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January/February 2018

Dance Central A Dance Centre Publication

Commitments Lineages A conversation with Colleen Lanki Page 2

Managing Mindsets A conversation with Heidi Quicke Page 8

Welcome to Dance Central

Welcome to the January/February 2018 issue of Dance Central, which features a conversation with Colleen Lanki, artistic director of TomoeArts and currently artist in residence with The Dance Centre. Lanki is in the process of recreating a dance piece by her former teacher, and speaks of the challenges and the experience of learning and performing a classical style of dance outside her own ethnicity. The second feature of this issue is a conversation with Production Manager Heidi Quicke, whose work encompasses collaborating with dancers and performing artists across disciplines and across the spectrum of activities that make presenting, rehearsing and touring dance possible. She describes the relationship between production management, tour management and stage management. As always, we thank all the artists who have agreed to contribute and we welcome new writing and

Lineages A conversation with Colleen Lanki

"Any 'classical' theatre tradition— Shakespeare, the Greeks, kabuki, noh, kathakali — is all male. It is given credibility as 'classic' because male critics and scholars have made it so. Kabuki was in fact created by a woman."

project ideas at any time, in order to continue to make Dance Central a more vital link to the community. Please send material by e-mail to or call us at 604.606.6416. We continue to look forward to the conversation! Andreas Kahre, Editor 2

Dance Central Januar y/Februar y 2018

Front Cover: Fujima Sayū (Colleen Lanki) performing "Matsu no Hagoromo (The Feathered Robe on the Pine)." Vancouver, May 12, 2012. Photo: Trevan Wong Fujima Yūko with Nakamura Ganjirō II, dancing her choreography "Yoru no Ume (Night Plum)" at the Shimbashi Embujō, Tokyo. October 30, 1975.

AK: You are currently an artist in residence with The Dance Centre. What does that entail for you? CL: It is such a gift. It means that I am really busy! I get studio space, which is a luxury, and time to reconstruct a twenty-minute dance choreographed by my first teacher, Fujima Yūko, from a video I have. I am trying to do this on my own. My Japanese colleagues think it is going to be impossible to do, but I am trying anyway. AK: In contemporary dance it is not uncommon to reconstruct a work from video. How is it different with this form? CL: In this tradition, you learn dances from another human being – usually your teacher. She choreographed this in the 1980s, and she only performed it twice so it is a contemporary — in the sense of recent — work. In the traditional lineage that Yūkosensei belonged to, you learn from one teacher, who will pass down choreography from the professional repertoire. They may or may not have known the choreographers personally, and they may perform the works a little differently than other people in the same school, but they pass on the ones they like or know well at various levels of difficulty as you grow with them, and when they die, their senior student or someone they have primed will take over their 'gei' - their art - and start teaching. Sometimes a choreography will only be done a few times, and they will never teach it to anyone else. This is especially the case with an original or new choreography. AK: What is your position relative to that lineage? CL: Yūko-sensei's successor died, suddenly and unexpectedly, in the late 90s. He was a good twenty years younger than she was. He was her teacher's grandson, and like her artistic brother. It totally threw her off because she now had no successor and no time to train another one, so her lineage is gone in a way, and there is no one to take it on. To really get to that level, you have to start when you are a child, and you have to go through two levels of ‘natori’ or 'name taking’ – a kind of 'degree'. At the first level you‘re given a name, which makes you a professional dancer, and then you

Dance Central Januar y/Februar y 2018


Lineages A conversation with Colleen Lanki

elaborate costumes. It can be like a chamber concert compared to a symphony, or artsong compared to opera. There are many aspects to nihon buyoh. As for our audiences, we get a lot of people who love Japanese

take a second level which involves an exam from the head of the

arts and culture and academics, and when we bring in

school and that would make you an official registered teacher so

master dancers from Japan, the Japanese community

you can then pass on names to other people. I don't have that

comes out in force. But I really want to bring in other

second level, and I don't think I ever will; it is a hugely difficult

audiences, and reach out to the professional arts com-

undertaking that comes with a lot of responsibility. I am a

munity in Vancouver because nihon buyoh is such a

professional dancer and I can teach here because no one else

beautiful, interesting and theatrical form.

is teaching in the Fujima tradition. I am keeping up my own practice, and sharing what I know, and I am not pretending to be

AK: I hear something similar from dancers in other

anything else.

dance forms, like Rosario Ancer in flamenco, or Sujit Vaidya in bharatanatyam, who say that they are not

AK: Is there a community of Japanese audiences, dancers and

being ignored but they are not being sought out by the

choreographers in Vancouver?

community, that it isn't as active an exchange as they would like.

