Yoshiko Chuma, Conceptual Artist/Choreographer/Artistic Director of The School of Hard Knocks, has been a firebrand of New York's downtown dance scene since arriving in 1976. She has created more than 60 full-length company works, commissions and site-specific events for venues in 35 countries, constantly challenging the notion of performance for both audience and participant. Her work has been presented in such diverse venues as Joyce Theater, the Eiffel Tower, Newcastle Swing Bridge, City Center, Lincoln Center, the former National Theater of Sarajevo, the perimeter of the Hong Kong harbor, World Financial Center, and an ancient ruin in Macedonia, among many others. She has received fellowships and awards for choreography and career work from John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, NEA, New York Foundation for Artists, Japan Foundation, Meet the Composer Choreographer/Composer Commission and Philip Morris New Works. Chuma has led workshops and master classes and been commissioned to create new work in East and West Europe, Asia, Russia, the Middle East, Manipur, and the U.S. She received a 1984 BESSIE award for choreography and four more Bessies were awarded to her productions in 1992 and 1998. In 2007 she received a Bessie for Sustained Achievement. Her work has appeared in NY stages including: Danspace Project, La MaMa, PS 122, Dance Theater Workshop, Joyce Theater, City Center, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and others. NYC site-works include Art on the Beach (1980s), the steps of Federal Hall (1980s and 1990s), World Financial Center, Staten Island Ferry, LentSpace with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and other works worldwide. Chuma was Artistic Director of the Daghdha Dance Company in Limerick, Ireland from 2000-03 and is guest teacher/choreographer in the Dance MA program of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.
The School of Hard Knocks Under the artistic direction of Yoshiko Chuma, The School of Hard Knocks is a New York-based collective of choreographers, dancers, actors, singers, musicians, designers, and visual artists. Since premiering at the 1980 Venice Biennale, this award-winning company has created and performed over 60 original works in the United States, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The School of Hard Knocks takes its name from the American idiom meaning to learn things the hard way on the proverbial "street," and was first used as the title of a performance at the 1980 Venice Biennale. Over the course of the company's history, more than 2,000 people have performed to wide critical acclaim under Chuma's direction in theatrical dance concerts, street performances, grand parades, large-scale spectacles and intimate living rooms. (yoshikochuma.org)
Takashi Arai (Daguerreotypist) Born and raised in Kawasaki, Arai studies daguerreotype by himself and is known as a unique contemporary daguerreotypist in Japan. Arai continuously exhibits his works associated with domestic and foreign museums, galleries, universities and non-profit organizations. His major solo exhibitions are “Rendezvous on Mirror” (2006) at Yokohama Museum of Art, “Mirrors in Our Nights” (2011) at Kawasaki City Museum, “Here and There – Ashita no Shima (Tomorrow’s Islands)” (2012) at Nikon Salon (Tokyo and Osaka), and The Eyes of Fukushima 2 “MIRRORS HALf ASLeeP” (2012) at the Maruki Gallery For the Hiroshima Panels (a.k.a. Maruki Museum) among many others. Arai also participated in the group show “Photography Today 4 – In Their Persistent Endeavors to Meet the World” (2012) at the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo. (takashiarai.com)
Kit Fitzgerald is an artist working in video and digital media. Her work includes live perfomance, music video, installation, video painting and documentaries on the arts and culture. Her work has been produced and exhibited worldwide.
Ms. Fitzgerald began her career as artist-in-residence at the WNET Television Laboratory in New York. Her work was recognized for the strength of its visual language and sensitivity to music. She was an early adopter of digital technology in live performance. Her live video-music productions bring to video the immediacy and ensemble possibilities found in music and dance. She has a long-standing collaboration with American composer and musician Peter Gordon and the Love of Life Orchestra. Other collaborators included jazz legend Max Roach, choreographers Donald Byrd and Bill T. Jones, Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto, poet Seiku Sundiata, London-based post-industrial band Factory Floor, The Talking Band, and the Northern Netherlands Theatre.
