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Emerging Voices    

Dates: Friday 11 and Saturday 12 April 2008
Schedule: Day 1
3pm – 6pm participatory dance movement workshop (no prior dance experience is required)
7pm performance of Alapadma

Day 2
2pm – 5.30pm lecture demonstration followed by panel discussion
Venue: Middlesex University, Trent Park, Bramley Rd, London N14 4LX
Nearest tube: Oakwood (Piccadilly Line)
See the contact page for further details

    The Japanese dancer and choreographer JOU and her collaborative partner, a video and sound artist, composer, musician and scenographer, Mitsuaki Matsumoto, lead this event in which they revealed the impulses and concerns that drive their work. Over the course of two afternoon sessions they reflected on their collaborative process and engagement with audience through a participatory movement workshop, as well as a lecture-demonstration and panel discussion with Head of ResCen Professor Chris Bannerman and ResCen Research Associate Artist Richard Layzell. JOU and Matsumoto also performed the UK premiere of their multi-media work Alapadma on the evening of Friday 11 April.

‘Emerging Voices’ is part of ResCen’s new research project ‘Extending Participation in Contemporary Dance in Japan’ that aims to forge new connections with Japanese artists and agencies by examining artists’ engagement with audience through participatory dance practices. The project is led by Professor Chris Bannerman and funded by the Daiwa Anglo Japanese Foundation, British Academy and Sasakawa Foundation. One of the key aims of this project is to develop mutual understanding and to share good practice between Japanese and UK researchers. ‘Emerging Voices’ is not only a participatory event, but also one in which an exchange of experiences and ideas is encouraged through dialogue and discussion.

ResCen (Centre for Research into Creation in the Performing Arts) at Middlesex University has examined the creative process of artists in the UK for almost nine years. To date, most of this research has been focused on six particular artists, including Richard Layzell, who are based in the UK. This has formed one of the longest longitudinal studies of its kind. ResCen is currently extending its research to expand and test its findings in international contexts such as Japan and Asia.

JOU is a Japanese dancer and choreographer who founded the performing arts project unit Odorujou in 2000 (see odorujou.net for more details). JOU draws on the cultural influences of both East and West from her experience as an artist who has lived in the USA, Malaysia and Japan. Her activities vary from performing on stage around the world to teaching contemporary dance. She has worked with a number of artists, filmmakers, architects and musicians. Her flexible and broad-ranging ideas are highly regarded: “She manipulates her long limbs and highly-flexible body sensitively and dynamically. She has sufficient physical vocabularies to keep dancing within one meter radius without making audience get bored” (Contemporary dance HYPER guide 2004).

Mitsuaki Matsumoto (also known as Mathieu Martin) is a video and sound artist, composer, musician and scenographer. He has a wide range of musical interests including acoustic improvisation and electronic sound accompaniment. He regularly collaborates with choreographers.

Alapadma is co-created and performed by JOU and Mitsuaki Matsumoto. The title of this work combines the French a là (meaning ‘in the style of’, as well as ‘towards’) with the Sanskrit word padma (‘lotus’ which has a variety of symbolic meanings including God, Buddha, life, death and water). The multitude of meanings that arise through the combination of these two languages and words, serve as a starting point for the performance Alapadma that seeks to create an embodiment of meaning, rather than a literal translation. Alapadma includes a performance reading, audiovisual elements and dance performance.

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