Natsu Nakajima

Natsu Nakajima

Nationalität: Japan

Adresse: Tokyo - Japan

NatsuNakajima Natsu Nakajima (b. 1943 Sakhalin) has been one of the most prominent figures in butoh dance since its foundation in Tokyo in the 1960s, and one of its foremost pioneers abroad. Training under both Hijikata Tatsumi and Kazuo Ohno, Nakajima went on to establish her own dance company, Muteki-sha, in 1969, with whom she has been performing and choreographing internationally since the early 1980s. Her highly acclaimed performance of ‘Niwa’ at LIFT ‘83 (London) marked the beginning of this international touring career, and led to performances at festivals such as FIND (Montreal), the Nancy Festival, and the Sydney Biennale. In addition to her performance and choreographic work, Nakajima has over thirty years of experience as a teacher, and has been one of the forerunners of dance for the disabled in Japan.

Muteki-sha Selected Performance History: Choreographed and directed by Natsu Nakajima

Niwa (The Garden) Selected Performance History

1982    World Premiere, Mozart Salon, Tokyo
1983    LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre), England
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh, U.K.
The Tron Theatre, Glasgow, U.K.
1984    Israel Festival, Jerusalem, Israel
The Place Theatre, London, England
Nancy Festival, Nancy, France
1985    FIND (Festival International de Nouvelle Danse), Montreal, Canada
The Asia Society, New York, USA
1986    Los Angeles Olympics Arts Festival, Los Angeles, USA
Cervantino Festival, Guanajuato, Mexico
UNAM University, Mexico City, Mexico
The Asia Society, New York, USA

Nemuri to Tensei – Kara Chi Yori (Sleep and Reincarnation from an Empty Land)
Selected Performance History

1987    World Premiere, T2 Studio, Tokyo
1988    ICA, London, England
        Sydney Biennale, Sydney Opera House, Australia
        La Mama, New York, USA
1989   FIND (Festival International de Nouvelle Danse), Montreal, Canada

Natsu Nakajima Commissioned Choreography and Direction

1987    Ghost Stories, for Montreal Danse, Canada
1993    Towards Diane Arbus, for Randolph Street Gallery, USA
1994    The Sumida River, for Fujiwara Invention, Canada
2004    Komachi Story, for Lola Lince, Guanajuato, Mexico
2005    Lilith, for Lola Lince, Guanajuato, Mexico
2009    Tempest, for Department of the National Theater of Fine Arts in Mexico, Mexico
2010    Chasing the Shadow of Birds, for Isabel Betteta de Cou, Mexico
2012    The News, for CASA – Centro de las Artes de San Agustin Etla, Oaxaca, Mexico

Grants and Awards

1988-9    Fellowship from Asian Cultural Council to live and research in the United States
1989    Special Artist Praise from APAP in New York
1990    First Prize for Choreography of Ghost Stories at Canada Dance Festival

Selected Workshop History

Israel Festival (1984, Israel), California Institute of Arts (1985, U.S.A.), The Asia Society (1985, U.S.A.), University Southern California (1987, U.S.A.), UNAM University (1987, Mexico), International Congress Research in Dance (1988, U.S.A.), Concordia University (1988, Canada), Quebec University (1988, Canada), Kampo Culture Center (1988, U.S.A.), University of Veracruz (1989, Mexico), New York University (1989, U.S.A.), Suny, Brockport (1989, U.S.A.), Rhode Island School of Design (1989, U.S.A.), Brown University (1989, U.S.A.), La Mama (1989, U.S.A), Japan Festival in Wales (1991, U.K.), Laban Institute (1991, U.S.A), Kokoro Dance Company, Fujiwara Invention (1994, Canada), Danse Hus (1994, Denmark), LUME-universidade Estadual de Campinas (1995, Brazil), Teatro T-(1995, Mexico), International School of Anthropology (1996, Denmark), Fu Jen Catholic University – International Conference Religion & Ritual (1997, Taiwan), Sevilla (2000, Spain), Dance Umbrella in Toronto ( 2002, Canada), Dance Experimental in Guanajuato (2007, Mexico),Ballet Teatro Espacio in Mexico City (2007, Mexico), Dance Experimental in Guanajuato ( 2008, Mexico), Brushing Poppy in Chicago ( 2008, U.S.A), Vancouver International Festival ( 2009, Canada), Fujiwara Inventions in Toronto (2009, Canada), Mizu Project in Portland (2009, U.S.A), Guadalajala University (2009, Mexico), Ballet Teatro Espacio (2009, Mexico),Veracruz University, (2009, Mexico), Dance Association, Madrid (2010, Spain), Teatro TNT, Sevilla (2010, Spain), Los Tollers A.C., Mexico City (2011, Mexico), Butoh Ritual Mexicana, Guanajuato (2011, Mexico), Art Laboratorial La Rueca A.C. Cuernavaca (2011, Mexico), Magdalena Project, Guanajuato (2011, Mexico), Veracruz University (2011, Mexico), CASA, Oaxaca (2011, Mexico), MT Space, Waterloo (Canada, 2011), Water in the Desert, Portland (2011, U.S.A.), CASA, Oaxaca (2012, Mexico), CEPRODAC, Mexico City (2012, Mexico), Butoh Festival Strasbourg (France, 2012), Freibourg (Germany, 2012)

