Line Between

an inkBoat production
3 Dancers, 2 Musicians | 70 minutes

(Isadora Duncan Dance Committee, SF 2013)

inkBoat’s surreal Line Between (Dec. 3, ODC Theater, San Francisco) often took my breath away. A team effort between Shinichi Iova-Koga, who has Butoh and Japanese theater in his background, and Dohee Lee, with training in shamanic Korean practices, Line brought together two artists rooted in disparate traditions. Yet both are attempting to mine that heritage for decidedly twenty-first century theatrical expressions. Line, smoothly directed in her debut by Dana Iova-Koga, is an ambitious, beautifully thought out and mesmerizing work, one of inkBoat’s finest.

The premise behind the hour-long piece is the state of being between sleep and wakefulness; it’s one in which dreams bleed into the every-day except for the fact that you can’t quite remember them. It’s also, as many artists have testified, a place of semi-consciousness that allows creative impulses to arise in a way not always possible when fully alert.

The two choreographers/dancers assembled as series of images into a floating stream that connect to each other even as they keep their own identity.

But at their best these dream sequences, which ranged from ecstasy to terror, struck resonant chords. Concepts of normalcy and reason were upended. Iova-Koga, on top of a huge unbalanced ladder, yearned for the void; a bed sucked him up as if into a maelstrom. Lee hopped rabbit-like, swung her braids like a whip and turned into an incubus trying to suffocate her partner. She threw pebbles against his dice. The two engaged in a shadowy tango; they also exploded into a hysterical hoe-down.

A veiled Peiling Kao acted the “invisible” stagehand commonly found in Japanese theater. A delicate, precise presence, she moved props but also entered the choreography, for instance, making circle dances possible when she wasn’t engaged in hanging long underwear onto a clothesline.

Line’s received essential contributions from its designers and musicians who became equals in creating the poetic reality that the work became. Amy Rathbone’s panels shaped a dream space with the luminosity of Japanese rice paper. Oddly placed windows in a façade revealed and hid secrets; a few potted plants suggested ordinariness. Allen Willner’s brilliant lighting contracted and expanded those spaces. Best of all, perhaps, was Jason Ditzian and Suki O’Kane’s music that shifted between fore-and backgrounding itself throughout this wondrous dream ballet.

~Review by Rita Felciano, DANCE VIEW, Vol 29, No. 1, Winter 2012

The Process

“Line Between” began as an extended conversation between Dohee and Shinichi about the space between waking and dreaming. The two noticed how often the subject of dreams and their connection or seeming non-connection to reality entered into their conversations. Shinichi and Dohee met each other in 2003 and had danced in several improvisations together by 2009, which was when they decided that it was time to embark upon a full-length collaboration. The subject and the title “Line Between” were settled upon immediately, and the evolution of the work has stemmed directly from this original impulse.

Shinichi, who in addition to performing, serves as the director of inkBoat productions, decided that he would like to experience stepping out of that role in order to focus more purely upon dancing. Before handing the directorial baton off however, he assembled a team for the production, that is comprised of a collection of “duets.” Besides the obvious duet team of him and Dohee, he pulled on board Suki O’Kane and Jason Ditzian as a musical duo, Instillation artist Amy Rathbone and long time collaborator designer Frank Lee as a Set design duo, with Lighting designer Allen Willner and director Dana Iova-Koga as a final collaborative pair.

As with most thematic explorations, “Line Between” began as a relatively specific investigation, in this case, what is interesting about the space between waking and sleep, and has since blossomed into a multitude of parallel ruminations. We are continuously finding more “lines between” during the creation process. The space between absurdity and the mundane, beauty and terror, dance and theater, shamanism and rock and roll, the iconic and the anonymous- these borderlines have been tread upon during the making of the work.

Thank you’s:

We have many, many people to thank for their contributions of time, energy and financial support for this work. Here we go:

Thank you especially to everyone who stepped up and in at the last minute. Thank you to our mentors- KT, Ellen and Ralph, thank you to all of our funders, thank you ODC, thank you Mills College, thank you Headlands Center for the Arts, thank you to all of those who helped Amy with the construction of the set, thank you to Margaret Jenkins and the CHIME program, thank you to Annie-B Parson for the memory and to Sherwood for the Edith Piaf seed, thank you Don Clyde, and Adria Otte, thank you Bill Guba and Saara, thank you Petrolians who we love and miss, and a big thank you to all of our USA donors who helped get this off the ground.

Our Funders:

The development of this work was made possible by the ODC Theater Artist in Residence program and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and through the generous support of the Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, San Francisco Arts Commission, the CCI Investing in Artists Grant, Zellerbach Family Foundation, and Lighting in Dance Award (a program of Dancers’ Group).

Additionally, we wish to thank the individuals who contributed to the United States Artists fund drive (Kristina Wong, Kate McGinity, J Shirle, Juliette Crump, Bill Bevis, Johnny Kim, William Bowling, Jesse, Eric and Linda Iovacchini, Esmar, Edward Schocker, Mia Kirsi Stageberg, Elizabeth Van Meter, Ana-Mari, Brad Wright, Martha, Thomas and Susie Rathbone, Kat Covell, Kira Maria Shewfelt, Karen Schiller, Ellyn Winslow, Neal Anderson, Flora Brain, Ellie Kincade, Dennis Palazzolo, Ian Smith-Heisters, Tamiko Thiel, Cassie Terman Tunick, Melinda Harrison, Amanda Malachesky, Patricia Dreher, Andrea Juillerat Olvera, Rana, Brian Collentine, Sarah Kurtz, Casey Kringlen, Adam Greenwade, Mary O, Doria Mueller-Beilschmidt, Giuseppe Salvato, Tanya Calamoneri, Esha Clearfield, Yuko K, Sandrine, Petra, Caleb Sweeny, Sabine Seume, Shoister, Phyllis and Dick Kincade, Bianca Chavez and anonymous individuals).


DIRECTION: Dana Iova-Koga


YUKIGO: Peiling Kao







Mentors: Ralph Lemon, KT Nelson, Ellen Sebastian-Chang

Tango Coach: Jose Navarette

Set Construction Assistants: Cynthia Brannvall, Dusadee Huntrakul, Marit Brook-Kothlow, Corinna Press, Nobuto Suga, Sean Talley.

Puppets: Miriam Klein Stahl

Photography: Pak Han

Videography: Kirk Schroeder and Max Baloian


Administrative worker bees: Jason Ditzian, Dana and Shinichi Iova-Koga

Website/blog doctor extraodinare: Suki O’Kane

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