Project

Solo
Intensional Particle

Choreography & Dance: Hiroaki Umeda
Image Direction: S20
Visual Research: Ludovic Burczykowski
Image Programming: Shoya Dozono
Video Editing: Guillaume Gravier
Sound & Lighting Design: S20

Production: S20
Coproduction: Le Manège – Scène Nationale, le manège.mons, la Gare Numérique – Jeumont, la Maison des Arts de Créteil, Stereolux – Nantes, Mapping Festival – Genéve


Year: 2015

A horizontal line projected on the screen tremors. Suddenly, for an instance, the line drastically multiplies as if to discharge its immanent energy. Similarly, when Umeda on stage trembles, covert energy withheld in his body is transmitted from the pelvis to the spine, to the arms, and lastly to the digital screen situated at the rear, in which the energy is visualized by curved lines reminiscent of a solar corona. When waterfalls and rivers are seen from afar, they seem to maintain static forms; yet, when one zooms into the same objects in a microscopic level, it is noticeable that they are consisted of ceaseless motions such as swells, waves, vortex and crosscurrents. Based on this creative concept, in Intensional Particle, Umeda reinterprets the particles in space as not static molecules but rather as 'active particles (or, mass points)'; and, visualizes, in space, the 'intensional force' that particles conceal.
On stage, the corporeal, the photic and the sonar forces converge in exponential speed, and, at one point, it reaches the critical point of energy. Yet, the extremity is not sustained for long as it once again reverts back to a temporal equanimity by going through phase transitions. The transient shapes of digital particles which conjure images of dissolution of solids, sublimation of liquids, and algorithms of heat transference, synchronizes and synthesizes with Umeda's movements – yielding an entire universe that dances like a living organism.
The audience will be experiencing a digital reality saturated with 'unstable stability': the raging streamlines vanishes after a minute, and the luminous waterfall vaporizes after a second. Therefore, despite the existence of an explosive canvas soaked with digital curvatures right before our eyes, it simultaneously gives us a fragile impression. When an evanescent expression per se of the body is embedded within the architecture of lights, which moves incessantly to maintain a split-second stability, sooner or later, the audience realizes that everything on stage will vanish in the next moment. As if to embody the ephemeral aesthetics underpinning the piece, here, on stage, the invisible forces come to the fore and the visual universe sink out of sight. Yet, the residue of heat still simmering after the experience of an informational overload will linger long in the audiences' bodies.

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Solo
split flow

Choreography & Dance: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound & Lighting Design: S20
Production: S20
Coproduction: Théâtre Louis Aragon, scène conventionnée danse de Tremblay-en-France, Stereolux – Nantes

Year: 2013, 2014

In this optical dance piece split flow, the artist juxtaposes two distinct physical conditions – dynamic and static – in order to visualize the duality within reality. The piece, which first appeared as a light installation commissioned by Van Abbenmuseun (Eindhoven, Netherlands) in 2011, was an experiment to express velocity with strokes of light. In the installation, a high luminance laser device was applied to project three primary colors of light – red, green, and blue – in split-second velocity, which, then, appeared to the human eye in the color of white. However, when the viewers walked through the static space lined with white bars, the achromtic light transiently split into three colors. Through the dynamic intervention of the body into static space, different reality came into existence. 

As corporeality was already an important factor in the installation, Umeda decided to create a dance piece from the same concept, and, moreover, to structure a new dance vocabulary out of it. In split flow dance version, Umeda first implants movements of various speed, strength and scale into his body, and second, develops a sleek dance flow that continues without a single interruption. In other words, on stage, Umeda brings into relief, with his movements, a dual reality consisted of microcosmic fragments on the one hand and macrocosmic continuity on the other. Through the rich movements layered with different spatiotemporal textures, the audience starts to sensate that the surrounding environment is filled, from time to time, with media of different mass - such as, water, oil and air. In split flow the audience encounters various realities that could only be visualized through the fecund corporeality of the dancer.

