Haruko Nishimura at Ex…it ’99

In August of 1999, I studied under Shinichi Iova-Koga at “Ex…it,” an international Butoh influenced dance symposium in Bröllin, Germany which featured choreographers from around the world teaching 40 students in intensive training workshops and a series of performances. In a short time, Shinichi took me and the other participants on an intense journey – both physically and psychologically – giving us a glimpse of our own potential through hard work and intensive focus, and learning to be sensitive to our own movements, impulses and creative processes.

His approach is very thorough. While working on a piece about cockroaches, he had us searching through swamps studying the movements and behaviors of insects, patterns of nature – using all of our senses to find the tiniest details.

We were also forced to be sincere to ourselves. Not to accept false movements, but to search deeper for our own honest ones – even invisible ones. We worked on intense focus, keeping tension, listening to ourselves, trusting ourselves.

I could feel new doors of my potential open through this work. Like a runner who feels he can’t go on being given a new focus, spiritual and physical adjustments – allowing him to run another three miles.

The physical training was also very intense – pushing our limits and beyond. It was exciting to work as a group and to gain new sensitivity to other performers. We created improvisations and Shinichi helped us to develop the ideas and combine them with the other performers’ work – developing a sense of hyper-awareness.

It would be greatly valuable for any aspiring performer to work with Shinichi Iova-Koga, as it has been an honor for me to have done so.

-Haruko Nishimura
Degenerate Art Ensemble, Seattle


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