Carleton’s Japanese Arts Festival Brings World-Renowned Modern Dancer to Campus for Artistic Residency

Eiko Otake


As part of Carleton College’s Visualizing Japanese Theater, an interdisciplinary celebration of Japanese traditions in visual art, drama and dance, world- renowned modern dancer Eiko Otake will spend five-day residency on campus from January 24 to 29. Otake is one-half of the acclaimed dance duo Eiko & Koma, recently featured at Minneapolis’ Walker Art Center. The duo’s unique style of meditative movement draws from the stylized tradition of Japanese Noh theater, as well as a post-World War II style of Japanese dance called Butoh. The dancer’s movements are meant to be highly visual, poetic, emotion eliciting, and sensual.


While at Carleton, Otake will work closely with the College’s Semaphore Repertory Dance Ensemble, providing the students with a rare opportunity to learn from and collaborate with a professional dancer of such high caliber and renown. Otake will also lead an open dance workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 25 from 7 to 9 p.m. in the Cowling Dance Studio. Entitled “Delicious Movement Workshop,” this event is free and open to the public.


Eiko & Koma’s unparalleled theater of movement has been presented onstage, in museums, universities, and festivals worldwide, including several appearances in the American Dance Festival. Their avant-garde style of dance is linked to the highly ritualized movement of Noh, combined with modern dance from the German Expressionist Movement. Both the choreography and stagecraft draw on stillness, shape, light and sound in an effort to subvert and transcend everyday notions of time and space.

Since they met in Tokyo in 1971, Eiko & Koma have become two of the most venerated artists in the dance world. Their experimental signature style earned them the title of MacArthur Fellows in 1996 and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellows in 1984.  They were awarded one of the first “Bessies,” the New York Dance and Performance Awards, in 1984 for their works Grain and Night Tide, and were honored again in 1990 for Passage. In 2004, Eiko & Koma received the Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award for lifetime achievement in modern dance. Recently, Eiko & Koma have created two “living” gallery installations: Breath, commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1998, and Naked, commissioned by the Walker Art Center in 2010.

Visualizing Japanese Theater is sponsored by VIZ (Visualizing the Liberal Arts, a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). For more information and a complete listing of events, visit online at The Cowling Dance Studio is located off Maple Street on the Carleton College campus.