She founded her own dance troupe, and at the same time as being a representative as a dancer, she also undertook full responsibility for the management of the organization. She has trained group members, and created and performed numerous original pieces, in a career that has spanned over 60 years. Practical business sense and management skills are needed for large scale public productions, which are complete works of art that freely incorporate music, art and lighting. Moreover, ever since opening her first classroom when she was 22 years old, she has contributed to helping popularize modern dance by teaching at ten locations within the prefecture, including Hamadori. In 2003, she received a prestigious award from the modern dance world for her production that was a commemoration of her 50 years of dance, in recognition of the fact that she had reached maturity as a master dancer.

 

Five years ago, on March 11, the studio in Namie had been rocked by intense tremors. The damage was only slight, but it was situated approximately 10 km away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. This led to the abandoning of her hometown and a flight to safety. The Hamadori classrooms were closed, and many of the students’ families moved out from the area. She personally spent her time as an evacuee in Toyama.

 

Nevertheless, she started up again as a dancer. Thanks to her connections and support through dancing, she was blessed with being able to perform at theatres in every region of the country, from the summer of that same year. Two years after the earthquake disaster, she had a traditional Japanese restaurant in the suburb of Koriyama converted into her headquarters. The following year she opened a production in Iwaki, to commemorate her 60 years as a dancer. Is it adversity itself that arouses people’s desire to express themselves? She, along with her troupe members and students too, all burn with a passion for tomorrow. We can look forward to a performance centered around her own dance, in her production to celebrate her 65th anniversary as a dancer.

 

Keiko Yokoyama

Born in Namie in 1933. Received the Takuya Eguchi Award in 2003. Won the Matsuyama Ballet Company Art Award in 2009, and was awarded the Award of Regional Cultural Merit by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in 2012. Decorated with the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays in 2015. Won numerous awards at nationwide dancing competitions. Consultant, (General Incorporated Association) Contemporary Dance Association of Japan. Advisor, Fukushima Western-style Dance Federation.

Translation: Media Research, Inc.

Spirit and Spine
‘Kitohone’

created by
THE SPIRIT AND SPINE
CREATIVE FORCE,Tokyo

project direction
Gaku Okubo (ISUKE INC.)
photography
Yoshitomo Tanaka (Vivot)
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ISUKE INC. and ICA
title calligraphy
Kenryo Hara (Kikkokai)