Project Name
Kyoto A.I.R. Alliance Festival 2014
JCDN International Dance In Residence Exchange Project Vol. 4
2014 Japan US International Exchange

When: August to September 2014
Organized by: Kyoto Art Center, and Kyoto Arts Core Network
Co-organizers (tentative): Japan Contemporary Dane Network (JCDN), Goethe-Institut Villa Kamogawa, Villa Kujoyama, Sankaian, Art Space Yosuga, Higashiyama Artists Placement Service, AIR Network Launching Committee

What is Kyoto A.I.R. Alliance Festival 2014? It is the festival to feature performances and exhibitions that involve residence and creation by artists mainly from abroad. In association with the residence facilities and organizations based in Kyoto, the festival aims at disseminating and promoting the concept of the artists-in-residence projects among the general public. During the festival, A.I.R.-related symposia and network meetings will also be held. The festival aspires to provide information to overseas artists while introducing residency programs in overseas to artists in Kyoto.

Program Outline

The festival invites Nora Chipaumire, dancer and choreographer from Zimbabwe, currently based in New York City, for a one-month long residency in August 2014. She will create and present the work-in-progress of the following two pieces at Kyoto Art Center.
Portrait of Myself As My Father, a solo piece choreographed and performed by herself;
Neppu, a performance written and directed by Naoto Iina. Chipaumire participates in the project with her dance. This is a collaboration piece involving a few Japanese contemporary artists of different disciplines.

How the Project Started and How the Artist Was Selected

Over sixty presenters from North America who have been maintaining partnerships with one another for many years have gotten together to form the National Performance Network (NPN, In order to develop artists-in-residence projects between Japan and the United States, the JCDN and NPN have been sending delegations to each other for the past three years from 2011 to 13. Based on the understanding of the situation of the dance scenes in the respective countries, we have had a series of meetings to discuss on what kind of residency programs should be implemented.

Members from Japan
Mayumi Yamamoto and Reiko Hagiwara, program directors, Kyoto Art Center
Kyoto Yokoyama, former program coordinator (as of 2013), Fukuoka City Foundation for Arts and Cultural Promotion
Chizu Saito, Sapporo Concarino
Norikazu Sato and Ritsuko Mizuno, JCDN

Members from the US
MK Wegman, president, the NPN
Renata Petroni, director of International Program, the NPN
Yolanda Casta Cursach, Performign Arts Division, Museum of Contemporary Arts Chicago
F. John Herbert, Legion Arts
Kyoko Yoshida, U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network

The above five NPN members have recommended us a total of 25 choreographers from New York, Chicago and Austin who wished to do residency and creation in Japan. In April 2013, Yokoyama, Hagiwara and Mizuno from Japan visited the three cities in the US and listened to the presentations of all the 25 candidates. The JCDN selected Nora Chipaumire for its program while Kyoto Art Center selected Alison Orr for their program for 2014.

The journals of this trip can be read on the NPN’s web newsletter (June 2013).
The Japanese translation in PDF

Later, in December 2013, the JCDN participated in the NPN’s general assembly in New Orleans, and attended to the wrap-up meeting at the end of the three years of exchanges between the JCDN and the NPN. Mizuno also had a three-hour meeting with Nora Chipaumire to discuss on her residency in Japan in 2014.

Program Details

May 6 -13, 2014: Ritsuko Mizuno, program director, visited Nora Chipaumire at Jant-Bi, L’Ecole des Sables in Toubab Dialaw near Dakar, Senegal ( where the artist was having a residency and creating her solo Portrait of Myself As My Father. Mizuno watched her work-in-progress presentation on the last day of her residency period. Her Journals in Africa can be read here.

June 25 – 29, 2014: Nora visited Kyoto for the first time for a short stay prior to her residency in August. She had a meeting with Naoto Iina about Iina’s performance piece Neppu. She also had plan meetings with the technical team about her solo dance piece. In addition, we did the following open presentation programs.

June 27, 2014 from 6 to 7;30pm. Admission free.
[Male and Female Bodies in Nihon Buyo, the Japanese Traditional Dance]
A presentation by Choreographer/Dancer Yogoshi Yasuko
One of the purposes of Nora’s residency in Kyoto is to learn the spirit and techniques of the Japanese traditional dance as part of her research on the female body dancing in male characters for her own work. Yogoshi Yasuko, choreographer also based in New York, has studied and trained in Japanese traditional dance for many years. She has spent the last ten years in translating and rescripting the Japanese classical dances in contemporary contexts. Yogoshi’s presentation of her work to Nora is also opened to general public, especially of interest for Japanese contemporary dance choreographers and dancers.

June 29, 2014. 2 to 4pm. Admission free.
Nora and Iina Talk about the Project
A presentation and discussion by Nora Chpaumire and Naoto Iina.
The two artists will make a presentation of their pieces they will be creating in August. We would like to invite theater directors, playwrights, choreographers, dancers and actors, and anybody who is interested in the performing arts, please join us and get to know the artists.

August 5 to September 5, 2014: Residency at Kyoto Art Center
Creation 1: Portrait of Myself As My Father
When Mizuno had a meeting with Nora in December last year, Nora told her about how she wanted to develop the piece during her residency in Japan. Although the piece is about “father”, it is not about her own father who died when she was little and who she hardly has any memory of. Instead, she aims to expand the concept and layer such images as Nelson Mandera (Father of Africa), the God, nature and the land as father. This residency program in Kyoto will be a precious opportunity for Nora who is a woman to explore the male body to dance. Kyoto is full of excellent models and references for her to learn from: female characters of Noh and Kabuki, the male dance by female dancers in the Japanese traditional dance, and cross dressing by male Butoh dancers. Some interviews and workshops with artists of the traditional theaters and dances are planned for Nora to learn their spirit and techniques. It is significant that Nora stays in Kyoto where such traditional arts are plenty.
During her residency, Nora will conduct workshops for local dancers as well as general public.
For details, click here.

Creation 2: Neppu. A collaboration with Japanese contemporary artists
Written and directed by Naoto Iina. Nora Chipaumire will participates in this project as a choreographer and performer, and work with Japanese contemporary artists.
A work in progress, Neppu was premiered in Okinawa in 2009, and restaged again in Tokyo in 2011. Working with new materials and casts every time, this is going to be IIna’s life-long work, but what is consistent in this piece is his attempt to depict on the relationship between people and the world that propels the force they could not defy. This time, Iina has chosen to work with some other contemporary artists of different disciplines such as photography, film, music, theater and dance. For dance, Iina has been looking for an African dancer with a powerful physicality and historical background. It is significant that he has met Nora Chipaumire in that sense. They met for the first time in Kyoto in June this year, but their artistic paths had crossed when Iina screened Nora’s video piece, entitled Nora, at the International Dance Film Festival, organized by his own company Dance and Media Japan.

August 22 & 23, 2014
Work-in-progress presentation of Portrait of Myself As My Father, at Kyoto Art Center Auditorium

August 30 & 31, 2014
Work-in-progress presentation of Neppu, at Kyoto Art Center Auditorium and Free Space

September 2 – 7, 2014
Installation Neppu at Kyoto Art Center Auditorium
The photographs of Masaki Hirano (“After the Festival”, “Cuba” and “Holes”) as well as the video and texts from the performance Neppu will be exhibited.