Tohoku school's plays tell how it is

Mar 19, 2014

Tohoku school's plays tell how it is

“We always start creating our next work by having a meeting with everyone involved in the drama club,” high school teacher Michiko Ishii explained. “We discuss what is actually happening around us and what we should focus on in the next play. So, what ...

ABT brings 'magical moments' to Japan

Feb 19, 2014

ABT brings 'magical moments' to Japan

Last August, with summer sweltering the city, I met Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews, two soloists from the New York-based American Ballet Theatre, one of the word’s top-four classical companies along with the Royal Ballet in London, Paris Opera Ballet and the Bolshoi in ...

Young K-Ballet School dancers get set for the big time

Feb 19, 2014

Young K-Ballet School dancers get set for the big time

The splendid news about two Japanese high school students’ outstanding achievement swept around the world this month. Not only did 17-year-old Haruo Niyama from Nagano Prefecture win first prize at the super-prestigious annual Prix de Lausanne competition for young amateur classical ballet dancers, but ...

Double-take for a new one-woman 'Tinkerbell'

Feb 12, 2014

Double-take for a new one-woman 'Tinkerbell'

Life is hard for Marcello Magni. Not only is he directing a production separately starring famed actress Tomoko Mariya and upcoming talent Kae Okumura, but the work, in Japanese, is also his brand-new version of an early play by his great friend — and ...

Twice as nice: 'The Full Monty' and Peeping Tom

Jan 29, 2014

Twice as nice: 'The Full Monty' and Peeping Tom

“I love the original ‘Full Monty’ movie, and I think Robert Carlyle is brilliant as the central character — a loser who overcomes the odds against him. In fact it’s his portrayal that inspired me to tackle the role as my live-acting debut — ...

Workshops for theater — and life

Jan 22, 2014

Workshops for theater — and life

“When I worked in an office, I was always nervous and I tensed up a lot just trying to behave correctly. But since coming to these workshops, I often feel like communicating with others spontaneously, of my own free will.” Speaking after an arduous, ...

'Kaz' Kumagai brings tip-top tap to town

Jan 15, 2014

'Kaz' Kumagai brings tip-top tap to town

“Anyone can enjoy being be a tap dancer in their daily life; all you have to do is casually make a rhythm with your feet when you’re walking down the street,” Japan’s leading exponent of the art, Kazunori Kumagai, insists — seemingly oblivious to ...

Jo Kanamori talks dance in Japan

Jan 8, 2014

Jo Kanamori talks dance in Japan

A15-minute drive from Niigata Station, just across the mighty Shinano River pouring into the sea from the Northern Alps, a massive oval-shaped hall sits amid rich green parkland. This is Niigata City Performing Arts Center, aka Ryutopia — the nation’s only public theater with ...