Beyond the Box Series

Curatorial Vision

Beyond the Box is Grandmaster Yoshinojo Fujima’s Spring 2017 performance series at Links Hall. Curated by Fujima, this series articulates her alternative interpretation of traditional Japanese classical dance works. Confounding the boundaries of social expectations and expanding beyond the limitations set by gender roles in the form, Yoshinojo’s series highlights female dance makers who are reshaping the position of women established by traditional roles to which female performers are restricted in Japanese classical dance. The works and artists selected by Yoshinojo press us to address the social landscape of our time and reconsider the global positioning of women and how they are portrayed. The resulting presentations offer a restructured context for these female performers who are expanding their own portrayals in environments transformed by experimental musicians.

Series Schedule

Mai Ougi
April 21, 2017 | 7:30pm

Musicians: Tatsu Aoki, Jamie Kempkers, KIOTO, and Lori Ashikawa

The opening presentation for the Beyond the Box series is an interdisciplinary performance mixing the traditional with experimental, the past and the present. A courtesan dancer must go and perform in the camp of the enemy warlord general so that she might have one more glimpse of her lover, captured and imprisoned as the general of the opposing side. Inspired by this classical Japanese Dance piece, MaiOugi provides the audience with eastern and western musical exposition and the clash between expected societal constructs with the expression of human emotion.Yoshinojo Fujimajoins the creative forces of experimental and classical musicians, Japanese and Classical instruments, and Neo-classical with Nihon Buyo dance to create a new stratum of experience that proclaims its stance for Asian American Artists with the woman as a focal point.

Quantum Monk II
April 22, 2017 | 7:30pm

Sound/Music: Eric Leonardson
Dance: Grandmaster Shunojo Fujima, Grandmaster Yoshinojo Fujima, Erin Ikeuchi

In this meta-perceptual second evolution of Quantum Monk,Yoshinojo expands the presentation by interweaving the core of the visual experience with the auditory soundscape created by Chicago-based electroacoustic composer, radio artist, and sound designer artist Eric Leonardson. The soundscape envelops the stage as the concept unfolds. The original performance, “Quantum Monk” performed in Links Hall used the Japanese theatrical dance “Makasho” for its inspiration and concept. The monk character is originally a male character that represents an actuality that does not match with his assigned or expected role in society. How does the environment/the spaceaffect the perception of the nature of being that one must portray? The traveling street monk collects alms and is supposedly pious, honest, devout, sober, etc. The character from the original work puts on these traits for his job, but he is actually a womanizer, likes to drink, and uses his alms for obtaining alcohol and earthly pleasures. The character changes throughout the piece interchanging between male and female.

Swathe (the Rage of Kasane) with Ayako Kato
May 19, 2017 | 7:30pm

Sound/Music: Tatsu Aoki, shamisen; Jason Roebke, double bass; Ayako Kato, mixing
Dance: Ayako Kato; Yoshinojo Fujima

The original concept sprung forth from the Kabuki piece with the tragically fated character of Kasane. Able to only exact revenge by possessing another, Kasane becomes the vessel for a vengeful spirit. Commissioned by and in collaboration with Yoshinojo Fujima, Ayako reflects upon the image of the traditional Japanese female and contemporary gender equity in relation to her own journey.

Anger and the Bell with Lenora Lee
June 9 – 10, 2017 | 7:30pm

Dance: Lenora Lee,Yoshinojo Fujima
Music:The Reduction Quartet

A very famous Kabuki dance piece, Musume Dojoji, deals with a vengeance against unrequited love. Traditionally in Kabuki plays, women are portrayed as demure, obedient, and submissive; the only available outlet the expression of extremes in anger/vengeance typically involved supernatural circumstances, such as being possessed by a spirit/demon, or becoming a ghost. Lenora Lee brings her contemporary stylizations to the work in “Anger and the Bell”.

Curator Bio

Chicago native Rika Lin has studied Japanese classical dance for the last twenty-four years. In 2006, as a member of the Fujima Ryu of Chicago dance troupe, she received her natori. She continues to train with Shunojo Fujima Sensei, Founder and Director of Fujima Ryu of Chicago, to attain her shihan (teaching license), and develops her artistry working with Asian Improv aRts Midwest and Toyoaki Shamisen. She has performed in collaborations with Tatsu Aoki, Tsukasa Taiko, Bellisima Productions, and Yoko Noge’s Japanesque.

Beyond the Box Sponsors

Supported by Asian Improv aRts Midwest and the Japanese American Service Committee of Chicago and are supported in part by the Illinois Arts Council, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, Corbett, Duncan & Hubly pc, JCCC Foundation, CityArts and The Joyce Foundation