Dance, What's On | 14 - 16 Sept 2018


Dance, What's On | 14 - 16 Sept 2018


An outdoor dance recreated by Welsh choreographer Sioned Huws and dancer Honami Shimizu inspired from the “shishi-odori” dance of Iwate, north east Japan. A re-telling through song and movement of the folk story of the “deer dance”, a journey to the imaginary, a process of becoming, as a person, a community.


Sioned Huws’ ongoing project Odori-Dawns-Dance (translations of the word “dance” in Japanese, Welsh and English) is a collaboration with traditional and contemporary choreographers and dancers in Japan focused on the “shishi-odori” (deer dance) of the Iwate region of north-east Japan. The “shishi-odori” is a ritual dance derived from the complexities of community, landscape and mythology passed through generations and found in the Iwate region. Sioned’s choreography follows a period of study and dancing with the dancers of Kakinaizawa Shishi-odori Gyouzan-ryu, Yamaguchiha in Iwate since 2014.

This dance will be performed at a series of locations across Torbay from Friday 14 to Sun 16 September, concluding in the Torre Abbey Museum gardens as part of the afternoon Garden Party. It has been created following the 33 ‘kuchi shoga’ (phonetic sound of Japanese symbols) around which the Deer Dance is performed. ‘Kuchi shoga’ are short rhythmic chants, which begin by three short lines of song, focused on imagery of nature, highlighting a brief moment in time, a juxtaposition between something large and something small, between stillness and movement. The timing of the dance is based on the “shoga”.


Performance duration: 35-40 mins (please note this was previously announced as 55 mins)



Sioned Huws

Sioned is a London based choreographer and works internationally. She is an associate artist with Dance4 Nottingham; 2017 was her fifth year in residency with Rikuzentakata Artist in Residency Program, Iwate. Sioned started making contemporary dance and performance in New York 1989, whilst studying at the Merce Cunningham Studios. From 2008 she studied Aomori Tsugaru Te-odori dance with Yoshiya Ishikawa, as part of her Aomori Project that toured to over twenty international venues in Japan, UK, Singapore, Europe and Australia, 2008-15, working with local communities in each place. Sioned’s work focuses on perception, memory, person and place within choreographic structures; systems patterning small details that allow for the unexpected within a world sensed through an awareness of physical movement; 2009 she was recipient of a Creative Wales Ambassadors Award; 2009 and 2015 an International Program Award by The Saison Foundation, Tokyo, in collaboration with ARTizan for Aomori Project and Odori-Dawns-Dance, her latest project developed between 2015-18 with performance presentations at Sumita Town Hall (Sumita), Morishita Studios and Tsukishima Hall (Tokyo) Nottdance Festival 2017 (Nottingham) Sugimura Jun Museum (Shiogama), Hakoneyama Terrace (Rikuzentakata) and TPAM 2018-Tokyo Performing Arts Meeting in Yokohama, De Montfort University (Leicester) and Joshibi Arts University (Tokyo).


Honami Shimizu

Born in Saitama, Japan in 1987, Honami Shimizu studied theatre in Waseda University, Tokyo. She has worked with text-based performance as an actress since 2007 in Tokyo. In 2009, participated in a performance by the group ‘Kamome Machine’ (organized by Yuta Kitahara), which focused on creating plays focusing on notions of the individual body and society. Since then she has participated in almost all the performances and the development of concepts with them, becoming since 2016 an official member of the group.  Notable works she has performed include: ‘Happy Days’ (2016) by Samuel Beckett; and ‘Waiting for Godot in Fukushima’ (2011) which is based on ‘Waiting for Godot’ by Samuel Beckett. She has more recently been developing her physical  performance work through the methods of Qi-gong and Tai-chi. She participated in ‘Performing Arts Research Club’ from 2014 to 2016 organized by ST spot Yokohama; she has continued to research the physical movements and structures of traditional performing arts in Japan. She has participated in Sioned Huws’ Odori-Dawns-Dance since 2016.


Niwa-Gardd-Garden has been produced by ARTizan, Japan and Sioned Huws.

The performances in Torbay have been made possible through the generous support of the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.