Founded by Artistic Director Yuki Hasegawa, Azul Dance Theatre is a collective of NY based contemporary dance artists. Since 2004, Azul creates dances that convey the invisible flow of energy known as "Chi" in Eastern philosophy to express the sensitive relationship between individual self and cosmic force. Azul's work has been recognized for creating works influenced by traditional Japanese culture, but remain "vividly contemporary in feel."
Since 2004, Azul's works have been presented at venues such as Ailey Citigroup Theater, 92nd Street Y, El Museo del Barrio, DiCapo Opera Theater, Salvatore Capezio Theater, Theater for the New City, Dixon Place, and Green Space. Azul Dance Theatre is a precipitant of CUNY Dance Initiative Residency 2016 at Tribeca Performing Arts Center at BMCC, and New Work grant from Queens Council on the Arts in 2016.
Yuki Hasegawa (Artistic Director, Choreographer) a New York based choreographer, synthesizes traditional Japanese performing arts, modern Japanese culture, and American contemporary dance to create innovative impression in her works. Yuki’s first work was premiered at Merce Cunningham Studio in 2006, and was acclaimed by Chacott Dance Cube. Her recent work was presented at Salvatore Capezio Theater supported by NYC/ Dance Respond Fund. Other recent premieres include works commissioned by Multicultural Sonic Evolution at the Secret Theatre in Long Island City, and by Wave Rising Series at John Ryan Theater in Brooklyn. Yuki’s excerpt work was featured at NYC Arts Program on Channel Thirteen, and her work was voted for the Best choreography by the audience in NYC 10 Dance Initiative in 2014.
In Europe, she was invited to teach and perform at the International Congress on Dance Research, and her research was published on DVD. Yuki obtained her MA in Dance and Dance Education from NYU, and she has taught Pilates based somatic conditioning class for dancers at Peridance Center since 2002. She had taught creative dance for children at the United Nations, and choreographed and produced dance concerts there under the direction of Virginia Olney. As a dancer, she performed at major theaters in Tokyo and throughout Japan for seven years, working with renowned Japanese choreographers in commercial dance, such as, Taku Yamada, Tamae Sha, and Kayoko Nakura in Broadway musicals, such as Golden Boy, No, No, Nanette, and Oliver, as well as Japanese musicals, dance concerts, and TV programs. Yuki won the first prize at Chacott Dance Competition as a soloist with Violette Ballet.
Interview with Yuki Hasegawa, Azul Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director.
October 31, 2016
Tribeca PAC is thrilled to host Azul Dance Theatre’s “Vision,” on November 11 and 12 at 7:30pm. We spoke with Artistic Director Yuki Hasegawa about the company and their upcoming work. Check out our conversation, and join us next weekend – tickets still available!
Tribeca PAC: What can audiences expect to see/experience on November 11 and 12?
Yuki: The audience will experience an Asian flavor which was influenced from a Japanese traditional motif within the context of contemporary dance and music.We will utilize two kinds of traditional Japanese props: Japanese Noh theater Masks (have evil expressions) and the musical instruments, call Naruko clappers. The evil masks (call Hannya-Men in Japanese) represent the people’s fear and insecurity, so that the person who wears the mask is not evil, but s/he looks like an evil person because of their fear and insecurity. The other Japanese props, the instrumentals used for the summer festival, are Naruko clappers. They were originally the tools for preventing the rice from birds in the rice fields in the ancient society. (The sounds of Naruko was scared the birds away from the fields.) Nowadays, Naruko clappers are well known for the festival dance props, as they are used at the Yosakoi Festival which is one of the most famous festivals in Japan.
The theme of the dance is universal substance that conveying one’s self-battle against the fear and in security. Although this dance piece is abstract, some audiences might find the story because of the masks.
Tribeca PAC: What are some of your inspirations for VISION?
Yuki: My inspiration for Vision is two-fold. One is from my company members who have a diverse background. Many dancers of Azul Dance Theatre are from outside the US. Those young talented dancers’ positive energy and passion are truly my inspiration of creating the movements and inspiring me to live my life as an artist in NY. Without their support and corporation, I will not be able to complete this dance piece. Year by year, I started to realized that incorporating with the dancers will create more energy and inspiration to make the dance piece as a group, so that I am more aware of each dancer’s thoughts, feelings, and passions when I work on this company to create the dance piece.
My other inspiration is my life as an artist living in NYC. Through my process of understanding the people in NYC, I found the substantial theme as human on the earth.
Vision is my question and answer “what is the nature of the human beings,” through my everyday life living in a such a crazy city.
Since I moved to NY from Tokyo in 1998, I had to adjust every thing, such as language, behavior, foods, lifestyle, and so on. I lost my confidence, and I am always insecure, because I do not know how I can act like an American. However, I realized that I am not only person feeling insecurity. Recently, I realized that I am insecure not because I am a foreigner, but also I am a human. I believe in this way: People can act like an evil, because they do not have a confident, or they are afraid of somethings. I believe that fear and insecurity are the reason why the people become nasty and unkind, and moreover, those negative energy causes the fights and conflicts.