Ms. Fitzgerald also directs documentaries on art and culture (on Twyla Tharp, The New York City Ballet, Kenneth Anger, 1980’s avant-garde film), dramatic films (The Body Shop, The Deadman), music videos (for King Crimson, The Doors, Qbadisc Records), dance videos (with Bebe Miller/Gotham Dance, Bill T. Jones, and The Wooster Group), PSA’s (for MTV, VH-1), and commissioned works for Tokyo Broadcasting System and New York Public Television. She is currently collaborating with Cuban composer and pianist Elio Villafranca on a documenaty about Cuabn music.
Her dramatic work, The Deadman, won 2nd prize at the Riccione (Italy) Film, Theatre, and Television Festival. Her hi-definition work, Painted Melodies, won 1st prize at the Electronic Cinema Festival in Montreaux, Switzerland and was featured in the New York Film Festival and the Tokyo International Film Festival. She has been the recipient of grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Japan Foundation.
Tercero Excluido/ Natalia Orozco Colombian dancer and choreographer. As a philosopher the creation has been, from the beginning, in constant dialogue with philosophical thought and critical writing. The phenomenon of the thinking body in the process of improvisation, the compositional processes of choreography, the construction and presentation of identity and body, are themes that has been questions to generated intricate choreographic solutions. Tercero Excluido, her collective creation has been a continuous investigation that combines theoretical reflection with experimental choreography, improvisation and the development different views about movement and a mover. Her current research is around gesture and voice (Baldío, which won a scholarship for new creation from the Philharmonic Orchestra of Bogotá (OFB), in which the collective works with the songs, gestures, resonances and calls of the cow herders of the Llanos (savanna) region of Colombia. An understanding of voice-as-gesture, and voice as a joyous drive towards improvisation are the topics of her thesis work in the Masters program in Psychoanalysis and Culture in the National University of Colombia). She is director of Alambique Asociation, a private organisation that works in dance research, of Espacio Ambimental, a dance center for creation in Bogotá and the director of the dance company Tercero Excluido (www.nataliaorozco.com).
Rebeca Medina is a dancer, choreographer and anthropologist, dedicated to the research of the body in movement. She works as both a solo performer and ensemble member. She has been creating new pieces, based in collective creation, contact improvisation, interdisciplinary collaboration, and informed by her master’s degree in theater and live arts. She has studied and worked with masters such as Humberto Canessa (Costa Rica), David Zambrano (Venezuela), Juan Kruz (Spain), Iñaki Azpillaga (Spain), Alexis Eupierre (Spain), Marianela Boan (Cuba), Dominik Borucki (Germany), Ralf Jaroschinski (Germany), Sally Anne Friedlan (Israel), Natalia Orozco (Colombia), among others.
Coque Salcedo (Dancer) The basis of his work as an artist are; to deepen the body and its sensory experience; to research on bodily and performative practices from their matter condition and plastic possibilities. Since 1997, when he started approaching contemporary dance, his artistic reflection has been focused on the body and its processes of understanding as a sensitive territory, an aesthetic space to be continuously inhabited and territorialized. As an anthropologist (Universidad de los Andes, 2001) specialist in Cultural Studies (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, 2009), and MA in Visual and Plastic Arts (Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2012), Coque considers the body as an aesthetic space of production and assimilation of knowledge. He is currently part of the contemporary dance company “Tercero Excluído” and works with Asociación Alambique. He also directs the School of Psychology’s contemporary dance group “Onírica” from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.