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Solo
Holistic Strata

Commissioned by: YCAM (Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media)

Choreography & Dance: Hiroaki Umeda
Image Direction: S20
Image Programming: S20, Satoru Higa, Yoshito Onishi
System Design: Satoru Higa, Yoshito Onishi
Sound Design: Satoshi Hama (YCAM), S20
Lighting Design: Fumie Takahara (YCAM), S20
Costume Design: Ryoko Katayama
Sensing Engineer: Yoshito Onishi, Richi Owaki (YCAM)
Video Engineer: Richi Owaki (YCAM)
Technical Coordination: Takuro Iwata (YCAM)

Year: 2011

Hiroaki Umeda treats all components on stage—bodies, lights, and sounds—as equivalent means of expression based on his post-anthropocentric perspective. In Holistic Strata, Umeda dissolves all constituting elements into the same information units (pixel) and, by doing so, he searches for an ‘axiom of kinetic movements’ that exists as a common denominator of all movements. Reminiscent of lightenings, rainfalls, tornadoes and other non-linear phenomenon existing in Nature, the particle assemblage on stage incessantly changes its form and, from time to time, synchronizes with the physical data generated by Umeda’s movements of muscles with the help of sensing technology. Engulfed in blistering storm of pixels, the dancer’s physicality is heavily influenced by the surrounding environment yet, in turn, his subtlest movements decisively act on the entire universe. ‘The individual stratum decides the holistic strata, and the holistic strata decide the individual stratum: there are two equal determinants in the world,’ says Umeda. And based on this philosophy, he creates a holistic living organism in which all movements transcendentally coalesce into a harmony. Immersed in this harmonious world, where all movements are expressed through pixels, the audiences’ senses are challenged to the limit: to experience sensations preceding the materialization of emotions.

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Solo
Haptic

Choreography & Dance: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound & Lighting Design: S20

Production: S20
Coproduction: Théâtre de Nîmes, Festival d’Automne à Paris


special thanks to Hervé Villechenoux

Year: 2008

Millions of photoreceptor cells existing in the human eye receive all photic stimulations existing in the external world. These stimulants are then transformed into hosts of different color signals through the output ratio of only three receptors: red, green and blue. Analogous to sounds, smells and temperatures, Umeda considers that the color is only ‘one of many stimulants received by the human body.’ In other words, Umeda regards colors as not fixed entities existing prior to physical perception, but rather as stimulants that first come into being through the function of the retina where three primary colors of light are compounded to attain precise cognizance of the color. In Haptic, the artist who has solely focused on monochromatic expression ventures into the realm of color and challenges the limit of the ‘haptic stimuli received by the eyes.’ On stage, violent yet elegant spectrums of colors are displayed and in accordance with this tonal transformation, the texture of Umeda’s physical movements—sometimes wildly and sometimes robotic—seamlessly and ceaselessly transform. Flooded with violent palette of colors, the retina of audience members are intensely ignited. From almost-invisible darkness to crash of excessively vibrant colors, the criticality of the human body as a receptor of light is challenged.

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Solo
Adapting for Distortion

Choreography & Dance: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound Design: S20
Image Design: Bertrand Baudry, S20
Production: S20
Coproduction : Le Studio – Le Manège, Scène Nationale Maubeuge, Romaeuropa Festival

Year: 2008

In his previous work Accumulated Layout; Umeda affirmed that physical textures on stage could be perceived differently depending on the delicate articulation of lights, even if the actual body movements are exactly the same. Continuing on with this optical experiment, Umeda further explores the possibilities of human visual recognition. On the floor, on the screen and on the left and right half of the dancer's body, numerous lines moving in different speed and in various directions are portrayed through multiple projectors. In this geometric space the myriad of lines crisscross and flicker—horizontally, vertically and diagonally—which ends up in generating a distorted vision of the dancer's body from the optical illusion. For example, in reverse proportion to the expansion of space between grid lines projected on the screen, the dancer's body miniaturizes; or, in accordance with the size shift of the grid pattern projected on the body, the perspective of the background is distorted. The title indicates the 'double illusion' specific to the human vision. In order to get on with our everyday life efficiently, human eyes often adjust the actual reality to a comprehensible reality. However, precisely because of this adjusting function, the reality becomes physically biased. That is, humans recognize a distorted reality by correcting the numerous distortions in reality. In this piece, various optical illusion patterns are used in order to render this complex receptive process and, to develop an experience that speaks to the audiences' neuronal recognition systems. Do human eyes perceive the correct reality, or, rather, is everything an illusion? The exactitude of human visual recognition is challenged.


