Mina Nishimura, is a dance artist from Tokyo, whose practice and research focus on relationships between internal landscapes and external forms as well as images and movements. Buddhism-influenced concepts and philosophies are reflected across her somatic, performance and choreographic practices.
After graduating from Ochanomizu University in Tokyo where she was introduced to butoh and improvisational dance through Kota Yamazaki’s teaching, Nishimura completed the international program at Merce Cunnigham Studio in New York. Since then, she has been performing and collaborating with ground breaking artists such as John Jasperse, Dean Moss, Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, Vicky Shick, Kota Yamazaki, Nami Yamamoto, Ursula Eagly, RoseAnne Spradlin, David Gordon, DD Dorvillier, Neil Greenburg, Daria Fain, Trajal Harrel, Yoshiko Chuma, Mårten Spångberg, Cori Olinghouse, Moriah Evans, John Jesurun, Ellen Fisher, Chantal Yzermans and Satoshi Haga. In recent years, she has also performed with SIA on Saturday Night Live, in PRADA/Miu Miu Women’s Tales directed by Celia Rowlson-Hall and in MV of Late Sea.
Upon her return from Senegal (2003-04) assisting cultural exchange dance project, FAGAALA, choreographed by Germaine Acogny and Kota Yamazaki, Nishimura started making her own work. Her works have been commissioned and presented by NYU Skirball Center, Danspace Project, Gibney Dance, Mount Tremper Arts Center, UC Davis (CA), Dance Theater Workshop, Whenever Wherever Festival (Tokyo), The Kitchen/Dance and Process, among other dance organizations.
Nishimura was also invited to DunaPart Festival (Budapest) through DTW’s Suitcase Fund in 2008, and to Impulse Tanz (Vienna) as danceWeb scholar in 2009, then served as curator for Movement Research Spring Festival, Danspace Project/Food for Thought, Mount Tremper Arts Center’s Watershed program, and Sundays on Broadways at Cathy Weis Project.
Nishimura has been the Artist-in-Residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange in 2010-11, Chez Bushwick in 2013, Movement Research in 2013-15, Camargo Foundation (France) in 2017, and Topaz Arts Center in 2019, and also has been teaching at Sarah Lawrence College, Bennington College, UC Davis (CA), Ferris University (Japan), Movement Research and Brooklyn Studios for Dance during these years. Nishimura is also a 2019 recipient of Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists award.
Although Nishimura has been performing in most of Yamazaki's company work for more than a decade, this is their first attempt to create a duet work collaboratory.
In 1977, Kota Yamazaki was introduced to butoh through the teaching of Akira Kasai; then in 1981 started studying classical ballet under the late Hirofumi in Inoue. He graduated from Bunka Fashion College with BA in Fashion Design.
In 1989, Yamazaki was invited to work with Daniel Larrieu at CNDC in Angers, France; then became a finalist in The Platform of Bognolet Competition in France in 1994. He was invited to join in the TAP (Triangle Arts Program) artist exchange program in 1997. Since Yamazaki established his Tokyo-based company, rosy co. in 1996, the company was invited to perform national and international festivals and theaters including Bunkamura Theater Cocoon (Tokyo), New National Theater (Tokyo), Indonesian Dance Festival, The Place Theater (London), Biennale Nationale de Danse Val-de Marine (France), Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Bates Dance Festival, Buena Center for the Arts, and Yorkshire Dance Festival. With the invitation from Germaine Acogny to create a new work for Senegal-based company Jant-bi, Yamazaki decided to close rosy co. in 2001, and left Japan.
At the six-time residencies in Senegal during 2001-2004, Yamazaki created a new work, FAGAALA, in collaboration with Germaine Acogny, for her company Jant-bi. FAGAALA was presented around the world for 4 years since its sensational premiere. In 2007, Yamazaki received the New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie Award) for its choreography with Germaine Acogny.
At the same time, Yamazaki moved his base to New York, and started creating new works with NY-based troupe, Kota Yamazaki/Fluid hug-hug. The company has performed national and international venues including Melbourne International Arts Festival, Dance Theater Workshop, PICA/TBA Festival, FIAF/Crossing Line, Bates Dance Festival, Danspace Project, ASU Gammage, NUS for the Arts (Singapore), Globalize: Cologne (Germany), 92Y Harkness Dance Festival, Painted Bride Art Center, Andy Warhol Museum, The Dance Center at Columbia College Chicago and Japan Society. Yamazaki also has created choreographic works for national and international dance companies, theater companies and students at universities.
During these years, Yamazaki has taught at Bennington College, Barnard College at Columbia University, Arizona State University, National University of Arts in Korea, Kyoto University of Art and Design, Tokyo Zoukei University, Kinki University, Earthdance, CAVE, Vangeline Theater, Movement Research Festival among many other national and international universities, festivals and institutions.
His projects have been supported by Japan Foundation, New England Foundation’s National Dance Project, Asian Cultural Council, The Saison Foundation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and Harkness Foundation for Dance.
In 2013, Yamazaki received the FCA award (the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grant Award) for his artistic achievements in New York, and is a recipient of NYFA Fellowship of 2016. He has been serving as Director for Body Arts Laboratory in Tokyo since 2009, and organizes Whenever Wherever Festival.