Aska Kaneko (Violine/ Vocal) Aska was born in Tokyo. At a very early age, she was invited to participate in an international quartet competition for young musicians in London in which she won the grand prize. In 1984 she established a thirty-member stings group (Aska Strings) and began devoting more time to composition of original works. In the 1990s Aska served as a pivotal member and also as the music director for the large collaborative project with traditional musicians from throughout Asia; the resulting Asian Fantasy Orchestra performed a series of critically acclaimed concerts in Japan and toured extensively in Asia. She has also composed and arranged music for numerous theatrical productions, television commercials, and dance companies. In 1998 Aska was awarded a “Bessie” for her original compositions in Yoshiko Chuma’s Unfinished Symphony. Over the last two decades Aska has pursued numerous collaborations with visual artists, illustrators, playwrights, and she has been deeply involved not only in the composition and arrangement of particular musical works but also in the overall production of multifaceted performance events. Critics have widely noted her impressive array of technical skills on the violin, which support a remarkable expressive range. To see Aska perform live is to see someone who appears completely at ease with herself, her instrument and her surroundings. She has been living in St. Louis since 2009.
Costume designer Gabriel Berry specializes in collaboration on new works for theater, dance and opera. Notable productions include premieres of the works of Writers Maria Irene Fornes, Richard Forman, Charles Ludlam, Samuel Beckett, John Guare, Eric Bogosian, Brandon Jacobs-Jenkins, Caryl Churchill, Tony Kushner, Anne Bogart, Christopher Hampton, Naomi Wallace, Sarah Ruhl, Craig Lucas, Christopher Durang, Harold Pinter, Ronnie Tavel, Nick Jones, Michael Korie and Sam Shepard, Composers Philip Glass, Antony Davis, Josef Tal, Tito Puente, John Adams, Osvaldo Golliov and Meredith Monk, Artists and Choreographers Tom Murrin, Ann Hamilton, Carrie Mae Weems, Yoshiko Chuma, Lucinda Childs, Mabou Mines Ethyl Eichelberger, The Urban Bushwomen, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Mark Morris and Yves Musard. This year's projects include the world premieres of Tennesse Williams last play "In Masks Outrageous and Austere" for the Culture Project, Stew and Heidi's "The Total Bent" at The New York Public Theater, "Food and Fadwa" by Lameece Issaq for The New York Theater Workshop, David Adjmi's "Marie Antoinette" at the American Repertory Theater and Yale Rep, Richard Foreman's "Old Fashioned Prostitutes" at the New York Public Theater plus Osvaldo Golliov's "Ainadamar" directed by Peter Sellars for Madrid's Teatro Real and Offenbach's "La Perichole" directed by Christopher Alden for New York City Opera. Her awards include an Obie for sustained excellence, Bessie awards for her work with Donald Byrd and Molissa Fenley, a Lucille Lortel award for her design of "The Coward" for Lincoln Center, a Michael Merritt award for theater collaboration and a silver medal from the Prague Quadrennial for her contribution to experimental theater.
Christopher McIntyre leads a multifaceted career in the contemporary arts as a solo and ensemble performer, composer, and curator/producer. The diversity of his activities led Time Out New York to note that “…with every passing week, trombonist-composer Chris McIntyre becomes more central to the new-music experience in New York.” (Nov. ’09) He performs on trombone and synthesizer in a variety of settings that often incorporate improvisation within notation. Current projects include leading TILT Brass and 7X7 Trombone Band , and collaborative efforts such as Ne(x)tworks. His playing is heard on recordings released by the Tzadik, New World, and Mode labels. In his composing, McIntyre has experimented with conceptual elements such as spatialization, recontextualized notated material, and improvisative strategy, along with ideas of scale, symmetrical pitch constructions, and self-similarity. He has contributed work to the repertoire of TILT, Ne(x)tworks, 7X7 Trombone Band (for choreographer Yoshiko Chuma), Flexible Orchestra, and B3+ brass trio. Beyond performing and creating music, McIntyre is also active as a curator and concert producer, with independent projects at venues including The Kitchen, Issue Project Room, and The Stone (June 2007), and as Artistic Director of the MATA Festival (07-10).
