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PERFORMANCES AND COLLABORATIONS

CURRENT COLLABORATION PROJECT

​LADDER 梯子

EMIKO AGATSUMA (BUTOH), MIYA TURNBULL (MASKS) AND GOZU MEZU (MUSIC)
APRIL-JUNE 2024

Ladder

Japan-Canada International Exchange Project 

​日本カナダ国際文化交流

 

Collaboration by Emiko Agatsuma and Miya Turnbull

Music by Gozu Mezu (Hitoshi Sugiyama)

Experience a unique collaboration where Emiko Agatsuma (Tokyo, Japan) and Miya Turnbull (Halifax, NS) come together for a mesmerizing performance. Witness the fusion of Butoh dance and photo-realistic portrait Masks in a one-of-a-kind show that will transport you to a dream-like world. Don't miss this opportunity to see these creative artists blend their talents in a captivating performance alongside stunning custom music created and performed live by Gozu Mezu (Hitoshi Sugiyama) (Edmonton, AB)

"Ladder 梯子" explores layers of cultural identity, masking, Japanese imagery and connections of shared ancestry and memories. The project also researches and honours multiple generations through the history of the Japanese diaspora in Canada as experienced by Miya's maternal family. Emiko and Miya have been working together in a creative residency in Halifax, N.S. from April through to June to combine their artistic skills to create approximately a 30-40 minute performance. Hitoshi has been working remotely and in-person with Emiko and Miya, to create an ambient musical landscape also inspired by his Japanese and Canadian experiences, paired with live performances of Taiko drumming and Shinobue (Japanese flute)."Ladder 梯子" explores layers of cultural identity, masking, Japanese references and connections of shared ancestry and memories. The project also researches and honours multiple generations through the history of the Japanese diaspora in Canada as experienced by Miya's maternal family, as well as folklore and imagery such as Yokai (supernatural entities) and Yūrei (ghosts). Emiko and Miya have been working together in a creative residency in Halifax, N.S. from April through to June to combine their artistic skills to create approximately a 40 minute performance. Hitoshi has been working remotely and in-person with Emiko and Miya, to create an ambient musical landscape also inspired by his Japanese and Canadian experiences, paired with live performances of Taiko drumming and Shinobue (Japanese flute).

 

Together during their creation residency, new masks of each performer have been created and inspired by the choreography, movement and music and in turn, the performance has been influenced and informed by Miya's masks in true collaboration form. This is just the beginning of their collaboration together. They hope to further expand and develop their project and showcase across Canada and Japan in the future. 

Performances:

Dates and Times: 

June 28th, 2024 (Friday) 7:30 pm (evening) + Artist Talk

June 29th, 2024 (Saturday) 2:00 pm (matinee) + Artist Talk

June 29th, 2024 (Saturday) 7:30 pm (evening)

*Doors open 30 mins before

 

Performance time: approximately 30-40 mins. 

 

Venue: Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen St, Halifax, NS B3K 3B5)

 

Fee: $20 (General Admission), $5-10 discounts available

Artist Biographies:​

Emiko Agatsuma is a versatile Japanese artist recognized for her role as a traditional Butoh dancer, choreographer, and as the long standing Artistic Director at AGAXART, a platform dedicated to nurturing Butoh talent in Japan and internationally. www.agaxart.com and Instagram: @emiko.agatsuma

 

Miya Turnbull is a multi-disciplinary visual artist based in Kjipuktuk (Halifax, NS). She is primarily a mask-maker, and new to her practice is performance. Miya is 3rd and 4th generation mixed Japanese Canadian and British Canadian.

 

Hitoshi Sugiyama was born and raised in Japan and is currently based in Edmonton, Alberta. He is a musician specializing in improvisation, ambient electronic music as well as Taiko (drum) and Shinobue (flute). He has released 2 albums under the name of Gozu Mezu: Homesick (2022) and Shogyomujo (2022). https://t-a-i-l.ca/artists/gozu_mezu/index.html and Instagram: @gozu_mezu​

 

Emiko is also offering Butoh Workshops: In-person classes: Halifax, N.S.​

<Workshop Highlights>

・Learn how to move your body based on Butoh basic training.

・Explore the background of Butoh movements and the connection between mind and body through imagination.​

■ Schedule April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 25 and June 15, 3~5 PM each

*They are independent classes with different contents. It can be taken only one time, but it is recommended to take all 6 classes in a row.

​■ Venue Halifax Dance Studio(1505 BARRINGTON STREET, HALIFAX, NS, B3J 3K5, CANADA)

​​■ Fee *$30 CAD / 1 workshop , $50 CAD / 2 workshops, $150 CAD / 6 workshops

*If finances are a barrier to you, she is also offering Pay What You Can options

 

 

​For more information about our project, workshops and performances please visit: https://www.agaxart.com/ladder

This project has been generously supported by the Arts Council Tokyo (Tokyo Metropolitan Foundation for History and Culture), Arts Nova Scotia (Support4Culture) and the Canada Council for the Arts/ Conseil des arts du Canada.Additional thanks to Kinetic Studio, Prismatic Arts Festival and Japanese Society of Halifax.

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Omote (面)

"Omote (面)" is a collaboration between mask maker Miya Turnbull (Halifax, NS) and dance artist Shion Skye Carter (Vancouver, BC). We were brought together by Yume. Digital Dreams collaboration project presented by Tashme Productions in 2022, which united 14 Japanese Canadian artists together. Custom music made by Stefan Nazarevich (Vancouver, B.C.)
 

Article about our collaboration in The Nikkei Voice "Revealing Layers Within", May 2023


This project exists in several forms: 

Short Film: 

The film version, seen above, has screened at several film festivals including FIN (Atlantic International Film Festival, 2022), International Portrait Film Festival in Bulgaria (2022), Asian Arts: Environments of Resilience and Sustainability, Media Arts Exhibition (Korean Film Festival Canada/ Arts East-West) Dazibao Gallery in Montréal (2023) and Shifting Tides (Dance Films from Atlantic Canada, 2023) among other showings in galleries and venues in Canada and in Germany.

Live Performance: 

We also developed Omote (面) into a live performance, Spring 2023, commissioned by CanAsian Dance Kickstart Program and co-presented by Tangente and Festival Accès Asie. This 20 min performance was supported by Canada Council for the Arts and Kinetic Studio in Halifax. We performed in Montreal May 6-9th, 2023 and Toronto May 12-14th, 2023. Dramaturgy provided by Julie Tamiko Manning.

 

We also have plans to develop this into a full length piece which we will showcase in Halifax and Vancouver in 2025. More details to come soon! See below for an excerpt from the show.

Art/Photo Book:

Before the premiere of Omote (面) in Montréal, we had a photo session with Nanne Springer and the results from that photoshoot, I made into a photo book, thanks to the 2023 Art & Photo Book Award by Boooooom. You can order a copy here or get in touch with me directly. Retail price is $30 USD or $40 CAD plus shipping. 

 

I've been pushing myself to add performance elements to my practise and to incorporate full-bodied movement, showcasing the transformational powers of my masks when my body and energy bring them to life, captured through video and photographs.

The first thing I started working with are spandex body-suits which I call 'Skin Suits'. Sometimes these body suits mask my body and sometimes they add extra limbs to my body. Sometimes I use them like a puppet to create something 'creature-like" or something outside of myself.

Sometimes I am working with multiple masks, stacking them or trying to wear many layers all at once. Sometimes the layers multiply or fragment my facial features.