By Tara Sheena of Dance Informa.
Chihiro Shimizu started her New York based company, Chihiro Shimizu and Artists, two years ago to support her work in its many facets. Aside from showcasing her choreography, Shimizu is interested in offering opportunities for others to engage and benefit from various services.
The company strives to engage a larger community by offering chances for other artists to collaborate through shared performance events; offering to come and film others’ work free of charge; and even allowing audience members to submit artistic feedback through an online form.
In her interview with Dance Informa, Shimizu talks about early influences, her interest in broadening her audience, and the next steps for her ever-evolving company.
What originally drew you to choreography? Do you have any early influences you can recall?
“Ever since I was a young dancer in Japan, I was always fascinated with choreography. I was drawn to dances with complex structures and intricate music, like Petipa’s ballets with music by Pugni and Tchaikovsky. When I went to Spain to work with Amaury Lebrun, I was exposed to thought-provoking abstract dances that offered their audience more opportunities to use their imaginations. I wanted to create my own work and have my own process that balanced both the concrete technique and abstract concepts that I’d grown to love. My fascination wasn’t with the end product, but with creating a process to expose everyday life through movement.”
How would you describe your aesthetic and style to someone who has never seen your work?
“My work explores the human condition, often in regard to mortality and our desire to connect with other human beings. I often visualize our works as film, as we flash between different scenes. Each dancer has their unique voice and movement quality, which creates a conversation between the dancers as movers, but as humans, too. The dancers may move slowly, in a meditative way, and then snap to the present in order to reveal themselves.”
What is the biggest challenge for emerging choreographers in NYC right now? What are the strategies you’ve employed to navigate that challenge?
“One of my many goals is to bring my choreographic work outside of the dance world. It is a challenge to create work not just for dancers to enjoy, but for other audiences as well. My dancers and I collaborate with artists of other mediums to introduce dance to audiences that otherwise might not be exposed to it.”
What are the next steps for you and your company? Any upcoming performances, residencies, etc., we should know about?
“We have an ongoing residency at Mana Contemporary with Armitage Gone! Dance in Jersey City, NJ. We are in the process of launching several new projects, like the installation project land of sand and a curatorial evening performance in September 2014.”
For more information on this budding company, visit www.chihiro-shimizu.com.
Photo (top): Chihiro Shimizu and Chuck Wilt of Chihiro Shimizu and Artists perform the piece one hundred lies to tell you the truth, choreographed by Shimizu. Photo by Steven Schreiber.