CL: There are a number of wonderful teachers here, of different schools or traditions, each with its own history and lineage and

CL: Yes, I too would like it to be more active. I am not

choreographies, who have been working for a long time. Each

sure if people think it is not for them because they are

school or tradition may use the same music, but the dances will

afraid they will not understand it, or perhaps they feel

be somewhat, or radically different, depending on where they

like they will never be able to work in this form, so can’t

came from. The teachers I know in the Lower Mainland only

connect. I don’t know.

teach shin buyoh, which means ‘new buyoh.' It uses more contemporary music, the dances are shorter and not as com-

AK: In music of course it was — and to some extent

plicated and the rules and structures are not as strict. The cos-

still is — a similar situation; flamenco guitarists don't

tumes are also easier to rent or buy, so there are many reasons

find scores of jazz players in their audience, but over

why someone would teach shin-buyoh here, especially in

the past forty years a strong interest in multicultural

diaspora, because you can't get anything here: live musicians,

exchange has developed, and created a sustained,

kimono, wigs...

and even commercially viable culture of 'world music'. Dance has yet to develop that, I think.

AK: Is your audience predominantly Japanese? CL: Working with live musicians is an interesting exCL: For the other companies it is predominantly Japanese, and

ample of cross-cultural potential. For example, recently

they also do a lot of community outreach at community festivals

we worked with composer Lan Tung on a new dance/

and the Nikkei Centre. What I teach is not shin buyoh at all but

theatre creation called Weaver Woman, a beautiful

‘koten buyoh’ or 'classical buyoh’. These dances take a long time

piece of theatrical dance that I co-created with Lan,

to learn. When I moved back to Vancouver, I set up my com-

Matthew Romantini and Maki Yi. The movement is

pany, TomoeArts, because of who I am: a trained theatre artist, a

buyoh-esque, like Japanese classical dance, and

Canadian, a grandchild of settlers, and a Vancouverite. I wanted

character-driven. The work is based on a contempo-

to bring in different communities to see Japanese classical dance,

rary Korean short story, with text spoken by actress

because nobody had an idea of what it was. If I said “kabuki,”

Maki Yi. Lan composed the music for herself, cellist

people might have a picture in their head, but not if I said “nihon

Peggy Lee and percussionist Jonathan Bernard. Many

buyoh” or “Japanese classical dance.” Nihon buyoh is in fact

composers and people from the music community

kabuki dance, but it doesn't always have wigs, make up or such

came to see the show, and they gave great feedback,


Dance Central January/February 2018

November 10, 1996. Fujima Yūko backstage in Kioi Hall, Tokyo, before a performance of "Dōjōji Michiyuki (The Travel Song of Dōjōji)." Fixing her headpiece is Abiko Yasuko (known as "Boss") - her longtime dance colleague and costumer. photo: Fujiwara Atsuko.

Dance Central Januar y/Februar y 2018


Dance Central The Dance Centre Scotiabank Dance Centre Level 6, 677 Davie Street Vancouver BC V6B 2G6 T 604.606.6400 F 604.606.6401 Dance Central is published every two months by The Dance Centre for its members and for the dance community. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent Dance Central or The Dance Centre. The editor reserves the right to edit for clarity or length, or to meet house requirements. Editor, Art Director & Layout Andreas Kahre Copy Editor Hilary Maxwell Contributors to this issue: Colleen Lanki, Heidi Quicke Photography: Trevan Wong. Fujiwara Atsuko. Dance Centre Board Members Chair Ingrid M. Tsui Vice Chair Josh Martin Secretary Sheila G. Evani Treasurer Annelie Vistica Directors Carolyn Chan Eve Chang Jai Govinda Anndraya T. Luui Jessica McMann Layla Casper Dance Foundation Board Members Chair Linda Blankstein Secretary Anndraya T. Luui Treasurer Samantha Luo Directors Trent Berry, Sasha Morales, Janice Wells, Andrea R. Benzel Dance Centre Staff: Executive Director Mirna Zagar Programming Coordinator Raquel Alvaro Marketing Manager Heather Bray Digital Marketing Coordinator Katrina Nguyen Venue and Services Administrator Robin Naiman Development Director Sheri Urquhart Lead Technician Chengyan Boon Accountant Elyn Dobbs Member Services and Outreach Coordinator Hilary Maxwell