Solo
Accumulated Layout

Choreography & Dance: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound & Lighting Design: S20
Production: S20 with La Chaufferie
Coproduction: Théâtre national de Chaillot

Year: 2007

By intricately designing the strength, the brightness, the speed and the refracting angle of lights, Umeda skillfully shifts the visual recognition of the audiences. In this piece, the texture of the dance movements change in accordance with the layout of lights, that shifts slightly from one temporal segment to the other. In one section, a violent oscillation of arms gain velocity in the serenely fading light; or, the kinetic movement of the dancer's body mechanically halts when suddenly exposed to a radiant light. 'The light and the move go hand in hand to compose various stimulation patterns,' says Umeda. With passage of time, these stimulation patterns gradually accumulate within the audiences' bodies: infusing in them ineffaceable residual images.

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Solo
Duo

Choreography & Dance: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound & Visual Design: S20

Year: 2004, Recreation: 2007

The dancer, Hiroaki Umeda, stands simultaneously in two distinct dimensions: in virtual space and in physical space. In blank expression, the two dancers start off by repeating the balletic movement of port de bras in mechanical accuracy. Gradually, the two increase their heat and speed to energetically develop into what could be considered as a deconstructed hip-hop, accompanied by equally vibrant electronic sounds. At one time, the avatar dancing in the digital sphere judders affected by an over-amplified bass sound. At other times, it dissolves into countless pixels by synchronizing to the electronic snarl of sounds. In order to question the meaning of corporeality in contemporary society ever so flooded with virtual images, Umeda juxtaposes on stage the virtual body and the living body. And by adopting the real-time capturing technology, he presents to the audience two dancers who move in homogenous texture almost devoid of a time rag. What kind of movements and effects are possible for the one and impossible for the other? From a duet between the real and the virtual, these variances are investigated.

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Solo
while going to a condition

Choreography & Dance: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound & Visual Design: S20

Year: 2002

Light, sound, image and body—all elements coalesce into a hybrid unity to exhibit what the artist calls as the 'pictures of distinct energy state.' Already in his first internationally successful solo work, the gist of Umeda's artistic principle is present. From the outset of his career, Umeda, a photographer-turned-choreographer, aspired to 'present dance pieces as two-dimensional graphic art.' In order to achieve this, in this early work, the artist allocates upstage an electronic canvas of light that flickers in sizzling velocity. Geometric and monochrome, this highly abstract image is designed, purposefully, to be 'perceived by peripheral vision.' Now and again, this background image synchronizes with the digitally generated drum sound reminiscent of primordial rhythms, and also syncs with the frenetic yet lyrical movements of the dancer fixed center stage. In the course of time, together with the synthetic coalition of elements, the energetic value of the space drastically elevates to reach the critical point of energy density. Umeda sets off from the most general movement—standing—then gradually picks up momentum and, at one point, transcends the ordinary physical status to attain an extraordinary physical aura. From ordinary to extraordinary, then back to ordinary again. The audience will be experiencing a ceaseless transformation of distinct forms of physical states.

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Superkinesis
4. temporal pattern

Choreography: Hiroaki Umeda
Dance: Hema Sundari Vellaluru, Nget Rady (Amrita Performing Arts), Yu-Jung CHENG
Sound & Lighting Design: S20
Image Direction: S20
Image Programming: Shoya Dozono

Co-commissioned by National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Centre, Taiwan and Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore

Project Concept: Aichi Arts Centre, Japan; Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay, Singapore: National Chiang Kai-Shek Cultural Centre, Taiwan; S20, Japan


