Exploring dance with a Japanese twist.

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Exploring dance with a Japanese twist.

MIKIKO’s resumé boasts choreography gigs with Gen Hoshino, Perfume, and BABY METAL. She runs a dance company, ELEVENPLAY, while managing the stage for Perfume and other mixed media arts.

Her career path in dance began when she was in her second year of high school with Generation Dance Koshien, and by her third year, she was teaching dance to the fifth-grade girls pop group, Perfume.

Teaching required choreography skills, and, in the beginning, she didn’t have a lot of confidence. However, she soon discovered her calling in helping people find themselves through choreography. In time, choreography found a place in her heart and became her primary interest. The CEO of Amuse, Yokichi Osato, discovered her and recommended that she work in New York for six months or so.

“At the time the industry had a fascination with many of the African American icons of dance. I was never good enough to imitate their work but did try while exploring it and adding a Japanese twist. My experience led to a dance style where I move my hands and create a feeling of distance from the rhythm. Moving my hands didn’t come naturally in the beginning, so I devoted my research to fit such movements into routines. That’s where my own style was born,” says MIKIKO.

She learned to recognize what looked right and developed a vision to design style around rhythm. The idea of expressing music straight into people’s hearts excites her. She says, “I choreograph in spaces that don’t have notes.”

The Rio Olympics closed with the passing of the torch to Tokyo, and she produced the Koi Dance for Gen Hoshino, which took the world by storm. When asked what prompted the idea, MIKIKO states that she cares about the first impression of music and who will dance. She sometimes conceives ideas from people’s daily movements or a piece of art and often from children’s body language, which she says is very expressive. Her feeling is that the richer movements lie at the surface of human interaction—where human truths are, and that’s where humanity is beautiful.

Her dream is to make a theater for foreigners to visit much like Broadway, delivering Japanese culture in brilliant bits of movement.

Words: Takahiro Tomari

MIKIKO, Producer and Choreographer
Born in Hiroshima in 1977 and choreographer of many movie, commercial film, and stage productions, including choreographing and producing Perfume. MIKIKO runs her dance company, ELEVENPLAY, which has an excellent reputation at home and overseas. She has won many awards including the Good Design Award and the ACC Grand Prize.
© Chikashi Kasai
ELEVENPLAY x Rhizomatiks Research (mosaic), a play in 2015, was her completed work expressing all she wanted to bring to it.
Rhizomatiks Research x ELEVENPLAY Dance Installation at Gallery AaMo played at Gallery AaMo in April last year.

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