Lineages A conversation with Colleen Lanki but not many members of the dance community came out. And I wonder; is that because I need to be connected more, or is there a question of acceptance of aural work but not embodied work, of working or witnessing forms that are outside your box. Is it an issue of embodiment? Or is it something about being so busy in your own form that you can't see a connection to other kinds of work? AK: I imagine there is also the question of 'Asian–ness', which of course continues to be a problematic definition. In the Vancouver visual art world, for example, it came to a head around the creation of Centre A, when Hank Bull was challenged by a group of Asian-identified artists on a complex mix of issues related to cultural hegemony, colonization, and appropriation. CL: Yes, and of course there are questions about culture, race, appropriation and embodiment. There is a huge history in the performing arts of appropriation and the issue is serious. Some inter or trans-cultural work is dreadfully exploitative, while some of it is really stunning, gorgeous theatre done with integration, integrity and coming from years of study, The notion of embodiment is a real challenge. In music you experience the sound first and judge the 'art' before the performer. In dance, the first (and sometimes only) thing that is judged is the body of the dancer, because that is what one experiences first – even before a movement is made. There are many people performing arts outside their own ethnicity, and they will have trained for years; in many disciplines you need two decades of training to even get on a stage. For myself, I was accepted into the art in Japan by a master teacher who had trained for over fifty years. She had a dream of internationalizing her art form – nihon buyoh - and she took me in. Nihon

The Dance Centre is BC's primary resource centre for the dance profession and the public. The activities of The Dance Centre are made possible bynumerous individuals. Many thanks to our members, volunteers, community peers, board of directors and the public for your ongoing commitment to dance in BC. Your suggestions and feedback are always welcome. The operations of The Dance Centre are supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia, the BC Arts Council, and the City of Vancouver through the Office of Cultural Affairs.

buyoh is a commercial dance form, the same way ballet is: You pay to take lessons, and if a teacher wants you they will take you, and if not they won't. There were many teachers who would never take someone like me‚ because of my cultural identity. But with Yūko-sensei, I was fully accepted, and the people I trained with are like my sisters. I love these women and I loved her. I worked really hard and she gave me a name and I will forever be grateful for that. What I am doing with this company is to try to


Dance Central Januar y/Februar y 2018

maintain my own practice. I cannot be Yūko-sensei's successor; I trained with her for twelve years, and that's not enough — you need to train for thirty or forty years for that— but what I can do is promote her work as an artist, and make it more international. That's what I am doing with this residency and this performance, and with a photo exhibit of her work I am putting up. Thanks to the Canada Council and BC Arts Council I received research money three years ago to poke around in her cardboard boxes of stuff that was tossed out, and I found a ton of notes and videos of half a dozen original choreographies I didn't know existed. I can't make the videos public, but I will put some of it on memory sticks and give them to all of my colleagues in Japan who have earned the right to have them, and if some of the pieces live again, as I hope they will, that will be a success. In this upcoming performance at Scotiabank Dance Centre, we are performing two of her choreographies, one of which is a really beautiful piece that I have taken the incredibly unorthodox step of asking my current teacher to learn from the video, and which he has agreed to do. He is not her successor, but her sort of artistic-secondcousin-twice-removed; when her successor passed away she went scouting for teachers for her other students and he accepted me. I am sure he will adapt it, which is totally okay, and it will be fantastic. Even if a piece is passed down through the lineage, there will always be some adjustment. I can't expect him to absorb her movement styling but he can take the choreography and make it his own, and I am really hoping he will love it and perform it and pass it on, so that her choreography may continue to live somewhere. AK: You are also an academic, which I imagine presents both an opportunity and a challenge vis-a-vis your practice, and you are a UBC 'public scholar'. What does that mean? CL: The curious thing is that my scholarship is predominantly in theatre. I am a trained theatre artist; I started as a dancer but then I went into theatre, and I recently realized that I never really separated the two, except in places like my theatre degree program in Toronto where it was demanded of me. So I am actually doing my doctorate in theatre, but the problem is that something in me refuses to stay in one discipline. As a public scholar I am doing research on an avant– garde playwright and director, a woman named Kishida Rio continued on page 14