Year: 2013

In the first phase of the Superkinesis project, the main objective was to develop a set of kinetic vocabularies by implanting Umeda’s physical method to the culturally distinct dancers’ bodies. In the second exper- imental phase, which commences from this work, the choreographer not only focuses on these vocabularies formed through individual bod- ies, but also, and more importantly, puts an emphasis on visualizing the emergent ‘system’ that materializes from the interrelationship of multiple dancers. In order to develop this systematic integrity on stage, however, Umeda does not give orders to the dancers to move visually in unison. Rather, the choreographer treasures the individual cultural backgrounds of the dancers—Taiwan, India and Cambodia—by asking them to maintain their respective forms of traditional dancing, how- ever by unifying their breaths. By delicately choreographing, not the movements, but the rhythm and speed of the breaths to three appar- ently different dancers, Umeda presents, on stage, an emergent system, or, various temporal patterns, that retains qualitative integrity. Yet, the choreographer simultaneously challenges the audiences by suspending this temporal integrity by projecting numerous grid patterns of different density and velocity. That is, Umeda inserts number of spatial fissures that interrupts the perceptual integrity of the audiences who are prone to assume the firmly established boundary of an individual body, and the tightly-knit unity of three dancers. Indeed, the three dancers share the same temporal pattern on stage, however, by maintaining their dis- tinct cultural and physical backgrounds. The outcome is miles away from monotonously disciplined mechanical unity. Superkinesis is a concept that attempts to go beyond the boundary of dance. In this pro- ject, Umeda not only seeks to develop a choreographic system which is highly adaptable to diverse styles of dance, but, through it, he also seeks a social system that allows greater freedom and diversity in life.

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Superkinesis
3. isolation

Choreography: Hiroaki Umeda
Dance: Lucia Albini, Ana Campos Calvo, Maud de la Purification
Sound & Lighting Design: S20
Production : S20, Hebbel am Ufer, Berlin
Coproduction : Tanzhaus Düsseldorf, Tanzquartier Wien

Year: 2011

The aesthetics of classical ballet begin and end with maintaining a linear order—allocating all parts of the body on top of each other. In the third work of his choreographic project, Hiroaki Umeda segmentalize the danc- ers’ bodies into heads, chests, waists, legs, feet and so on, by inserting fissures of isolation to the dancers’ ascending linearity that has become their second nature through years of training. Umeda defines isolation as ‘a technique to recognize tension and relaxation, and having full control over these forces.’ For example, by relaxing the entire body and applying a triggering force to one side of the shoulder joint, one can draw a curve reminiscent of a molluscan by using only the shoulder below; conversely, by solidifying all the body through tension and relaxing only the neck above, one can freely draw a circle by surrendering your head to the grav- ity force. Isolation is one of the basic techniques of Umeda’s Kinetic Force Method. By thoroughly implanting this technique to the substratum of the body preceding the acquisition of the language of the Western dance, the choreographer demonstrates that, in dance, there still exist countless undiscovered vocabularies; rejecting the notion that all vocabularies has been already discovered and that choreography is merely a means of playing with the permutations. Illuminated by the light, the dancers firstly seem like a cross-fertilized artificial species. However, when audiences attentively observe these species drawing eerie and elegant curves with their bodies, the physical language of ballet, which considers order of linearity as an absolute imperative, conversely starts to look like a more artificial language. Unlike ballet, Umeda does not force the dancers to adapt their bodies to the rigidly perfected physical system. Rather, he permits individual differences and seeks to develop a universal language that underlies all those disparities. Through this bold experiment of both acknowledging individualities and coexisting with billions, dance vocabu- laries and an ensuing system, which go hand in hand with the extraordi- nary evolution of the information society will ultimately emerge.

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Superkinesis
2. repulsion

Choreography: Hiroaki Umeda
Dance: Daravirak Bun, Guillaume Yvener, Sofiane Tiet
Sound & Lighting Design: S20
Production: Théâtre de Suresnes Jean Vilar – Suresnes Cité Danse 2010
Coproduction: Maison de la Musique de Nanterre, France


