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Elsewhere with Yuka C. Honda and Vangeline



Vangeline and Yuka C. Honda

Thursday, May 24 - Saturday May, 26

at 8pm

Gibney Dance: Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center at 280 Broadway
(Entrance at 53A Chambers Street)


May 24-26, 2018, renowned Japanese composer and musician Yuka C. Honda (Japan) and butoh dancer Vangeline (France), perform the World Premiere of Elsewhere.

Elsewhere celebrates the life of female Japanese pioneer Omoto Tannaker (1842-1916) and explores the themes of immigration and cultural hybridity from a female perspective, articulated through butoh language and improvised music.

Japanese Musician Yuka C. Honda (who is best known for her work with Cibo Matto, Sean Lennon and Yoko Ono) will perform improvised live music each night, and critically acclaimed butoh dancer Vangeline will perform a choreographed dance adapted to each evening’s music.

Hypnotizing and sensationally terrifying
— International Times

Tickets $15 in advance / $20 at the door
**Advance ticket sales close at 12pm on the day of the performance. 

Elsewhere is a story of migration and cultural encounters celebrating the life of Japanese pioneer Omoto Tannaker (1842-1916). In 1860, the Japanese woman joined the Great Dragon Circus on its tour around the world, but in December 1873, Omoto-san's infant Godie died in Sunderland, England. The tomb of Little Godie was the first Japanese monument erected in England in the 19th century.

Tomb of Little Godie, Omote's son who died in Sunderland, U.K

Tomb of Little Godie, Omote's son who died in Sunderland, U.K

A woman of courage, the Japanese performer Omoto Tannaker joins the rank of often-forgotten women athletes and pioneers, who left their countries of origin to defy cultural norms and expectations. She was one of the first Japanese women to obtain a passport; her life coincides with the onset of Japan’s modernization during the Edo Period. She married a foreigner (a Dutchman), and her children were of mixed race.

Omoto-San, a very skilled acrobat, "showed remarkable technique to slide down an 45 inclined rope" (Yoshioda). These impressive physical skills undoubtedly mirror her talents of adaptation, as well as shadow the numerous challenges she faced when integrating to the social fabric of her recipient community at the turn of the 19th Century.

This piece explores the themes of immigration and cultural hybridity from a female perspective, articulated through butoh language and improvised music. Women are often the unsung heroes of history; behind all significant cultural movements and changes in history, the lives of countless women can be found, as well as countless voices that have been silenced. As we challenge our collective memory by telling the stories of women pioneers, we can reconstruct our present and carve out a much-needed space to redefine the importance of women's participation in society.

“I met Vangeline in 2016”, Yuka C. Honda says, “It was striking to see her deeply moving butoh performance, and it also inspired me a lot that she is a French woman working on a school of dance that originated in my country, Japan. I felt the connection immediately, not only because she was pursuing Japanese art, but also that she embodies integration.

Coexisting with the ones with whom we don’t share values is one of the most difficult things to do. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by the difference. But these times are showing us the way to integrate, not separate. I think, to start, what we need to do is to make more connections with others. With this performance, we will coexist in one space, channeling a ghost of a woman, and creating a unified world without losing our duality.”

With this piece, musician/composer Yuka C. Honda and Butoh dancer Vangeline will explore their roots while investigating the idea of shared space in performance.

This work began as an artistic commission awarded by Surface Area Dance Theatre with support from The Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund UK.


This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council as well as the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


Photos by Michael Blase; Hair by Shingo; Make Up by Megumi Onishi.

Publicity by Michelle Tabnick.


Gibney Dance

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Gibney Dance, founded in 1991, is a trailblazing organization that brings the possibility of movement where it otherwise would not exist. Through its Center, Company and Community Action, Gibney Dance is “Making Space for Dance” in studios, on stages and in partnership with underserved shelters and schools. Gibney's POP: Performance Opportunity Project serves the dance community by providing space, support, and subsidized theater rentals for performances to non-profit companies and individual dance artists.