"Even if a piece is passed

down through the lineage,

there will always be some adjustment. I can't expect him to absorb her movement styling but he can take the choreography and make it his own, and I am really hoping he will love it and perform it and pass it on, so that her choreography may continue

to live

somewhere." Dance Central Januar y/Februar y 2018


Managing Mindsets


Dance Central January/February 2018

Designing Dance A conversation with Heidi Quicke

write out a schedule and email it to them. I started coming to dance from a show-calling stage management point of view, and the more I travelled and toured, and as my experience grew, I began to take ownership of other areas which led me to production management. I got my first

AK: You have worked with a number of dance and theatre companies, including Kidd Pivot, Joe Ink and the response., and you describe yourself as Production Manager, Tour Manager and Stage Manager. How do you divide your brain between these roles? HQ: I am happy to be in all those roles, and I find that, especially in dance, they all blend together. I started out in production work in theatre and musical theatre where the rules are more rigid, and the relationships are more hierarchical — partly because of the scale; when you are working on a large musical everyone has to specialize because there is so much going on. Theatre budgets tend to be larger, while in contemporary dance, usually you work with a small team, and a small budget, so if dance companies have any money, the first position they hire is the lighting director/technical director, and if they have more they'll add a stage manager or production manager. I find dance more collaborative and because of the budget constraints there are often additional tasks included in my role as a stage or production manager. The titles don't always mean that much, and their meaning shifts depending on the company. In 2015, I was on tour with a contemporary dance company, with a friend who was the lighting director/technical director and I was doing what, in conversation, he called 'Heidi-things', which meant I was managing the stage, taking care of costumes and laundry, liaising with the festival we were a part of, looking after the travel arrangements and making sure everyone got to where they needed to be. From his perspective my role didn't really exist prior to me creating it, and my unique background, skillset and demeanor allowed me to be successful in creating these blended roles. AK: How do you adapt to working in dance, compared to theatre or corporate work, and how did you develop your 'blended' role? HQ: Many people in the dance industry don't even realize that this blended role exists in other performing arts industries, and most dance companies and choreographers are used to going it alone, and are delighted when I can do things like

contract as a tour manager because I was going on tour as the stage manager. The tour manager I was supposed to receive the tour book from dropped the ball for some reason and had done nothing but book flights and hotels. There was no information on ground transportation, restaurants, or schedules. We were going to leave in three days, the company was in dire need and while we were in residency at Banff I spent a week booking the rest of the tour. It worked, and when the next tour came around the company asked me to do that job again. I really love show-calling, being in the space and doing the live component but I also have an innate aptitude for organization; I love thinking ahead and analyzing what the next three steps are and how we can anticipate what will happen and make it smooth for everyone. AK: Your background is that of a performer? HQ: I grew up in an arts family. My mom was a professional musician and music teacher, so I started music at age three and sang with her on stage when I was four. I started ballet class when I was six, and theatre performance around the same age, so I grew up very much in the arts world, and I really enjoyed it, but around the time I was in high school I decided I didn't see myself having a long-term career as a ballerina and I needed to choose whether to do only that or all the other things I was interested in. I wanted to try full-day high school instead of the half–day high school, half–day dance program I was doing at Arts Umbrella. I wanted to try the drama program, student council, sports, which I did, and at the same time I started working backstage. People saw me as organized and so I eventually fell into stage management. I feel that having a background in performance and live events really helps me to anticipate common challenges, to adapt between disciplines — I work in dance and theatre and music and special events, and a little bit of opera. I have musical training that includes performing solo and with an orchestra, I trained and performed in ballet, I taught dance for a little while, and have been on stage as an actor; even if these are not things I would like to do as a Dance Central Januar y/Februar y 2018