Year: 2010

The pursuit to combine the aesthetics of street dance and contempo- rary dance has already been in vogue for nearly a decade. However, there are not many pieces, which strictly focus on the ‘functionali- ty of the movement,’ apart from the socio-cultural context and the pop-ornaments attached on the surface. In his second choreographic project, Umeda strips all these stylistic embellishments and sheds light on what remains as the bone structure of the hip-hop movement: the force of repulsion. Repulsion is not simply one of the core forces ap- plied in hip-hop, but also the basic force Umeda uses in his Kinetic Force Method. Realizing that on the foundational level, there exists a common movement system operating both in his method and hip-hop, Umeda embarks on an experimental journey of thoroughly analyzing the force of repulsion. By allocating different types of repulsion—in velocity, force, and amplitude—to the three dancers’ bodies, Umeda attempts to choreographs not the ‘shape’ but the ‘force.’ When danc- ers try to correctly obtain these forces, they inevitably reveal slight dif- ferences in form, stemming from their distinct body structures. How- ever, transcending these variances, the common force—repulsion—is visualized dynamically by the three dancers. What is extracted from the different bodies is the force that resides beneath the extravagant egos and ornaments of hip-hop. On stage, displayed, is the force of ‘clarified repulsion.’

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Superkinesis
1. centrifugal

Choreography: Hiroaki Umeda
Dance: Satu Rekola, Milla Koistinen, Natsuko Kuroda
Sound & Lighting Design: S20
Production : S20, ST Spot Yokohama Red Brick House, 2009


Year: 2009

In the first work of ‘Superkinesis’—his ten-year choreography project— the choreographer focuses, through and through, on the fundamen- tal principle of Kinetic Force Method; namely, the centrifugal force. On stage, three female dancers, trained in the field of contemporary dance, surrender their bodies to this specific natural force. And by op- timally harnessing that force, they smoothly revolve their hips, arms, necks, torsos, and through the repetition of movements, their range of motion gradually expands. Ultimately, the revolving movements reach the level of velocity where bodies could be perceived as sheer turning objects. In other words, ‘bodies are materialized.’ However, this is not to say that Umeda is trying to control the dancers mechanically. Con- versely, the choreographer asks them to never focus on unifying their external forms, but rather to concentrate delicately on sensing their internal forces. Which, then, allows the dancers to construct slightly different movements in form. By knowingly acknowledging these sub- tle distinctions, the audiences, in turn, will come to realize that among all the different moves of the dancers, there exists a latent similarity, which lies beneath as the common ground of movements, that is, the centrifugal force. The dancers let go of their mental inhibitions and they synchronize their bodies to the repetitive instrumental sound. Turning and turning like a whirling rope, and exceeds the supposed limitations of movements.

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Installation
Intensional Particle Dome Installation

Direction: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound Design: S20
Video Editing: Guillaume Gravier
Visual Research: Ludovic Burczykowski
Image Programming: Shoya Dozono
Production: S20
Coproduction: S20, as part of Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture – Digital projects

Year: 2015

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Installation
kinesis #1 – screen field

Direction: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound Design: S20
Image Direction: S20
Image Programming: Yoshito Onishi, Shoya Dozono
Video Editing: Seiji Ando
Production: S20
Coproduction: Théâtre Louis Aragon, scène conventionnée danse de Tremblay-en-France, Cinéma Jacques Tati, Mons 2015, European Capital of Culture – Digital projects


Year: 2016









kinesis #1 – screen fieldkinesis #1 – screen fieldkinesis #1 – screen field
Installation
split flow Installation

Presented in GLOW 2011
Commissioned by Baltan Laboratories and the Van Abbemuseum
Direcition: Hiroaki Umeda


Year: 2011

Festival GLOW
Baltan Laboratories
Van Abbemuseum

In this optical dance piece split flow, the artist juxtaposes two distinct physical conditions, dynamic and static, in order to visualize the du- ality within reality. This piece, which first appeared as a light installa- tion commissioned by Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, Netherlands) in 2011, is an experiment in expressing velocity with strokes of light. In the installation, a high luminance laser device was applied to project three primary colors of light—red, green, and blue—in split-second velocity, which then appeared to human eyes in the color of white. However, when the viewers walked through that static space lined with white bars, the achromatic light transiently split into three colors. Through the dynamic intervention of the body into the static space, a different reality came into existence. Umeda demonstrates through this piece that there exist a reality that could only be visualized when movements interfere into space.