Over Thirty Years On (U.K. Tour)

Nakajima’s performance of Niwa (The Garden) at London International Festival of Theatre ’83 marked the beginning of her international career as a butoh dancer and choreographer. Having trained under both founders of butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, in the 1960s, and established her own company Muteki-sha in 1969, this performance in London was the first time her work had been shown outside Japan. It marked an important moment not only in Nakajima’s career, but also in the history of butoh, and in the international recognition of contemporary Japanese art more widely. Since then, Nakajima has choreographed and performed worldwide, at international festivals across Europe, the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and in such venues as La Mama (New York), and Sydney Opera House. Nakajima’s performances have been highly acclaimed by reviewers in the New York Times and the L.A. Times among others, and she has received prizes from APAP in New York and the Canada Dance Festival, as well as an Asian Cultural Council Fellowship, for her work. Since that first visit, over thirty years ago, Nakajima has returned to London to perform at such reputable venues as The Place and ICA. This tour of workshops, performances, and lecture/screenings, will both revisit her work over the last thirty years and consider the new direction it might take at this stage in her life.

Like Smoke, Like Ash (Performance)
A ‘New Life’ in Becoming Old

For Lizzie Slater*

The Japanese characters for ‘smoke’ (煙) and ‘ash’ (灰), both contain the character of ‘fire’ (火). It is as though they etymologically recall their material origin in fire, and visually indicate themselves as the next stage of transformation in the ‘life of fire.’ Hijikata would often tell his disciples to become ‘disappearing things, appearing things.’ ‘Disappearance,’ for him, meant more than simple self-erasure; it contained the element of something else. This structure of containment, with one thing harboring the possibility of another, might be termed a kind of ‘compound.’ Just like the ‘charcoal’ (火種) hidden in the embers of a dying fire. This is the way I learned to live and dance from Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno; it is the way I have danced my entire life. In the brief encounter of one night, a lasting message might be fleetingly passed from an old generation to a new, like the ‘life’ of a firework in the night. With this dance, I pray and pass a flower to those who have already gone.

* Lizzie Slater was a dear friend and early supporter of Nakajima’s work in the U.K. She worked with Nakajima for over 10 years in helping promote and encourage her work. This will be the first time Nakajima returns to the U.K. since Lizzie passed away in 2008, and the performance will be dedicated to the memory of Lizzie and the friendship they shared.
In Praise of Nakajima (Selected Reviews)

Interestingly, the most provocative and disturbing work I saw as part of LIFT, was entirely non-verbal. Muteki-Sha’s Niwa (The Garden) […] was a production from which one staggered, stunned by a performance of incredible intensity. (Oscar Moore, ‘LIFT Festival,’ Plays & Players, Oct. 1983)

Cries of ‘Bravo’ welcomed Natsu Nakajima to LIFT at the Lyric Studio on Monday […] a piece of great intensity and concentration […] two artists at the peak of control over their chosen discipline. There’s nothing else like it in the world. (‘Sold on Butoh,’ Lift Off, Aug. 1983)

Miss Nakajima's two-hour journey into her own traumas and their universalized expression is more moving than previous Butoh performances. Muteki Sha is a must […] This kind of virtuosity is amazing. Miss Nakajima, in particular, can tense up every fiber in her body, blow up each cheek or pucker each lip while turning her face into an eye-lolling ''mask.'' (Anna Kisselgoff, ‘Montreal Festival,’ New York Times, Sept. 23, 1985)

It’s not an outwardly descriptive dance but one in which the inner necessities seem to press the body into recollected shapes, ritual travail. […] A powdery dust rises from her as she moves. She could be smoldering. […] a member of the audience threw a single flame-colored rose on the stage, where it lay in the fading spotlight after the woman left. This, too, made me think of Kazuo Ohno. (Marcia B. Siegal, ‘Flickering Stones,’ The Village Voice, Oct. 15, 1985)

Miss Nakajima is different, in that she succeeds in universalizing the personal. Butoh's cosmic concerns are rendered in a generalized manner, but the human feelings that parallel the implied cataclysm are fully visible here as well. (‘Butoh,’ Anna Kisselgoff, New York Times, Oct. 1, 1987)