Designing Dance A conversation with Heidi Quicke

AK: Many of the artists you have worked with are highly organized people themselves — Crystal Pite or Joe Laughlin, for example — but not all artists are. Do you look for people who are inherently organized, or do you care whether they are chaotic?

career, that background helps me connect with and support the artists I work with. AK: Production management in industries like film is usually completely removed from the performance spaces. When you chose stage management you also chose to stay 'in the room'. What made you decide to do that? HQ: That's an interesting question. I don't think I made a conscious choice about that when I decided to do stage management, but I do love being in the room, and organizing the stage. I particularly enjoy the beginnings of rehearsals. Multiple week rehearsals, especially in theatre, can get tedious, and that's why I love to tour; you get a chance to do something fresh in every city, and I love the constant process of adapting and learning. I also love the creative part of rehearsal. In the last few years, I have made a choice to do a mix of production and stage management, because I don't ever want to be completely outside of the rehearsal and performance spaces. After my first production management job I got a call because another production manager had a personal crisis, and I was asked to help, so I jumped in and got the show on its feet in three weeks. It was a new play, with a cast of twelve, and nothing had been done yet, so I worked a crazy three weeks, for 80100 hours a week. We got it done, and then I slept for two days. The company asked me to do a season, and I began to understand some of the systems required to manage the space and the long-term thinking. At that time I went to the Production Managing the Arts Conference in Toronto, and got a lot of tools for scheduling and budgeting. There is a joke going around that I was born with a clipboard and a checklist, but in my life I have always been organized. I enjoy booking things in my calendar and color-coding them, and I love pouring that into my work life now, and keeping my personal life a little more relaxed.


Dance Central January/February 2018

HQ: I don't look for organization. What I look for in the artists or companies I collaborate with is that they want to work with someone, because if they don't want or need help, or realize that they could benefit from the support of a production manager we won't have a foundation to work together. I don't want to waste energy on convincing people that they need it, so the first thing I look for is someone who wants to work with a production manager. For example, Amber Funk Barton, whose solo show I just worked on, was very wise in realizing that she couldn't do it all by herself, so she surrounded herself with a team of technicians, designers, a stage manager, and apprentices, so she could take off her artistic director hat and focus on being a performer. It's a similar relationship with Joe Laughlin. I am the production manager for Joe Ink, and Joe is preparing a solo show based on four commissions this fall. He has choreographers, rehearsal directors and me, because he has to focus on being a dancer. Most of the artists I work with have at some point managed their schedules, budgets, and done the booking, so they know what is involved and our partnership allows them to focus on what they need to be doing best. AK: Unlike production managers, stage managers are, at least in recent years, acknowleged as artists, and as part of the artistic team. Do you think of your roles as separate in that sense? HQ: I haven't thought about it in those terms, but I think of them as different disciplines. Of course, when I am hired as a stage manager, I can't just switch off my production management brain, and when I am production managing I will have conversations with the stage manager, not to take on their job but to help them do it more efficiently. Stage management, especially when you are calling a show, is a lot more artistic because you are performing with the performer and trying to maintain the vision of the designers, but you have to have

an understanding of that quality in the production management seat. It's not as dry as 'who shows up at what time, and when will the truck get there?' because it is all supporting the vision. I like to say that I work with professional artists to bring the picture that is in their mind to the stage. As a production manager, that might mean buying a box of fake snow and getting a snowdrop built, so you can have that moment where someone is looking up and snow is dropping. It necessarily involves a real understanding of artistic practice, but it's not as direct of an artistic expression as stage managing. AK: You also teach. How do you approach that? HQ: I haven't taught production management specifically, because I think you need to have an understanding of how live performance works, and maybe a few years experience in other disciplines before you can move into production management. That is one of the reasons people don't just pop out of university and go directly into production management. Mostly, I teach an introduction to stage management, stage craft and theatre technical skills. I started that as soon as I went to college; I went back to the high school I had attended to teach stage craft because I had enjoyed learning it from people who had themselves come back as soon as they started working in the industry. They proved to me that it was a viable career path, and I want to pass that on. For example, last week, I was teaching at New West Secondary school in musical theatre, as a mentor stage manager and stage craft instructor. I also do workshops, mostly at high schools and guest lectures at colleges, and I am setting up a few workshops on tips for freelancers, related to invoicing and contracts. I am also preparing to collaborate with Marissa Wong and Sarah Formosa on a workshop for dancers on how to communicate your technical needs when you come to a venue or a festival. AK: The way shows are called, rehearsals are stuctured, and disciplines interrelate is in no small measure a function of what technology is available. One element we are seeing more and more of are interactive systems that allow performers to trigger their own

