Whatever springs to mind when you think of Kobe, it’s unlikely to be dance. Yet, from the fourth floor of a nondescript building in the port city’s multiethnic district of Shin-Nagata there shines forth a veritable beacon called Dance Box.

Founded in Osaka in 2003, Dance Box moved to its present home in 2009. Since then — led by producer Iku Otani and program director Fumi Yokobori — it has been showcasing and nurturing contemporary dancers and choreographers from Japan and beyond. The venue is split between two main sites, both in aging shopping arcades: Art Theater Dance Box, a 120-seat black-box space and Studio Dance Box, a rehearsal and tuition facility offering classes in ballet, jazz, hip-hop and the Israeli gaga style.

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