Kota Yamazaki

In 1977, 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.

Visiting Artist | March 14-30, 2019

Darkness Odyssey Part 3: Non-Opera, Becoming

Japanese artist, Kota Yamazaki, returns to MANCC to develop the final piece in his Darkness Odyssey trilogy, which combines “eastern” and “western” philosophies, from modernist French thinkers, Deleuze and Guattari, to butoh pioneer, Tatsumi Hijikata. Combining these seemingly disparate lineages, Yamazaki imagines the body as a black hole, with the ability to absorb everything it encounters.

Yamazaki first came to MANCC in November 2017 to develop Part 2: I or Hallucination from the same trilogy. Part 2 laid the groundwork for Part 3 by considering the porousness of bodies (fragile and vaporous) and the ability to reflect our ever-changing inner landscapes while exploring our interconnected universe. Part 2 went on to premiere to critical acclaim at Baryshnikov Art Center in New York City the following month, and was nominated for the 2018 “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Production.

Part 3, Non-Opera, Becoming will feature a team of international dancers with diverse backgrounds including Japanese dancer, Taketeru Kudo, one of the few remaining butoh performers to have trained directly with Hijikata, and an African dancer Alain Sinandja Tongo from Togo. 

Inspired by these performers, who organically carry the forms of dance they perform, Yamazaki aims to blur the distinction between these dance forms by boiling them down to their most fundamental essence. The work will also include two New York City-based contemporary dancers, who will be asked to explore these non-Western dance forms with the intent of reaching similar levels of authenticity in their bodies, beyond mimicking the external forms. In attempting to do so, Yamazaki hopes to address how each dancer deals with self-identity as a performer. He asks, “how can a performer shift his/her identity by internalizing something foreign?”

This residency is supported, in part, by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

  • Photos Coming Soon

Visiting Artist | November 9 - 22, 2017

Darkness Odyssey Part 2: I or Hallucination

Japanese artist Kota Yamazaki came to MANCC to develop Part 2 of his Darkness Odyssey series, which is inspired by the work of French philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, and butoh pioneer Tatsumi Hijikata’s “dance of darkness.” The series explores the idea of the body as a black hole, absorbing equally everything it encounters, even that which is seemingly unrelated.

Darkness Odyssey Part 2: I or Hallucination, considers the fragile, vaporous body and reflects on our ever-changing inner landscapes, while exploring a fragmented, yet interconnected universe. Inspired by stories and images of Goze women (visually-impaired Japanese women who historically worked as musicians in North-East region of Japan), the work also explores a space of hallucination, in which the body experiences a heightened state of sensation.

While at MANCC, Yamazaki finalized a scenic design that involved covering the entire stage floor in reflective silver material. Master lighting designer Thomas Dunn developed a lighting plot that plays with this reflective floor surface and enhances the vaporous movement quality of the dancers.

During the residency Yamazaki met with two FSU scholars. Dr. Stanley Gontarski, the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English, who has written extensively on modernist philosophy, spoke with Yamazaki to further develop his interpretation of Deleuze’s writings. Lynda Jones, CVRT and former coordinator for the Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Specialization at FSU, spoke to Yamazaki about her lived experience of blindness. The residency concluded with an informal work-in-progress showing that was open to the public and attended by students and faculty of the FSU School of Dance and MANCC’s namesake benefactor, Maggie Allesee.

As a part of MANCC’s Embedded Writers Initiative, Yamazaki and his collaborators were joined by Moriah Evans. This initiative, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is designed to support the re-imagining of dance writing conventions in order to better respond to and engage with a wider range of ever-evolving contemporary forms in dance and performance. Evans, a dance maker herself, is the Editor-in-Chief of Movement Research’s Performance Journal, a printed forum created for and by artists that engages current issues of dance and performance.

This residency is funded, in part, by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Darkness Odyssey Part 2: I or Hallucination will premiere at the Baryshnikov Arts Center on December 13-15, 2017

  • Assistant to choreographer Mina Nishimura and performer Raja Kelly in rehearsal with Kota Yamazaki
  • Nishimura and Kelly
  • Choreographer Kota Yamazaki rehearses with dancers
  • Yamazaki and Nishimura meet with Lynda Jones, CVRT
  • Yamazaki and Nishimura meet with Professor of English Dr. Stanley Gontarski
  • Yamazaki rehearses with Kelly while composer Kenta Nagai watches on
  • Mina Nishimura
  • Nishimura and performer Joanna Kotze
  • Nishimura and Kelly
  • Moriah Evans observes in the studio as a part of MANCC’s Embedded Writers Initiative
  • Nagai and lighting designer  Thomas Dunn watch rehearsal in the Black Box
  • Yamazaki's performers rehearse in the Black Box
  • Performers dancing during work-in-progress showing
  • Joanna Kotze, Mina Nishimura and Julian Barnett rehearse with Kota Yamazaki
  • Nishimura
  • Kotze, Raja Kelly and Nishimura
  • Barnett and Kotze
  • Nishimura
  • Kotze
  • Raja Kelly
  • Nishimura
  • Nishimura and Kelly
  • Rehearsal for <em>Darkness Odyssey Part 2</em>
  • Rehearsal for <em>Darkness Odyssey Part 2</em>
  • Rehearsal for <em>Darkness Odyssey Part 2</em>
  • Rehearsal for <em>Darkness Odyssey Part 2</em>
Collaborators in Residence: Kota Yamazaki [Choreographer], Mina Nishimura [Assistant to Choreographer/ Performer], Raja Kelly [Performer], Julian Barnett [Performer], Joanna Kotze [Performer], Kenta Nagai [Composer], Thomas Dunn [Lighting Designer] and Moriah Evans [Writer]

World Premiere

Kathy Westwater

Rambler, Worlds
Worlds A Part

Feb 14 - 16
NY Live Arts (NYC)


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