"There is a joke going around that I was born with a clipboard and a checklist, but I have just always been organized." Dance Central November/December 2017


Designing Dance A conversation with Heidi Quicke

then we would meditate together before every show. I don't

cues, by gesture mapping and tracking sensor data. In

AK: Do you have an idea of what you would like the technol-

twenty years, 'calling a show' may have disappeared, or

ogy to be able to do as it develops in the next ten, fifteen

changed profoundly as an activity. Are you seeing signs


think the need for that is ever going away, no matter what the technology does.

of this in your professional life? HQ: I always love hearing about what people who are pushHQ: Yes, I remember watching a theatre masters de-

ing the edges are doing, and I ask, and then they talk really

fense show at UBC, where the costumes had pressure

fast in words I haven't learned yet, and we slow it down so

sensors built into them, which changed the video and

that I can figure out how it actually works. I am really inter-

lighting states, within some constraint that had been

ested in promenade-style theatre, site-specific theatre and

set up in Isadora software. I see the increasing inte-

how theatre performance is translated into public spaces,

gration between Q-Lab and lighting consoles, which

and I am really curious how technology might be used for

opens the doors to shows that require less crew, and

example to trigger street lights as a performer moves along a

to more affordable touring. I have always worked and

road, and how a large physical area like a park or a university

trained concurrently as a theatre technician and stage

campus could be activated remotely to tell a story. I am a big

manager; for example in high school I was the lighting

fan of backup computers and redundancies, so I would love

tech, sound tech, working on rentals on the weekend at

to have backup show files running for everything and when

the theatre, and I was also stage managing, and dur-

one computer dies it could automatically switch to another

ing my first few years as stage management apprentice

one but that 's not very glamorous — just practical.

I was also doing lighting calls and pushing road cases at Rock'n Roll shows. That serves me very well as the

AK: I create sited installations and performances in public

technology integrates and especially with touring. Am I

spaces, and that is exactly the kind of problem we are trying

a specialist in programming a lighting console? No! But

to address, because inevitably something will go wrong. Inte-

can I program one? Yes! Am I specialist in audio mix-

grating technology and nature in performance is challenging...

ing? No! But I can make sound happen for a small band? Yes! Having that base is really important as a production

HQ: The nature of live performance is just that it is a moment

manager, because it helps ask the right questions, and

where we can't say 'cut' and reset and that's where even

to be able to assess bullshit. So if I am told a call will

things like wireless DMX to control lighting are becoming a

require four people for six hours, I can tell if it will actu-

lot more reliable and affordable, but it is still not as reliable as

ally take eight people eight hours. Having that techni-

plugging something in physically, and that's what we need

cal basis is really important, and I don't think that the

in theatre: redundancy and reliability in performing the same

technological advancements are going to remove the

function over and over again, and that's where theatre is very

need to have people around. For one thing, if something

different from any other industry.

goes wrong in live theatre, the computers won't be able to fix it themselves, and even if everything is cued by

AK: Speaking of the future of the industry: What we currently

the performer, there is still the element of one-on-one

think of as a 'tour' often means putting eight people and their

human support. That is an important part of the work

gear on an airplane and flying across the country or across

I do, especially in solo shows. I usually spend twenty

the globe. I can imagine a time when the considerable car-

or thirty minutes before each show with the performer.

bon footprint of that mode is going to become perceived as

In one instance, I stage managed a one-woman show

problematic and what that will mean for touring. Do you hear

with some pretty heavy content and part of my preshow

people talking about that?

