Conceived, choreographed and performed by Vangeline (2018)
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.
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.
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.
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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 and has been supported by the New York Department of Cultural Affairs and New York Council on the Arts.