Takao Kawaguchi and Manipur - A Dance Rendezvous

Nachom Arts of Contemporary Movement *

A window to Japanese Contemporary Performing Arts with an Opportunity for Cultural Exchange

Co-organised by: The Japan Foundation, New Delhi

Takao Kawaguchi and Manipur - A Dance Rendezvous

A window to Japanese Contemporary Performing Art with an opportunity for Cultural Exchange

Nachom Arts of Contemporary Movements is pleased to be hosting an event cum workshop programme which will be led by, much esteemed Japanese contemporary dancer, Takao Kawaguchi. Nachom ACM is delighted to have him over and conduct this workshop cum double bill project with Takao Kawaguchi and Surjit Singh Nongmeikapam, who is also another greatly appreciated dancer in the field from Manipur. The event is mainly supported by The Japan Foundation. Nachom ACM has also worked with The Japan Foundation in the past in Chaoba Thiyam's film "Black Pot".

About The Japan Foundation

The Japan Foundation (Kokusai Koryu Kikin), was founded in 1972 as a non-profit, special legal entity by special legislation in the Japanese Diet, and is now an Independent Administrative Institution since October 1, 2003 under the "Independent Administrative Institution Japan Foundation Law". Their main objective as stated by them is "The purpose of the Japan Foundation as stipulated in that law is to contribute to the improvement of a good international environment, as well as the maintenance and development of the harmonious foreign relationships of Japan, through deepening other nations, understanding of Japan, promoting better mutual understanding among nation's encouraging friendship and goodwill among the peoples of the world, and contributing to the world in culture and other fields through the efficient and comprehensive implementation of activities for international cultural exchange".

Apart from its own activities, the Foundation also has the authority and will to extend financial assistance and support to private organisations which are involved in cultural and intellectual exchange or educational programs through undertaking joint sponsorship program or by providing grants.

The Japan Foundation, New Delhi got officially established in January 1994. Since then it has been conducting and running the Foundation's programs successfully.

About Nachom ACM ,Manipur

Nachom Arts of Contemporary Movement was established in 2009, May 8, it aimed to introduced, 'contemporary dance' form in the Manipur. Contemporary Dance which is still a new concept to the state is being practised by Nachom ACM by bringing in the new generations of dance lovers in it. It is serving as a platform for the young generation to explore and scale the edges of this form of dance; its scope and opportunities. Nachom ACM has earlier worked with various artists like Mayuka, Agu Tara, Karolin Kent etc. More than the form of the dance, it is the love for the art which is attracting more people towards it.

Surjit Nongmeikapam (bon)
Surjit Nongmeikapam (bon)

About Surjit Nongmeikapam (bon)

The founder of Nachom ACM, Surjit Singh Nongmeikapam, who is also the Artistic Director, himself, is a well-developed contemporary dancer whose love for this art form has taken him to new boundaries. Hailing from the North-eastern state of Manipur, India, Surjit (Bonbon) is among the young contemporary dancer/ choreographer, is a pioneering dance soloist from this region. Surjit is well trained in Kathak, Kalaripayattu, Manipuri Classical and Contemporary Dance.

He has also gained the knowledge of Thang-ta, a form of Manipuri martial arts. Even with all his skills he thrives to learn for more and is doing so by learning from different Gurus and mentors. Surjit has performed collaborations with other artistic directors and choreographers, by doing so he believes to expand his knowledge and gain more perspective on the dance form and its movements.

He has toured nationally and internationally giving solo performances and joining residencies. To mention some he has travelled to Switzerland, France, Belgium, Japan etc. One of his works named "One Voice" was nominated in Zurich for a solo performance. Recently, Surjit also won the PECDA awards 2014 in Chennai for his extraordinary piece "Nerves".

Takao Kawaguguchi
Takao Kawaguguchi

About Takao Kawaguguchi

Nachom ACM is thrilled to be having Takao Kawaguchi, who will be conducting the major parts of this workshop. Along with the workshop he will also be doing a double bill project with Surjit during the course of this event. Takao was previously associated with the Japanese multimedia performance company Dumb Type from 1996 and continued there till 2008.

After 2008, he started doing solos and became an independent artist. He has done many solos and collaboration projects since then. His work involves working with sound/visual artists combining the elements of light and sound, and video. Some of his works include DiQueNoVes (Say You Don't See) (2003), D.D.D. - How Many Times Will My Heart Beat Before It Stops? (2004), Good Luck (2008) and TABLEMIND (2011).

Meanwhile, after 2008, Takao has been working on a site-specific performance series in solo, known as the "a perfect life". The most recent from the series is, "From Okinawa to Tokyo", was presented February 2013 at the Ebisu Moving Image Festival at Tokyo Metropolitan Photography Museum. Takao has also been associated in creating Butoh related works such as The Ailing Dance Mistress- two solos based on the texts of Tatsumi Hijikata (2012) with Tomomi Tanabe; and About Kazuo Ohno - Reliving the Butoh Diva's Masterpieces (2013).

Takao has also participated in a number of other collective projects including: True (2007) and Node - The Old Man of the Desert (2013) with Takayuki Fujimoto (dumb type) and Tsuyoshi Shirai; and Tri-K (2010) with Dick Wong (dancer/choreographer, Hong Kong) and Koichi Imaizumi (filmmaker, Tokyo); and most recently Touch of the Other (2015) with Jonathan M. Hall (professor of queer media studies at Pomona College, Los Angeles).

Besides being a choreographer Takao was also the director of the Tokyo International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival from 1996 to 1999 during which he translated British experimental filmmaker Derek Jarman's book Chroma into Japanese (2003), Uplink; and starred in Edmund Yeo's short film Kingyo which was invited to Venice Film Festival in 2009.

