basser Live II (2005), recorded live at MCA Stage; The MIYUMI Project (2000), Symphony of Two Cities (2002), and Posture of Reality with Wu Man (2003). The Asian American Institute awarded Aoki the Milestone Award in 2007 for his contribution to Chicago-area arts. In 2010, he received the Japan America Society of Chicago’s Cultural Achievement Award as well as a 3Arts Artist Award. He received the “Living in our Culture” award by the Japanese American Service Committee in 2014 and the Jazz Heroes’ Award by the National Jazz Journalist Association in 2015.
In 2016, his Miyumi Project ensemble was the official musical presenter for the unveiling of Yoko Ono's "SKYLANDING" installation in Chicago's own Jackson Park; which also resulted in the group recording the "SKYLANDING" album produced by Yoko Ono. In 2017 this year, the group contributed their unique vibe to the soundtrack of the film documentary addressing the Japanese American Incarceration, "And Then They Came for Us". Additional accolades include Aoki's own film "LIGHT", which he directed, awarded the Best Experimental Film in the 2017 Canada International Film Festival. And most recently, he was selected by the Asian American Advisory Council of Illinois and received the Community Service Award from the Illinois Secretary of State; and he also received the prestigious Commendation for the Promotion of Japanese Culture from the Foreign Ministry in Japan, which is given to individuals with outstanding achievements in international fields, and acknowledges the recipients’ contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries.

Tatsu Aoki's Reduction Ensemble

Tatsu Aoki's Reduction Ensemble

The original concept of Reduction was Tatsu Aoki’s creative response to the popular taiko drumming stripped of its musical elements, it argues for upholding the beauty in taiko performance and for its connectivity to aesthetics and musicality. The performative incarnation being realized annually for over 14 years at venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art as Taiko Legacy and Reduction. The Reduction Ensemble is the musical extension of this philosophy. A new configuration of one of Chicago's traditional, experimental, and creative jazz music scene bulwarks, Tatsu Aoki's Reduction Ensemble, synthesizes and weaves their vibe with the current member roster: Tatsu Aoki (shamisen/contrabass), Edward Wilkerson Jr. (saxophone, didgeridoo), Jamie Kempkers(cello), and KIOTO (taiko, tsuzumi).

$12 - $15 Online, $17 Door


Beyond the Box II ~ Yu(遊), takes another step and explores the roles of women from the confines of traditional Japanese classical dance where female characters are predominantly limited to subtle, contained, and subdued expressions. Up against this notion of submission, Yu boldly and creatively deviates from the accepted norm in traditional Japanese performance practices, the performers facilitate the meta-perceptual opportunity to embody the full range of emotional and physical expression, strength, and power, and subconsciously accepted standards for gender identity. Yoshinojo Fujima, Hokkaido calligraphy artist Natsuki Kubo, and the Reduction Ensemble, led by renown artist/creative musician Tatsu Aoki present: “Yu (遊)” as the concluding event of the Bridge Dance Festival. The performance also commemorates the first collaboration of the Chicago-Obihiro Artist Exchange. 

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