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Installation
Holistic Strata Installation

Direction: Hiroaki Umeda
Image Direction: S20
Image Programming: S20, Satoru Higa, Yoshito Onishi System Design: Satoru Higa, Yoshito Onishi

Year: 2011

Umeda asserts that all movements could be represented by dots of pix- els. Whether it is a lightening, a fountain, or a tornado, once these nat- ural phenomena are reduced to minimum units, an extremely complex and refined form of movement that cannot be conceived by humans is brought into relief. On the four walls surrounding the audience—left, right, front and the floor screen—sublime group of pixels, reminiscent of non-linear phenomena existing in Nature, are projected. Through the accurately programmed space of photic stimuli, which encompass- es the spectators from all directions, the artist attempts to act on the audiences’ bodies sometimes forcefully and other times delicately to shake the very core of their bodies. By ingeniously choreographing the free moving high-speed pixels, Umeda conveys an enormous amount of calculated stimuli, which directly affect the audience’s physicality. The audience of this immersive installation will be experiencing rather than viewing; they will be experiencing the choreographed space.

Holistic Strata Installation Holistic Strata Installation Holistic Strata Installation Holistic Strata Installation
Installation
Haptic Installation

Direction: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound & Image Design: S20

Year: 2010

http://vimeo.com/25355324 https://expoparanoia.wordpress.com/2011/05/27/hiroaki-umeda-holistic-strata-installation-haptic-version-installation/

The dance version Haptic (2008) was created on the basis of Umeda’s thoughts considering ‘colors as a form of haptic stimuli.’ By filling the stage with extreme shades, the artist challenges the audience’s body— the receptive apparatus of light—to the critical point. Deriving from the same concept, Umeda investigates further in this installation, the possibility of physically perceiving colors. When one shuts their eyes, the world usually turns pitch-black. However in this piece, when the audience is guided to a little dark room to watch a video installation with their eyes closed for two-and-a-half minutes, he or she will be clearly seeing monochrome or color lines behind their eyelids. Syn- chronizing with the violent electronic sounds heard from the headsets, the grid lines are physically perceived as a form of photic stimuli. After going through the seemingly paradoxical experience of seeing with eyes closed, the audience starts questioning why he or she has observed light in the darkness. They become dazed by the disparity between ‘cognition’ and ‘experience.’ Umeda, in fact, considers this work as a dance piece, since it provides the audience a physical ex- perience of chromatic vision. Commissioned by Aichi Triennale, the Monochrome version and the Color version of this video installation were presented together.

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Commissioned Work
Drives

Choreographer: Hiroaki Umeda
Performer: Viktória Dányi, Ádám Frigy, Nóra Horváth, Emese Nagy, Csaba Varga
Sound: Hiroaki Umeda
Creative programming, video: Ágoston Nagy, XORXOR: Zoltán Csik-Kovács, Gáspár Hajdú, Gábor Papp
Light: Hiroaki Umeda, Zoltán Nagy
Production management: Anikó Rácz


Special thanks to: Suzuko Tanoiri, Kettinger Zoltán, Samu Bence, Csík-Kovács Zoltán

Coproduction partners: Trafó House of Contemporary Arts, Sziget Festival, Pro Progressione Bt,
Supporters: Japan Foundation, Workshiop Foundation

Year: 2016










Drives Drives
Commissioned Work
Asia Superposition
"Collaboration Project of Asia Dance Companay"
Consistency over Constancy

Choreography: Hiroaki Umeda
Sound & Lighting Design: S20

Dancer: Asia Dance Company

Year: 2015
















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Commissioned Work
Peripheral Stream
Commissioned by L.A. Dance Project

Choreography: Hiroaki Umeda
Dance: Julia Eichten*, Morgan Lugo, Nathan Makolandra, Rachelle Rafailedes
Sound Design: Hiroaki Umeda
Image Direction: S20
Image Programming: Shoya Dozono, Hiroki Kaji


