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Asian and Asian-American

Although Asian dance has been presented at the Pillow since 1941, the first moving images date from Sahomi Tachibana’s Pillow debut in 1953, which leads off this playlist. Highlighted in these videos are both Asians and Asian-Americans, either as dancers, choreographers, company directors, or all three.

24 performances

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Asian and Asian-American

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Sahomi Tachibana

Odori - Yukata, 1953

Tachibana’s Pillow appearances spanned nearly two decades, while her professional dance activities continued until she was 95. This silent film and sound recording were synchronized in 2021, and Tachibana herself has sanctioned the result—reuniting dance and music for the first time in nearly 70 years.

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Playing 1 of 24

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Eiko Otake

A Body at the Pillow, 2017

This site-specific performance work is part of a series that Eiko has created in various kinds of spaces, independent from her work with Koma.

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Playing 2 of 24

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Koma Otake

The Ghost Festival, 2017

Koma also brought a site-specific solo work to the Pillow in the same season as Eiko, though he imported his own performance venue—a mobile trailer.

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Playing 3 of 24

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Reona Seo

AUN, 2017

After first coming to the Pillow as a participant in the 2014 Tap Program in The School at Jacob’s Pillow, Reona Seo was selected by Michelle Dorrance to perform in an evening called TIRELESS: A Tap Dance Experience.

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Playing 4 of 24

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Bereishit Dance Company

BOW, 2016

This Korean company was selected for the Pillow’s first all-online season in 2020—a testament to the power of this particular duet by company director Soon-ho Park.

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Playing 5 of 24

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Shantala Shivalingappa

Akasha, 2013

Through her work with Pina Bausch, Maurice Béjart, Peter Brook, and other Western artists, Shantala Shivalingappa has focused fresh attention on Indian dance.

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Playing 6 of 24

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The Hong Kong Ballet

Symphony in Three Movements, 2012

Though the choreographer and company director at the time of this Pillow debut were both Scandinavian, most of the dancers in this ensemble hail from China.

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Playing 7 of 24

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LDP / Laboratory Dance Project

Modern Feeling, 2011

Korean choreographer Insoo Lee is one of the two dancers in this duet, which won the grand prize at the Seoul International Choreographer Festival in the year it was created.

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Playing 8 of 24

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Yin Mei Dance

City of Paper, 2010

Born in China, Yin Mei has been blending Asian traditional performance and Western contemporary dance since coming to the U.S. in 1985.

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Playing 9 of 24

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Pichet Klunchun

Chui Chai, 2010

This is a contemporary Thai interpretation of the Ramayana epic which had its U.S. premiere at the Pillow.

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Playing 10 of 24

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LAFA & Artists

Summer Fantasia Part I, 2009

Choreographer Bulareyaung Pagarlava and dancer Fang-Yi Sheu were the first Asian artists-in-residence at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and Sheu was also a revered principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company.

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Playing 11 of 24

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Ko & Edge Co.

Improvisation, 2008

Ko Murobushi had a similar lineage to Eiko and Koma, all three having studied with the Butoh originator Tatsumi Hijikata.

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Playing 12 of 24

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Shen Wei Dance Arts

Map, 2006

This group’s name is a nod to all the art forms that Shen incorporates into his work: dance, theater, Chinese opera, painting, sculpture, and a unique hybridism of Western and Eastern cultures.

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Playing 13 of 24

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Project Fukurow

Ozma, 2005

Fukurow Ishikawa is a Tokyo-based kinetic artist who brings organic materials to life with technology, and this Pillow appearance marked his first full-evening presentation in the U.S.

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Playing 14 of 24

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Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Songs of the Wanderers, 2002

Renowned as the first contemporary dance company in any Chinese-speaking community, Cloud Gate’s roots are in Asian myths, folklore, and aesthetics.

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Playing 15 of 24

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Dance: The Spirit of Cambodia

Reamker, 2001

The Pillow’s support for Cambodia’s traditional dance arts began with the first U.S. appearance by former members of the Royal Ballet of Cambodia in 1981.

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Playing 16 of 24

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Taipei Crossover Dance Company

The Dark Side of the Moon, 2001

Founded by five artists who had begun their careers with Cloud Gate, the Taipei Crossover Dance Company aimed to combine contemporary dance with other art forms.

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Playing 17 of 24

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Rosy Co.

Chinoise Flower, 2000

Originally trained in Butoh, choreographer Kota Yamazaki later turned to Western forms including ballet and modern dance in addition to studies in music and fashion design.

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Playing 18 of 24

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The Peony Pavilion, 1999

An unprecedented three-month residency at Jacob’s Pillow culminated in this showing of the first full-length staging of The Peony Pavilion in three hundred years.

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Playing 19 of 24

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Myung Soo Kim

"Taepyungmu" from Kut Choom '97, 1997

Myung Soo Kim was born in Seoul and studied with traditional dance masters before making her debut as a modern dancer in 1980, and later moving to the U.S.

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Playing 20 of 24

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Min Tanaka & Cecil Taylor

I...Sit, 1996

Choreographer/performer Min Tanaka felt a keen kinship to Jacob’s Pillow, having co-founded the Body Weather Farm near Tokyo in order to explore the origins of dance in an agricultural life.

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Playing 21 of 24

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Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks

, 1987

During a multi-week residency in the summer of 1987, the Japanese-born Yoshiko Chuma showcased her company on the Pillow’s Great Lawn in the Season Opening Gala.

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Playing 22 of 24

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Maria Cheng

Seasonal Images of a Courtesan, 1984

Combining her studies in Hong Kong and Minneapolis, Maria Cheng developed a distinctive contemporary dance style which she used in shaping solo theatrical works.

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Playing 23 of 24

Indrani

Tarangam, 1979

After having made her U.S. debut at Jacob’s Pillow in 1960, Indrani made her only other Pillow appearance nearly two decades later, captured here on film.

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Playing 24 of 24

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