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."
Azul's works have been presented at NY venues, such as Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Baruch Performing Arts Center, Ailey Citigroup Theater, 92nd Street Y, El Museo del Barrio, DiCapo Opera Theater, Salvatore Capezio Theater, Dixon Place, and Green Space. Recently, the artistic director and company members conducted contemporary dance workshops at Manhattan Borough of Community College and Gibney Dance Center.
Azul Dance Theatre is a recipient of CUNY Dance Initiative 2016 Residency Program and Queens Council on the Arts New Work Grant. Azul Dance Theatre/ Yuki Hasegawa is a fiscal sponsored artist through New York Live Arts.
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. Born and raised in Japan, she began her dance at the age of three in Kobe. After graduated from Kobe College, she had lead busy performing career in musicals in Tokyo. Her credits include, Oliver, Golden Boy, No, No, Nanette, Little House on the Prairie, and SANADA. Ms. Hasegawa moved to NY in 1998, and obtained her MA in Dance and Dance Education from NYU.
Ms. Hasegawa’s first work was premiered at Merce Cunningham Studio (presently Martha Graham Studio) in 2006. Since then, she presented her works at United Nations Auditorium, 92nd Street Y, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Salvatore Capezio Theater, and Dixon Place. Her recent work, VISION (2016,) investigates one's self-fight against fear and insecurity by projecting psychological images and ghostly illusions into contemporary dance. In collaboration with the multimedia artist, Miskos production, VISION was premiered at Tribeca Performing Arts Center. Her commissioned work with Multicultural Sonic Evolution, Ame-No-Uzume (2015,) was premiered at the Secret Theater in Long Island City with live music by Yui Kitamura. In 2014, Ms. Hasegawa’s excerpt work was featured on Channel Thirteen, NYC Arts Program.
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.
Photo by Steven Pisano
Saioa Lopez (left) and Petra Duskova (right)
in Salvatore Capezio Theater