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Vangeline Theater presents 'Elsewhere', May 24-26

by Michelle Tabnick
April 26, 2018
Gibney Dance Lower Manhattan
280 Broadway
New York, NY 10007
(646) 837-6809
Vangeline Theater, with renowned Japanese composer and musician Yuka C. Honda (Japan) and butoh dancer Vangeline, perform the World Premiere of "Elsewhere" from May 24 - 26, 2018 at 8 pm at Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, 280 Broadway (Entrance at 53A Chambers Street). Tickets are $15 in advance ($20 at the door) and can be purchased at https://gibneydance.org/performance/pop/vangeline-and-yuka-c-honda-elsewhere/ or by calling (646) 837-6809.

Japanese Musician Yuka C. Honda (who is best known for her work with Cibbo Matto, Sean Lennon, and Yoko Ono) will perform improvised live music each night, and critically acclaimed Butoh dancer Vangeline will perform a choreographed dance adapted to each evening's music.

"Hypnotizing and sensationally terrifying"
- International Times

"Elsewhere" is a story of migration and cultural encounters celebrating the life of Japanese pioneer Omoto Tannaker (1842-1916). In 1860, the Japanese woman joined the Great Dragon Circus on its tour around the world, but in December 1873, Omoto-san's infant Godie died in Sunderland, England. The tomb of Little Godie was the first Japanese monument erected in England in the 19th century.

A woman of courage, the Japanese performer Omoto Tannaker joins the rank of often-forgotten women athletes and pioneers, who left their countries of origin to defy cultural norms and expectations. She was one of the first Japanese women to obtain a passport; her life coincides with the onset of Japan's modernization during the Edo Period. She married a foreigner (a Dutchman), and her children were of mixed race.

Omoto-San, a very skilled acrobat, "showed a remarkable technique to slide down an 45 inclined rope" (Yoshioda). These impressive physical skills undoubtedly mirror her talents of adaptation, as well as shadow the numerous challenges she faced when integrating into the social fabric of her recipient community at the turn of the 19th Century.

This piece explores the themes of immigration and cultural hybridity from a female perspective, articulated through Butoh language and improvised music. Women are often the unsung heroes of history; behind all significant cultural movements and changes in history, the lives of countless women can be found, as well as countless voices that have been silenced. As we challenge our collective memory by telling the stories of women pioneers, we can reconstruct our present and carve out a much-needed space to redefine the importance of women's participation in society.
"I met Vangeline in 2016. It was striking to see her deeply moving butoh performance, and it also inspired me a lot that she is a French woman working on a school of dance that originated in my country, Japan. I felt the connection immediately, not only because she was pursuing Japanese art, but also that she embodies integration," said Yuka C. Honda. "Coexisting with the ones with whom we don't share values is one of the most difficult things to do. It's hard not to be overwhelmed by the difference. But these times are showing us the way to integrate, not separate. I think, to start, what we need to do is to make more connections with others. With this performance, we will coexist in one space, channeling a ghost of a woman, and creating a unified world without losing our duality."
With this piece, musician/composer Yuka C. Honda and Butoh dancer Vangeline will explore their roots while investigating the idea of shared space in performance.
This work began as an artistic commission awarded by Surface Area Dance Theatre with support from The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund UK.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Yuka C. Honda (C is for Cline) is a musician/producer/composer/performer.  Born in Tokyo, Honda spent part her childhood in Dusseldorf, Germany and in a small village in Denmark.  She feels that having lived in different countries and learned different languages before her foundation was formed had a major influence on her music, in which her significant interest is in the integration of elements, which may initially seem foreign.  As such, her work naturally defies the concepts of genres and borders.  
Currently residing in New York City, Honda is best known for the band Cibo Matto, which she co-founded with Miho Hatori in 1994 and in which she created a unique one man band sound by triggering samples 'live'. Honda has released three solo albums (on the Tzadik label) and has produced recordings by Sean Lennon, Martha Wainwright, YOKO ONO PLASTIC ONO BAND, and Cibo Matto. 
She has recorded and performed with a wide range of musicians such as Yoko Ono, Esperanza Spalding, Bernie Worrell, Marc Ribot, Laurie Anderson, Sean Lennon, YoshimiO (of The Boredoms), Kimbra, Thomas Bartlett, Trixie Whitley, and Nels Cline, among others.
Honda's current projects include: CUP with Nels Cline (gtr); REVERT TO SEA with Nels Cline (gtr), Alex Cline (drums, perc, vocal), Zeena Parkins (harp), Devin Hoff (ac. bass);  LIMBS with Susie Ibarra (perc), Kazu Kumagai (tap dancer), Andrew Nemr (tap dancer).  She also performs as a solo electronics artist which she named EUCADEMIX. 

Vangeline is a teacher, dancer, and choreographer specializing in the Japanese postwar avant-garde movement form Butoh. She is the Artistic Director of the Vangeline Theater (New York), a dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese Butoh while carrying it into the 21st century, and the founder of the New York Butoh Institute.
Vangeline's work has been heralded in publications such as The New York Times ("captivating"), Los Angeles Times ("moves with the clockwork deliberation of a practiced Japanese Butoh artist") and LA Weekly, to name a few. Time OUT Chicago named Vangeline's "one of the best Dance Visits of 2011." More recently her BUTOH BEETHOVEN: Eclipse received critical acclaim in New York and was dubbed: "incredibly moving and powerful. It is clear that Vangeline is an artist who knows the darkness of Butoh well and has the incredible skill to make that darkness dance…Vangeline has the control and poise of a true master of Butoh."

With her all-female dance company, Vangeline's socially conscious performances tie together Butoh and activism. Vangeline is the winner of the 2015 Gibney Dance's Beth Silverman-Yam Social Action Award. Film projects include a starring role alongside actors James Franco and Winona Ryder in the feature film by director Jay Anania The Letter (2012-Lionsgate). She is pioneering a project exploring the intersection of Butoh and Neuroscience and has recently been invited to perform with/for Grammy Award Winning artists SKRILLEX and Esperanza Spalding.

VANGELINE THEATER/ NEW YORK BUTOH INSTITUTE aims to preserve the legacy and integrity of Japanese Butoh while carrying the art form well into the future. The unique art of Butoh originated in post-World War II Japan as a reaction to the loss of identity caused by the westernization of Japanese culture, as well as a realization that ancient Japanese performing traditions no longer spoke to a contemporary audience. One of the major developments in contemporary dance in the latter half of the 20th century, Butoh combines dance, theater, improvisation and influences of Japanese traditional performing arts to create a unique performing art form that is both controversial and universal in its expression. The Vangeline Theater is home to the New York Butoh Institute, dedicated to the advancement of Butoh in the 21st century.

GIBNEY DANCE, founded in 1991, is a trailblazing organization that brings the possibility of movement where it otherwise would not exist. Through its Center, Company and Community Action, Gibney Dance is "Making Space for Dance" in studios, on stages and in partnership with underserved shelters and schools. Gibney's POP: Performance Opportunity Project serves the dance community by providing space, support, and subsidized theater rentals for performances to non-profit companies and individual dance artists.
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