Koosil-ja is a conceptual experimental choreographer who responds to French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s process-based ontology of the body, in which the body is viewed as a site for a series of processes, movements, and flows. This is expressed through a combination of movement and interactive digital technology.

She created a performance technique called Live Processing and with her dance and media group, koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO builds digital media and digital systems to restore the body and therefore dance, in a constant process of de-configuration and reconfiguration.

In deadmandancing EXCESS (2003) she practiced the idea of “extension of body”, mimicking dying performances collected from over 40 films.

For mech[a]OUTPUT (2003, 2007) she meticulously followed a video of a Japanese Noh play. The original was decomposed - movement shown in onstage monitors, setting rendered in 3D gamespace, emotions represented via video installation – then re-synthesized.

Dance Without Bodies (2006) studies the nature of image and presence, actual and virtual. The performance space is divided, cameras and projection used to fold the space back on itself, with dancers appearing in person and onscreen.

After graduating from Polytechnic Institute of New York University in 2007, Koosil-ja presented her work Dance Without Bodies for the festival Nomadic New York in Berlin, Germany in August and participated in Flying Circus Project 2007: Travelogue in Singapore and Vietnam in October and November. In 2008, she was awarded a fellowship from Asian Cultural Council to research her new project Blocks of Continuality/ Body, Image and Algorithm and stayed in a new Korean town located in Tokyo, Japan for a over month. When she returned to New York, she began creating the project Blocks with her dance and media group.  Please see more about Blocks in the project description below.

In addition, Koosil-ja co-composes music for all of her dance works and creates and performs song for her works and others like The Wooster Group’s To You The Birdies! (Phedre). Her music Like Us was licensed for Robert Wilson’s digital project Portraits for the Beijing Exhibition in May 2008. In 2009 and 2010 she worked with The Wooster Group as a performer in North Atlantic presented at REDCAT, CA, and Baryshnikov Arts Center, NY.

She was nominated for United States Artists Fellowship (10). She received a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council President Award  (11). 

She holds a Master of Science degree from Polytechnic Institute of New York University (07). 

After moving to New York from Japan in 1981 to study dance with Merce Cunningham, Koosil-ja danced for Wendy Perron Dance Company.

Koosil-ja received fellowships from NEA (4 awards) and NYFA (3 awards), Guggenheim Foundation (07) and Asian Cultural Council (08) and "Bessie" award (04).

Koosil-ja participated in Media in Transition conference 5 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (07) and Flying Circus Project 2007 Travelogue in Singapore and Vietnam (07) and taught in USA, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Portugal, and Mexico.

In 1984, she co-founded the band Bosho as a percussionist and vocalist, released albums, and toured over 30 cities in Europe and Japan. She performed music with Takehisha Kosugi, Mimi Goese and others and co-created music and wrote songs for all of her dance works and also for Woo.Co Dance Company, Copenhagen (04). She also wrote songs for The Wooster Group's To You the Birdie! (Phedre). Her music Like Us was released on the Agriculture Record (02) and was licensed for Robert Wilson’s digital project Portrays for the Beijing Exhibition in May 2008.

She has worked with The Wooster Group for their productions, North Atlantic and To You The Birdie! (Pherdre).

Koosil-ja/danceKUMIKO has been presented and commissioned:
(In New York) 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center; The Kitchen; La MaMa E.T.C.; Aaron Davis Hall; Performance Space 122; Performing Garage; Danspace Project; Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors; Central Park SummerStage; Whitney Museum of American Art at Altria, Japan Society and Dance Theater Workshop. 

(Nationally) Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival; The Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, Dance Umbrella Austin, Diverseworks Houston, Jumpstart San Antonio, Walker Arts Center Minneapolis, American Dance Festival Durham, University of Wisconsin Madison, On The Board Seattle, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography and Columbia College Chicago. 

(Internationally) European Dance Development Center in Arnhem, (Netherlands); Dusseldorf, and Lisbon, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin and iDANS, Istanbul. 

Media Fellowship Project | 2011-2012

The Podcast Project: Conversation with The Audience

Working remotely from Manhattan with her project collaborators, Koosil-Ja invited individuals to converse with her about ideas for a new work which developed at MANCC in the 2012-13 season exploring how language about her work may be shared, received, interpreted, and re-imagined in highly collaborative, intimate dialogues. The series of recorded conversations took place as the work developed, offering a dynamic and synergistic engagement opportunity which aided in the development of her work, and helped contextualize her research and working process.

The Media Fellowship Project was made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

DTW Partnership | October 25-November 7, 2009

Blocks of Continuality/Body, Image and Algorithm

Koosil-ja worked with her collaborators to further develop the 3D set design and integrate a variety of complicated, but critical technical components into the work. Using Live Processing, a performance technique and video system that creates unique movements each time the dancer practices, Koosil-ja sought to create a networked flow with body, image and algorithm. Research components included Alvin Lucier’s brainwave amplification, 3D avitars, video-game systems, and computer headgear apparatus. Audiences were brought in to help reflect on the work in progress throughout the residency.

Blocks premiered March 3-6, 2010 at Dance Theater Workshop.

This partnership project was supported, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts. The work in progress showings were supported, in part, by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts.

Koosil-ja video
  • Koosil-ja Residency
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Collaborators in Residence: Melissa Guerrero (dancer and live processing coach), Ava Heller (dancer), Elise Knudson (dancer), Robert Ramirez (OGRE 3D engine manager and programmer), Jane Shaw (Lighting Designer, Production Manager), Enrico Wey (stage manager)

Featured Artist

Faye Driscoll

February 22 - 24
Carolina Performing
Arts, UNC Chapel Hill


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