checklist was chatting, sharing jokes with the artist, and


Dance Central January/February 2018

HQ: I tour quite a bit; I have spent more than half of the last six years touring with contemporary dance and theatre all around North America, every Canadian province, and about half of the US, the UK, Germany, Panama, Taiwan. But when I am at home, at least I try to live in a way that has as little impact on the earth as I can. I don't own a car, I car-share, I bike and take public transit, I look for local groceries, but then I go travelling. In 2014, I was on tour with Kidd Pivot with Tempest Replica and at the time Eric Beauchesne and others set up a partnership with carbon offsetters to reduce our footprint. We were taking small steps on the road: carrying refillable water bottles, tupperware containers for food, and then carbon offsets were purchased for the tour, looking to create a carbon neutral tour, but of course most dance companies have just enough money to make touring possible, but not to make it carbon neutral. I have heard anecdotes about a band that toured Cascadia by bicycle, and they made a choice to book the dates far enough apart to travel that way, but unfortunately the current model of touring is not viable that way. You pack as many shows as you can into a certain timeframe, and if you have a day off you are losing money. The way we tour now is extremely luxurious, and I feel very privileged to work alongside artists telling powerful and essential stories, which is an essential part of our story, but I realize what a privilege and gift it has been to travel and see places I would not have seen otherwise. That is why I feel a responsibility to pass along what I have seen, which is also why I like teaching. AK: Do you have a sense of what comes next? HQ: For myself, I have a sense of the end of the calendar year; this spring I am on tour with a children's theatre show around BC, and then the Vancouver International Children's Festival. In the summer, I will be working on Dancing on the Edge, and then I will go sailing, and then in the fall, I will be stage managing the remount of Am A, a theatre dance piece by Amber Funk Barton and Mindy Parfitt, and then a solo show with Joe Ink, and after that it's back to nutcracker season. Beyond that, I am not sure what the future holds. I am enjoying the mix of stage management and production management and touring, and I am looking to bring more training opportunities to Vancouver and to help make it a more sustainable industry, so that people don't burn out and stay in the industry. AK: Thank you!

"Stage management, especially when you are calling a show, is a lot more artistic because you are performing with the performer and trying to maintain the vision of the designers, but you have to have an understanding of that quality in the production management seat. It's not as dry as 'who shows up at what time, and when will the truck get there?' because it is all supporting the vision..." Dance Central January/February 2018


Lineages A conversation with Colleen Lanki continued from page 7

world, and many don’t get done outside their immediate geographic location and I think that is really too bad. At the time that bio was written I was interested in having a reading series of these plays. My introduc-

who passed away very young, in her fifties. She was the only

tion to this work comes out of my experience in Japan

woman playwright in that avant-garde period in Japan in the

and my academic background at the University of Ha-

seventies. I am working with some of her female performers,

waii where I did my MFA. We were taught by special-

and my public scholarship is actually in Japan where I will be

ists in Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese theatre, and

performing with these women, doing a staged reading this

they introduced us to things we would not otherwise

summer. Kishida was also interested in internationalization,

see or experience in North America. For example, to

she was working in Korea, Australia and Singapore, and was

study Chinese opera for a year, to be trained by three

interested in multilingual work. There are so many interesting

master artists from China and to perform the work was

aspects to this work that I am having a hard time containing my

inspiring. These people are singers, actors, acrobats

scholarship to fit into the frame of a dissertation.

— and they have no qualms about teaching their art, because they want more people to get involved in and

AK: Thinking of femininity and feminism in Asian cultures

appreciate the form.

brings up many aspects of the role of women in the arts as an environment dominated by men. Is this problematized in the

AK: How did you find your way into Japanese dance in

context of Japanese theatre or dance?

the first place?

CL: That's a massive complex of questions. Any 'classical' the-

CL: I was always interested in the Japanese aesthetic,

atre tradition— Shakespeare, the Greeks, kabuki, noh, kathakali

and I was introduced to noh theatre as an undergrad.

