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Yasuko Yokoshi

Yasuko Yokoshi's art-making explores the complex interconnectedness of culture and history that frames our perspective of contemporary life. Her inspiration for Tyler Tyler came from The Tale of the Heike, a classic 12th century Japanese epic of warring clans that documents the intense desire for domination and the inevitable fall from power. The central theme of the stories - the Buddhist law of impermanence - had special resonance for Yokoshi; born and raised in Hiroshima, she was often reminded as a child of the ephemeral nature of human life. These stories continue to resonate in our own times as ambition and pride continue to spawn war and greed.

As a contemporary dance artist, Yokoshi is also driven by the question of how much culture within an art form is transferable, particularly in a fluid, mobile world where the merging of cultures is more prevalent than ever. Tyler Tyler continued Yokoshi's unique collaboration with her revered master teacher of Kabuki Su-odori dance, Masumi Seyama. Tyler Tyler was performed by a cast of six including two U.S. dancers (Julie Alexander and Kayvon Pourazar), a U.S. musician/singer (Steven Reker, who also composed original music for the piece) and three Japanese dancers/actors (Naoki Asaji, Kuniya Sawamura and Kayo Seyama). Other collaborators included: Roderick Murray (Lighting Design), Soichiro Migita (Sound Design), and Akiko Iwasaki (Costume Design).

The heart of Tyler Tyler's choreographic process is Yokoshi's partnership with Ms. Seyama, who has given her several pieces of classic repertory for the project.  Following Kabuki tradition, as Ms. Seyama teaches the repertory to Yokoshi and the Japanese performers, and as Yokoshi teaches it to the U.S. dancers, subtle shifts are made to suit each performer. With both Japanese and U.S. dancers, Yokoshi deconstructs and rearranges the classic repertory using postmodern techniques, and creates original choreography that reflects and references the traditional repertory. Observing how bodies trained in one rigorous form interpret the specific techniques, physical qualities and aesthetics of another, Yokoshi's goal is not to have the performers exchange their respective forms, but to examine the nature of cultural identity by experimenting with cultural form.

Tyler Tyler premiered at Dance Theater Workshop in New York City in March 2010. An October 2010 U.S. Tour included: The Asian Arts & Culture Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst (Amherst, MA); DiverseWorks Art Space (Houston, TX); NewArt New Mexico at North Fourth Art Center (Albuquerque, NM); The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago (Chicago, IL). The piece then traveled to Theatre de la Ville in Paris, France in November 2010.

Tyler Tyler is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation Fund project co-commissioned by DiverseWorks in partnership with Dance Theater Workshop and NPN and Theatre de la Ville, Paris. Tyler Tyler was developed, in part, during a creative residency provided through a partnership between Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at The Florida State University and Dance Theater Workshop with support from the National Endowment for the Arts. It was also developed, in part, at a residency hosted by the Banff Center for the Arts, Alberta Canada and with a space grant from BAX/Brooklyn Arts Exchange with support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

The creation and tour of Tyler Tyler was made possible with the generous support of: The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation; The MAP Fund, a program of Creative Capital supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation; The New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project (NDP) with generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the MetLife Community Connections Fund of the MetLife Foundation: The Japan Foundation, through the Performing Arts JAPAN Program; Asian Cultural Council; The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew Mellon Foundation; MAPP Cultural Investors Oliver Allen, Helen Mills and Martha Sherman. Tyler Tyler was funded in part through Meet The Composer's MetLife Creative Connections Program.    

Yasuko Yokoshi was a 2008 recipient of Building Up Infrastructure Levels for Dance (BUILD), a program of New York Foundation for the Arts. BUILD is a JPMorgan Chase Regrant Program, made possible by The J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, with additional support provided by The Starry Night Fund of the Tides Foundation.