Un Yamada Artist Residency at Aswara

Japanese dancer and choreographer Un Yamada will be part of a three-week resident programme at Aswara to conduct intensive workshops with students of the dance and theatre faculties.

The course of study is based on her solo dance act ‘Dictee’, an experimental interpretation of the biography of Korean-American artist, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. ‘Dictee’, or dictation, symbolises the pain of a woman deprived of her mother tongue and her struggles in acquiring a new language.

The project explores the way Yamada transforms multilingual texts into solo pieces, reaching beyond the genre boundaries of dance and drama.

Residency: 1 – 21 December, 2014
Mini showcase: 20 December, 3:00 p.m., Studio Tari Utama @ ASWARA


Yamda.CYUportrait_0514Un Yamada (dancer/choreographer)

Trained in gymnastics, ballet and Butoh, Yamada draws ideas for her pieces from a variety of sources. Described as sensitive, energetic and dynamic, her dance has influences in music, visual art, literature, academic fields, fashion, and diverse body movements.

In addition to her dance and choreography career, she also produced a series of projects for young dancers at ST Spot, was involved in children education and studied art management with research supported by the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1999. A year later, she won the prestigious French Embassy Prize for Young Choreographers at the Yokohama Dance Collection Solo x Duo Competition.

In 2002, she added company founder to her resume with the establishment of Co. Yamada Un. Since then, the troupe has performed in 29 cities throughout Japan and 22 cities worldwide. Her range of projects attract an eclectic audience comprising not only fellow dancers and choreographers but mathematicians and physicists too.

KiharaCYUportrait_0006Kota Kihara (dancer/teaching assistant)

A graduate of Nihon University College of Art, Kihara also belongs to the Miyako Kato Dance Space. Along with two other members of the same troupe, they formed Santai (Three Bodies), which won the original dance division three times in a row at the Kobe National Western Dance Competition. His winning streak is not confined to group tournaments either, having taken home the top prize in the choreography section of the Kobe Dance Competition on three separate occasions. His talent caught the eye of Tony Award-winning choreographer Matthew Bourne, who casted him in the stage adaptation of “Dorian Gray” in 2013.

KoyamaCYUportrait_0177Masashi Koyama  (dancer/teaching assistant)

After studying international business in the States and working as a sound editor for Japanese television, Koyama decided to switch paths to the world of dance. He quickly gained a footing and soon found himself working with some of Japan’s leading choreographers in opera, musicals, concerts and music videos. In 2012, Koyama was summoned to be the male lead for a Canadian contemporary dance company.



‘Dictee’ is the best-known work of versatile and important Korean-American artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. A classic autobiography that surpasses the self, ‘Dictee’ is the story of several women: the Korean revolutionary Yu Guan Soon, soldier Joan of Arc, Greek goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, Kyung Cha’s mother Hyung Soon Huo (a Korean born in Manchuria to first-generation Korean exiles), and Kyung Cha herself. The elements that unite these women are suffering and the transcendence of suffering. The book is divided into nine parts structured around the Greek Muses. Kyung Cha deploys a variety of texts, documents, images, and forms of address and inquiry to explore issues of dislocation and the fragmentation of memory. The result is a work of power, complexity, and enduring beauty.

Kyung Cha (1951-1982) was a poet, filmmaker and artist. In 1982, Cha was murdered by a stranger in New York City, just a few days after the original publication of ‘Dictee’.

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