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Having studied dances of ethnic minorities in China and explored identity issues in the context of the contemporary Chinese society in his works «Minorities» (2017), «Delta» and «Destination» (2019) that toured internationally, Yang Zhen began to be interested in how diverse overseas/ethnic Chinese identities in various Chinatowns coexist. «Jasmine Town» is another name for a Chinatown that Yang Zhen proposes, and the title of this project for creating dance performances in collaboration with residents of Chinatowns across the world. The first embodiment of the project with residents of Yokohama Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in East Asia, inviting Chen Tien-shi, who was born and raised in the Chinatown and specializes in statelessness and identity studies, will be premiered at YPAM2022. Don’t forget to visit Yokohama Chinatown after the show. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from the theatre!
Concept and Choreography: Yang Zhen
Dramaturgy: Junko Rii
Research Advisor: Chen Tien-shi
Performers (as of September 2022):
Guest Dancers: Mayuko Lee, Tamae Miki, Ikuma Murakami, Rianto, Junko Rii
Lighting: Ryoya Fudetani
Sound: Umeo Saito
Stage Manager: Lang Craighill
Company Manager: Miwa Monden
A Red Virgo production
Executive Producer: Menno Plukker Theatre Agency, Inc.
Commissioned and co-produced by YPAM – Yokohama International Performing Arts Meeting
Organizers: Japan Center, Pacific Basin Arts Communication; Kanagawa Kenmin Hall (Kanagawa Arts Foundation); Japan Council of Performers’ Rights & Performing Arts Organizations
Co-organizer: YPAM Executive Committee
This project is subsidized by Kanagawa Prefecture Magcal Deployment Promotion Subsidy.
The research for this project was supported by the Asian Cultural Council, whose mission is to advance international dialogue, understanding, and respect through cultural exchange activities in Asia and the United States.
Yang Zhen is a choreographer and performance maker of the post-1990s Cenozoic era in China. He discusses and presents the existence and aesthetic relationship between individuality and collectivity within different social contexts. Graduated from the Dance College of Central University for Nationalities in 2014, Yang Zhen began to create a series of works under the banner “Revolution Game Trilogy.” Its third part «Minorities» (2017) as well as newer works «Delta» and «Destination» (2019) have been touring internationally. His latest work «Hommage» will be premiered in Shanghai in November 2022.
Lara, Chen Tien-shi, who was born and raised in Chinatown in Yokohama, lived there as a stateless person for over 30 years. After completing her Ph.D. in International Political Economy, she started researching the lives of stateless people from an anthropological approach in order to deepen her understanding of this issue and to make apparent the disconnect between the laws regarding statelessness and reality. She has published such books as «Stateless», «Chinese Diaspora» and «Rainbow Pendant». She now teaches at Waseda University, and also is the representative of NPO Stateless Network.
Formed Death Theater together with Zheng Lingmin in 2018 and created such works as a participatory performance «Slow Salad». In the same year, with musician YuUki Katayama, she presented a collective improvisation performance «You are my mirror» with Japanese, Chinese and Korean artists. After creating an improvisational dance video piece in Kyoto, she moved to Shanghai and performed in several dance and performance works there. She also choreographs and performs as a freelance.
Born in Hyogo. Awarded the Best Dancer Prize at Yokohama Dance Collection 2021 Competition II New Choreographer Division for a solo «Unbirth». Having been present at a number of contests and competitions since youth, represented Japan in an Asian tournament. Participated as “LIFULL ALT-RHYTHM” in Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company’s D.LEAGUE 21-22 SEASON, the first professional dance league from Japan. A residence dancer at Dance Base Yokohama.
Rianto trained in classical Javanese dance and Javanese folk dance from a young age, specialising in the cross gender form of Lengger. Based between Indonesia and Japan, Rianto has been involved in a number of international projects whilst remaining dedicated to his training and own voice for contemporary Indonesian performing arts. His solo work «Medium» has been programmed in 29 major International venues, and his most recent work «Hijrah» premiered in 2022. He has undertaken artist residencies and taught at choreographic centers and universities across the Asia Pacific and Europe.
Born in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. Improviser, choreographer and dancer. Her mother, who loved Japanese dramas, gave her a Japanese-style name, and people around her often thought she was Japanese. After graduating from the Central University for Nationalities, she was a member of Houying Dance Theater for six years, and came to Japan in 2021 to join the Department of Social Psychiatry & Mental Health at Tsukuba University. Her works include installation improvisations «Structure of Time» and «Community of Things» and a video «v=(v1+v2)/(1+v1v2/c^2)».
Started to learn classical ballet in infancy. Studied contemporary dance with Kaori Kagaya and Yoko Higashino. Performed in works by Kaori Kagaya, Yoko Higashino, Shintaro Oue, Shuji Onodera, Kazuyuki Futami and Naomi Muku (Dairakudakan). Recently she has presented her own works at various venues including theaters, temples and clubs, exploring new expressions and collaborating with artists from other disciplines.