On Offline Days

赤保内駒踊り Photo by 三陸国際芸術推進委員会

I (Anna) just finished 3 months working on a film. David finished Leading is Following is Leading at Liveworks Festival. We have been taking some online classes. There were some great experiences along the way.


Firstly, I experienced a wonderful series of dance theory lectures by Daisuke Muto, independent dance critic, choreographer and Associate Professor of Dance Studies and Aesthetics at Gunma Prefectural Women’s University. I took a total 15 classes and they were absolutely amazing.
I studied dance theory through Yoshinobu Matsuzawa in college and still remember what I learnt back then. Matsuzawa’s lectures remind me how important it is to understand the origins of what I do. Muto san’s lectures inform through his study of aesthetics and deep practice, building general knowledge and introducing specific angles of analysis.

まず一つ目は、群馬県立女子大学 文学部 准教授、ダンス批評家、振付家の武藤大祐さんが講義されていた「舞踊概論(教養)」。

I really enjoyed analysing the term ‘choreography’ in different languages, one of the lectures’ themes. During this time I was able to access Tongan and Mongolian languages while working with Tongan-Iraqi-Australian dancer Neda Taha for a PYT project and Mongolian Stunt Team members Boldbaatar, Naranbaatar, Munkhnaran, Zoljargal and Tsereg for the film.
I learnt that in Tonga a choreographer or chief is called Punake, chosen as a town representative to create music, poetry, lyrics and movement for performances and specific occasions/celebrations. In Mongolia choreography is called Deglelt, movement scores for orchestral conductor’s, dance, military, fighting action, etc.
I realised if you translate a word to a different language, you can access an expression of feelings you have never previously described or imagined. Sometimes meanings are very specific and sometimes conceptual. Words figure in many different scales. I am thankful to my friends for giving me knowledge to explore and swim between ideas.


Going back to the lectures, I also enjoyed framing dance in arts and culture, Expo/Oriental dance history, costume, comparing different legendary choreographers’ making processes, movie examples and the Q&A sessions between Muto san and participants. I’d like to thank Muto san for providing quality information. There is now big homework for myself in considering how to make a better environment for the future.


大槌虎舞オンライン体験 Photo by 大槌町役場
大槌虎舞オンライン体験 Photo by 大槌町役場

Secondly, I was very lucky to participate in the Sanriku Geinoh Artist In Residency Online program by Sanriku International Arts Committee. There were opportunities to see performances by six different groups and learn the material of each dance. The sessions were led by Otsuchi Toramai (Iwate), Tsugaruishi Sansa (Iwate), Kanatsuryu Urahama Shishi Odori (Iwate), Tatsugane Yoroi Nenbutsu Kenbai (Iwate), Akabonai Koma Odori (Aomori) and Juichinichimachi Enburi (Aomori).



Even through the computer screen you can feel a strong, beautiful and dynamic presence. Along the Sanriku Coast in Japan there are more than 2000 performing groups. Years ago, in 2017, David and I went to visit Sioned Huws in Sumitacho and observed Kakinaizawa Shishi Odori.
This year I participated remotely with 6 other groups, all having a completely different look, sound and dance but connected by common purpose. The origin was always to protect people and life – from ghosts and natural disaster or through wishing for good harvest and health. These dances have been passed down over hundreds of years by the ancestors. I was touched by the current performers’ deep connection through dance to respecting nature, people and history. I would like to visit the Sanriku region in person again soon.
I’d like to thank Kuzuya san, the technical team, Sanriku International Arts Commitee and the 6 groups of artists who taught me these precious lessons from Iwate and Aomori.


David has also been learning remotely over the last few months. He began with Blender software previsualisation, learning to create 3D previews of future performance spaces and installations. Then he completed certified NovaStar LED wall training. Thank you to ULA Group for providing this training free of charge during a time when many artists and technicians are struggling to find work. Now he is learning to read Kanji so he can finally understand the Japanese sections of our website :-).

デイビットも数カ月オンラインのクラスを受けていました。また、Blenderのソフトウェアを使い始めました。予想の状態を視覚化でき、例えば劇場の照明やインスタレーションの3Dプレビューを制作する事ができます。そして、NovaStarのLEDウォールトレーニングを修了しました。この様な環境下で沢山の芸術家、テクニシャン、学生向けに無償提供して下さったULA Groupに感謝です。そして漢字も勉強中。このウェブサイトの日本語がいつか読めるようになるよう頑張っています。

Photo by Shopfront
Citylights~街の灯 Photo by Howard Matthew
Photo by Kazuyuki Matsumoto
Citylights~街の灯 Photo by Kazuyuki Matsumoto

Talking about online performance, we made ‘Citylights~街の灯‘ in 2013. This performance/installation work was presented as a live-stream between Sydney and Yokohama. Performers on both sides share a choreographic score and perform at the same time. The installation creates sound as the audience interacts with it, delivering a composition of one city’s everyday noises to the other. We assume online live-streaming performances between countries will become more normal now, although they remind us how physical experiences involving visiting somewhere and meeting someone are vital to tie our lives together and keep our hearts strong.