Year: 2014

http://www.ladanceproject.com/repertory/peripheral_stream

Peripheral Stream was created for L.A. Dance Project led by Benjamin Millepied, the newly appointed director of Paris Opera Ballet. Umeda is the first Japanese choreographer to be commissioned by his com- pany. In this piece, the choreographer starts from a hypothesis that ‘the core of all movements cannot be defined physically.’ For instance, when one observes a large river in close-ups, he or she will realize that it is actually consisted of countless peripheral streams. Similarly, when one watches the stage, the audience readily assumes that he or she is enjoying a dance performance. But actually, what they see is only the peripheral streams generated from the gravity point of the dancers, and, also the flow of accompanying electronic music and digital video. The audience cannot realize the origin of movement, that is, main ‘flow of force’ deriving from the dancers. In other words, what are vis- ualized on stage are only the peripheral streams. In order to embody this aesthetic concept, the four dancers on stage do not focus on the ornamental ‘poses,’ but rather, attempt to generate multiple different ‘flows’ from their gravity points. These flows guide the audience’s vi- sion towards their body parts, to the unity of the four dancers, and, also to the background digital images reminiscent of physical phe- nomena. From time to time, the jittering of their torsos synchronizes with the back image, which makes us think that the faintest change of a human may transform the whole universe. Indeed, the physical language that the choreographer adopts in this piece differs from clas- sical ballet in terms of the position of the gravity point, the manner of movements, and even the way the dancers breathe. However, Umeda is not trying to abandon the aesthetics of ballet. On the contrary, he is striving to embed the basic ‘movement method’ developed through his physicality to the underlayer of all ‘dance method,’ which may in turn strengthen and enrich the vocabulary of ballet. Umeda’s initial endeavor for creating this ballet language of the future can be ob- served through this piece.

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Commissioned Work
Interfacial Scale
Commissioned by GöteborgsOperans Danskompani

Choreography, Set, Costume and Light Design: Hiroaki Umeda
Conductor: Max Renne
Composer: Yoshihiro Hanno (aka RADIQ)
Asst. Choreography: Alexandre Bourdat
Video and System Programming: Shoya Dozono
Dance: GöteborgsOperans Danskompani

Year: 2013

http://en.opera.se/forestallningar/out-of-mind-2013-2014/

In autumn 2013, the prestigious GötenborgsOperans Danskompani has commissioned Hiroaki Umeda to create a full-scale dance piece for their company. Together with the Japanese composer Yoshihiro Hannno, this piece was developed for eleven dancers and a twenty-piece orchestra. The main concept of the piece lies in challenging all the fixed bound- aries in dance. The artist questions: ‘Where is the boundary between lighting/body, choreography/dance and music/lighting?’ And, through the choreography, he redefines the boundary between the two elements, or more precisely, transforms the interfacial scale between them. For ex- ample, when a vibrant blue light is projected on stage, the dancer’s body, wrapped in a costume splashed with blue paint, becomes partially invisi- ble and its form becomes distorted. How should we discern the interface between lighting and body? Another example could be observed through Umeda’s Kinetic Force Method. During the rehearsal period, Umeda in- stilled his method to the core of dancers’ bodies until it became a ‘tacit knowledge.’ So, even when the dancers moved freely later on stage, the audience would recognize a kind of order existing among dancers. Just like flock of birds and colony of insects, the ‘superorganism’ of the group is maintained despite the different individual movements. Then, how should we determine the interface between autonomous dancing and heteronomous choreography? In order to realize his artistic philosophy that aims to choreograph all elements on stage equally, Umeda integrally controls the movements, lightings, sounds and images by a specific com- puter system. Through this system, Umeda designs groupings of different elements in order to aptly control the visual cognition of the audience. At times, the tranquil lighting and the provocative percussion collide, and in other times, the electronically-enhanced environment and the individual corporeality crash. However, at the end, everything on stage appears as one unity. ‘I want to integrally choreograph, not only bodies but also time and space’ says Umeda. Based on this post-anthropocentric philosophy, he attempts to redefine ‘the subjectivity of the body’ that the classical ballet has long maintained. With great respect to the aesthetics of ballet, Umeda questions the fixed borderline between the environment and the body in the digital age, in order to dynamically expand the possibility of ballet in the future.

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