From June 15-17, we had our first creative residency with Chieko Kojima, Kodo’s principal dancer, and whom many would consider the foremost female taiko drummer in the world. Last summer, in 2014, we had the opportunity to present a short collaboration with Chieko at our Taiko Nation concerts, and after that, Chieko sent word to us that she was interested in working further with us, and we couldn’t say no to that!
We spent three days reshaping a show based on the “Dojoji” legend to fit with TP’s repertoire and artists. One of the primary changes from other versions of this show that she has done with other taiko groups is that Yumi, TP’s principal dancer/choreographer, will be playing a key character role in the production alongside Chieko.
Chieko recently completed a year-long photo book project where she evoked scenes of the story of Kiyohime throughout the seasons and throughout Sado Island. The book is quite stunning and beautiful.
The show will feature several TP songs adapted for the story, as well as new musical works. Of course, Chieko will perform many of her signature dances, including Hana Hachijo, and a dance with an umbrella which (in rehearsal) was breathtaking. I will never look at an umbrella quite the same way!
And I was happy to host Chieko at our house, where Amelia immediately took to “Aunty Chieko.” Also, Chieko was fascinated by Amelia’s play kitchen.
All in all, it was a successful residency, and we are super-excited about continuing to collaborate with Chieko and to present the completed work next October, 2016! Stay tuned for more updates!