Another much appreciated work of Takao is "Good Luck", which is a cinematic visual experience. "Good Luck" consists of 35 minutes of slow, continuous movement, with a dramatic narrative lurking behind, transformed in the way as if a scene from a film were played in the tenth of the real speed. It plays with the speed, stretching out the body, movements, emotions and the narrative, its deformation giving an enhanced sense of the space and time. "Good Luck" is accompanied by a soundtrack which is a piece by David Vranken, who is a Brussels-based film sound designer.

As we have mentioned above that there will be a cultural exchange with the local artists of Laihui Ensemble, here is a brief introduction about Laihui.

Laihui - The Centre for Research on Traditional and Indigenous Performing Arts
Laihui - The Centre for Research on Traditional and Indigenous Performing Arts

Laihui - The Centre for Research on Traditional and Indigenous Performing Arts

Laihui was established in 1985, under the guidance of late Oja Thongam Thoiba (Pena Guru). So far, Laihui had conducted various intense researches on Traditional and Indigenous Arts of Manipur. Many gurus and artistes of this centre have engaged themselves in various Seminars, Workshops and Performances at India and abroad. Since 1995, every five years, Laihui has been organizing "Festival of Performing Traditional Arts". Since 1990 training center was established under the supervision of Guru Kh. Mangi, recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademy Award and Padmashree, Ema Langathel Thoinui recipient of Sangeet Bhushan Award and Ema Amaibi Dhoni to preserve and promote traditional art forms.

Ever since the establishment of this Centre many young and educated performers are taking active part in the activities that helps rejuvenate the rare indigenous performing arts like Pena (traditional folk ballad), Moirang Sai (traditional folk opera) and other folk performing arts of the region. For the first time the relevance and important of these rare performing arts have been brought in to focus and limelight. This resulted many prestigious performances at international platform, to be mention a few are, Peter Norton Symphony Space Broadway New York, United Nation HQ New York, Esplanade - theatre on the bay Singapore, Stein Studio Colombo etc. This centre has produced numbers of innovative traditional performing art performances and audio visual documentaries based on above art forms.

Laihui stands for the preservation and propagation of ancient traditional performing arts through performances, with a modern and contemporary perspective. At present this institute is run by M. Mangangsana recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademy Yuva Puraskar and a team of his dedicated talented artiste.

Takao Kawaguchi and Manipur - A Dance Rendezvous

The event is going to be a workshop cum cultural exchange programme which will be mainly led by Takao Kawaguchi along with Surjit Nongmeikapam. As an expert for the workshop he will be helping the new generation dancers who are interested in contemporary dance form, and will give them his share of knowledge and expertise. This workshop will therefore help our youth in understanding contemporary dance in a better way and help them gain a new perspective into it.

Through Takao K. our youth and the local artist here will be able to get a glimpse of contemporary dance in Japan. Apart from the workshop, there will be a session for cultural exchange at the later days of the event. During the cultural exchange, our local artists from Laihui Ensemble will come together with Takao K. and Surjit on a same platform where they will be able to share about their cultures.

The cultural exchange session will also be serving as a platform for the local artist with Takao K. and Surjit to bring out their ideas and concepts from which they can create something new - a blend of both the cultures and ideas.

About the workshop from 27 May to 30 May at Yumshang Studio .

A brief note on what the workshop will focus on -
Moving the Space Perception, Sensations, and Collective Consciousness

With a hypothesis of "It's the space that dance and not us", this is a workshop to explore the relationship between the body and the space. How we can move the space and let IT dance rather than WE dance ourselves?

We start with individual exercises of visualization of the space inside and outside the body, opening up our perception and our body and savouring sensations as well as discovering and even creating spaces around our body. Then, we move on to work with other people too in order to develop the sense of collective consciousness so that we as individuals can become one with the whole. At the final stage of the workshop, we aim at mobilizing the entire space. The workshop will consist of devised, experience-based exercises and improvisation sessions.

We are planning to select around 30-40 participants approximately. The selection will be done on certain criteria which will be laid put later during the time of publicity. We are also going to provide accommodation to those participants who are from outside Imphal area. There won't be any charges applied for participating in the workshop. It is going to be free of cost as our main objective is to provide maximum exposure and knowledge to these younger generations.

Objective: - We are looking forward to be able to create a platform for our local artist to interact and work together in collaboration with Takao Kawaguchi. Through him we would like to give exposure of our art forms such as folk and classical apart from contemporary dance, to be introduced with the collaboration work of Takao K. and our local artist. For the younger generation of contemporary dance aspirers, this will serve as a medium through which they can understand the dance form in a better way and meaning.

Program schedule

26 May - Takao San arriving .
27 May to 30 May - Workshop by Takao San (morning 9am to 11am )
31st June - Arriving Ms Misako , Press conference at Manipur Press club about the Cultural exchange with Takao San , Laihui director , Miss Misako and Surjit .
31st May to 4th June collaboration/exchanging ideas/work in progress with Takao ,Laihui and Surjit . ( time flexible )
5th June 6pm - An evening of contemporary dance .
Takao - GOOD LUCK and a collaboration work.(Takao, Laihui and Surjit ) at MFDC or JN Dance Acadmy ,Manipur (to be confirm )
5th June 9pm - Farewell private party at The Giving tree.
6th June - Departure .

All the Japan foundation delegates will be staying at The Giving tree including Takao san .

* Nachom Arts of Contemporary Movement wrote this article for
This article was forwarded by James Kh who can be contacted at jameslaphoi(at)gmail(dot)com
This article was posted on May 14, 2015.

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