Carlos Gómez (Camera) is a co-founder of Cineminga, a media collective organized to produce films and teach filmmaking in indigenous communities. Gómez’ first film, Robert de Jesús Guachetá: The Work Goes On, a tribute to the Nasa activist educator in the Cauca region of Colombia, was screened recently at festivals in Canada and Colombia. Currently, Cineminga is producing a series of films based on the dreams of children, working with Nasa youth in Colombia and young Ainu in Japan. Gómez has worked as a cameraman and editor on several other independent documentary and fiction projects that have screened internationally on the large and small screen. Gómez also works as a bilingual Spanish/English interpreter, including work in New York for the United Nation's Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and for numerous Native American Film + Video Festivals and other screening events at the National Museum of the American Indian. He has also worked as a translator of film scripts and Web texts. His interest in education began in Chicago, where he taught video and photography to inner city youth while he was attending film school. Gómez was born in Bogotá and now resides in New York City.
Hiroki Ohishi (Projection Image Edit) Media Artist and Stage Manager with The School of Hard Knocks. Born in 1980. Mr. Ohishi has been a project member of The School of Hard Knocks since the Japan tour in 2004. Projects with SOHK include touring to: Mecedonia (2006), Roomania (2007), Tokyo (2008), and collaborations with ROOT CULTURE Hold the Clock (Jordan, Fukushima Kamakura, Yokohama), Gathering Space (Jordan) and A-C-E-One (New York) in 2010. In April 2011, Mr. Ohishi spent one month in an artist residency in Palestine and Jordan with Yoshiko Chuma for 6 Seconds in Ramallah. As other projects, Mr. Ohishi was involved in the Echigo Tsumari Art Triennial 2009 and Music and Rhythms Europe Tour (Czech, Germany) among many other projects.
Hugh Burckhardt Hugh has been photographing the streets of New York and its inhabitants for 4 years, and has had a one man show at CRS on 12th street at 4th avenue in 2010. He has been in 2 group shows at Gallery One Twenty Eight at Rivington and Norfolk streets. he has also photographed for Ishmael Houston Jones, La Mama, Go Productions, and many others. He has also worked with The School Of Hard Knocks since 2011, most recently in Ramallah, Palestine. He enjoyed his visit to Palestine, it was very pleasant, and beautiful.
Rebeca Rocha (Coordinator & Colombian Promoter) Visual artist and Costume Designer established in Bogota, Colombia. Completed her Fine Arts Bachelor degree at “Universidad Nacional de Colombia”. In addition to this, has attended several workshops in Buenos Aires, Argentina including: Stage design, costume design and Art Direction. She has experience as visual artist, costume designer, costume designer assistant, performer, assistant director, stage producer, performer and artist researcher in multiple projects including performing arts and audiovisual.
Kaya Nakamura (Production Liaison & Coordinator) is a native of Odawara, Japan. Kaya is a New York City based administrator and coordinator, both in Japanese and English. She works extensively and broadly in different fields of art as her interests expands beyond one category of art. Kaya’s credits include: Asami Morita and Nichole Arvin’s Big Beat/Back Flow (New York International Fringe Festival, Theater 80), Catherine Galasso’s Bring on the Lumiére (Joyce Soho), Rica Takashima’s exhibition and workshop CELEBRATE WOMEN! (Fort Lee Library, NJ), Monica Robles’s United We Sock (FIGMENT, Governor’s Island), and Arts for Art’s The Under_Line Benefit Launch (Angel Orensanz Arts Center), Evolving Music Series (Clemente Soto Valez Art Center) and French American Peace Ensemble (various locations in the US and Canada). She also has been working with Yoshiko Chuma’s productions since 2010: A-C-E-One (LentSpace, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council), Shredded (gallery onetwentyeight), Documentation #1(gallery onetwentyeight), and Love Story, Palestine (La MaMa).
Bonnie Sue Stein/ GOH Productions (Company Manager) has been a producer and manager of numerous projects worldwide, including all of Yoshiko Chuma & The School of Hard Knocks projects since 1992. Since 1984, she has been thrilled to be involved in performances, special events, readings, exhibitions, and all sorts of activities at La MaMa.