— is all male. It is given credibility as 'classic' because male

There was very little access to it, but it was fascinat-

critics and scholars have made it so. Kabuki was in fact created

ing to me because the sense of time and space was

by a woman, and while the professional kabuki theatre is still

radically different, and what was considered beautiful

officially all male, there was a time in the 19th century when

was ineffably gorgeous to me, although then I didn't

there was an attempt to break that, spearheaded by one of the

know why. I was so fascinated that I wanted to see it

leading male actors seeking to bring realism into kabuki. An ar-

live and at a certain point in my life trajectory it seemed

gument I would make is that the geisha—all women— were and

the right thing to move to Japan to teach English, like

still are performing kabuki, playing all the roles, including some

so many people do, and to experience and see theatre

rough male characters. The counter-argument from some

I couldn't see live in Canada. I stayed there for seven

scholars is that they are doing 'dance' and not the 'theatre' of

years, which wasn't what I had intended. I saw incred-

kabuki. In the nihon buyoh world, there are many women run-

ible theatre from all over the world, because Tokyo is

ning the schools, and Yūko-sensei came from a strong lineage

such a mecca — I mean I got to see people like Pina

of female teachers and the geisha world. In theatre it a very

Bausch perform, in person. It was a fabulous experi-

hard to get the canon of plays re-examined. Once someone

ence and I got a chance to see how the work and the

is in the anthologies it is very hard to get them out or to make

attitude towards the work is different. I learned so

additions. That is one of the reasons I am doing this doctor-


ate – to get Kishida Rio into that canon. So I guess one of my purposes overall is to promote female artistic voices.

AK: What brought you back to Vancouver?

AK: SFU's website describes you as directing 'contemporary

CL: My father needed care, and then Yūko-sensei died,

Asian' scripts. What does that mean to you?

and that provided the push to move back here.

CL: It means that I am interested in contemporary plays from

AK: Given all the arguments around appropriation, how

Asia in translation. There are so many fabulous plays in the

do you experience your connection to the form?


Dance Central January/February 2018

"If I said 'kabuki', people might have a picture in their head, but not if I said 'nihon buyoh' or 'Japanese classical dance.' Nihon buyoh is in fact kabuki dance, but it doesn't always have wigs, make up or such elaborate costumes. It can be like a chamber concert compared to a symphony, or artsong compared to opera." Fujima Minako performing in Fujima Yōko’s choreography "Sasameyuki - Matsu no Dan." National Theatre-Small Hall, Tokyo. 1984.

Dance Central January/February 2018



Dance Central January/February 2018

Lineagess A conversation with Colleen Lanki CL: It is weird being in the position of practicing an art form that is considered Japanese, especially one that compared to, for example, bharatanatyam, hasn't become truly international. I own my name, Fujima Sayū, and I own my lineage, but I can't erase who I am: of Northern European heritage, and born and raised in Vancouver, Canada. What does that make me? Sometimes, I honestly don’t know. The important point is that I want to promote this dance form because I care deeply about my artistic lineage, about the art form and what it contains. It inspires me. AK: Where do find yourself placed now in the dance community? Do you feel accepted? CL: My acceptance in the community is great, and I am very grateful to The Dance Centre for the residency, and to be able to do this for Yūko-sensei and myself. It is a gift and I feel privileged to be here. AK: When will the final performance be? CL: It will take place May 12th. My teacher Fujima Shōgo will also be giving a workshop that day. It's a two-hour class, and it will be a great opportunity to see how this dance form works. There is also a free lecture-demo on the Friday evening that will teach people a little bit about the lineage and Yūko-sensei's work, and what it means to train in this form, and there will be a photo display. It would be really nice if people who have never seen nihon buyoh gained a small appreciation of what that form is, and what makes this dance so extraordinary. There is so much out there in the world, and we need to see it and share it and elevate, and that's what I want to do. AK: Thank you!

Left: Fujima Sayū (Colleen Lanki) performing "Kane no Misaki (Cape of the Bell)." Tokyo. April 4, 2015. Photo: Fujiwara Atsuko.

"There are many people performing arts outside

their own ethnicity,

and they have trained for years; in many disciplines you need two

decades of training

to even get on a stage."

Back cover: Fujima Yūko at age 12 (c. 1942) dancing "Oshimu Haru. (Reluctant Spring)" Dance Central January/February 2018


Dance Central January/February 2018

Dance Central January / February 2018  

The Dance Centre Bi-Monthly Publication for Members and the Dance Community

Dance Central January / February 2018  

The Dance Centre Bi-Monthly Publication for Members and the Dance Community