Chacott Dance Cube 

-Dance Around the Worldfrom New York

March, 2006


Azul Dance Theatre Debut Performance: Wind from Far East

By Bruixa Nishimura


The debut performance of Azul Dance Theatre, founded and led by a choreographer Yuki Hasegawa, Wind from Far East took place at Merce Cunningham Studio on March 17th and 18th.


Yuki Hasegawa started dancing classical ballet from age 3, she earned a degree in psychology at Kobe College. After moved to Tokyo, she established her career as a musical theater actress performing in productions such as, Oliver! and Golden Boy. For 8 years of her professional career, she continued trainings in jazz dance, theater dance, tap, and Japanese traditional dance. Then she moved to the U.S., and got her master’s degree in Dance and Dance Education at New York University. Through she presented her works in many places in New York area, this is the first time she organized her full evening company concert. The dancers are Chizuru Asakura, Madoka Asato, Kiori Kawai, Mitsuha Kojima, Satomi Makida, Ayumi Miki, Aoi, Nishimura, and Yayoi Suzuki.


All pieces except for two were choreographed by Hasegawa. Many of them were with music by Kodo. Their movements were well synchronized with the music while fusing elements from both Eastern and Western cultures. The influence from Japanese traditional dance was apparent in their kimonos. Her Japanese sensibility made her works extraordinary. The choreographer herself danced in the first piece in a kimono however, the sound that women in kimono made with their barefoot was very annoying especially in silence. Japanese tabi (socks) would have reduced the friction noise on the floor quite 

a bit, but I assume they might have been too slippery to dance with.


The most memorable piece of the night was the last of the program, Matsuri. Music was composed by Kodo the dancers in happi (traditional jackets) were very vibrant. It was an astonishing choreography. The arm movements were very unique- armpits were open, elbows were straight, arms were moving while palms were facing out- instead of classical ballet’s basic positions. There were also  Kabuki-inspired movements: they turn their heads around while arms were open widely to the sides and legs were in deep plie. It was very impressive.


I interviewed Hasegawa after the show. She said, “The whole process of choreography was very hard. I know it is going to be required a tremendous amount of energy to keep putting on a show annually. But I’d like to go on. I could see dancers’ movements in my head while listening to music that I like."

 Chocott Dance Cube

-Dance Around the World- from New York

November, 2006



Dumbo Dance Festival

By Bruixa Nishimura


Dumbo Dance Festival was held in Brooklyn, New York from October 19th to November 6th. It was a truly big festival performed by many dancers and numerous regional dance companies. The festival schedule was filled with many performances. For example, there were the performances from 2:00pm to 10:00pm in October 21st and from 1:00pm to 7:00pm in October 22ns. The Performances last all day long. I was impressed by the fact, “There were so many dancers in the world, and they fight desperately!” For more information, please see the web site,


I attended the performance at 2:00pm in October 22nd at DUMBO Dance Festival. Azul Dance Theatre, directed by Yuki Hasegawa who was based in New York, was presented a dance piece, Taiko (music by KODO.) Yuki Hasegawa performed in musical plays in Tokyo for eight years, received her MA in Dance Education from New York University, and she currently works in New York as a choreographer. The dancers were Mayumi Narita, Yoyoi Suzuki, Chizuru Asakura, Kiori Kawai, Atsunori Hayamizu, and Kathryn Wilkening. All of them were young and talented dancers based in New York. I have seen this piece at premiere in the company concert. A male dancer joined the company at this time, and the performance was matched to feeling of the music played on drums. The dancers put happi coat (festival costumes) on, they shouted on the beats, and it was an excited choreography. The movements contain traditional Japanese dance as well. The company is aiming for active future in New York. I am glad to see that a Japanese choreographer who has made achievement. I am rooting for her.