Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Produced & Written by Ren Gyo Soh
Directed & Choreographed by: Yoshiko Usami / Yokko

Nominations: Outstanding Actress in a Featured Role – Yoshiko Usami, Outstanding Choreography/Movement & Outstanding Director – Yokko; Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play

About Ren Gyo Soh
Creates theatrical productions that builds cultural bridges and promotes awareness of environmental issues.

Photos by Krzy Sien
About Shinka
Shinka explores the mystery of living beings. We are born; we grow, struggle, suffer, and finish the cycle. A life cycle. We create, we destroy, and again create. Mankind has developed technology rapidly; and with that development, the pace of life has begun to move with increased speed. Now, everything is realized so quickly by these digital networks. So many things happen at the same time. We swim in a digital ocean in this modern time. With this increased digital connection we have started to lose our personal connections. More and more we disconnect with others, our landscapes, and ourselves. We disconnect from our own bodies, minds, and souls. Through Shinka, we research how this modern civilization and the development of technology have affected our minds. After all of the destruction, life begins anew. Creation begins again. Evolution continues. By using Japanese Butoh, Trish Arnold Movement, contemporary dance, and other theatrical elements, we express life itself, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually through Shinka. Shin-Ka is a Japanese word. The meaning of the word changes depending on the Japanese characters you choose. The meanings include Evolution, Truth, Deepening.

What first attracted you to working on this subject matter?
Yoshiko: I am interested in "growth,” "change" and "transformation, as a choreographer, I wanted to tell a short through movement this topic. When I developed the short piece to the full -length, I corporate more environmental issue which I have been interested in.

"A green bird" which is my short dance piece. I was interested in "breaking through" own comfort zone to be born. A baby bird struggles to be born and breaking the shell and learn to fly. It is simple, but it reflects our own spiritual growth.

What was your favorite part of working on this production?
Yoshiko: Working with my performers. That is the best. it was such a breathtaking moment to witness my performers to transform their own journeys.

What was the most challenging aspect of this production for you?
Yoshiko: For 45 minutes I was stillness inside of the egg shell. That is the challenging part, because I get panic if I don't manage my mental state correctly every time.

What was the weirdest part about your experience with this production?
Yoshiko: Well. I go inside of an egg shell before the show, and so my assistant director and tech director/lighting designer will be in charge for the show, and I cannot do anything as a director before the show. I had to meditate and calm and stillness. The opening night was tough. The show starts a bit late, and I was panicking inside of the egg (as a director/choreographer), but I could not do anything, because I was an egg on stage. Eventually I had to give up panicking and choose to focus and calm. (but to be honest, I was really close to losing my mind)

What is the best thing about working with this company of artists?
Yoshiko:Transformative experience.

Did you gain any insight or learn anything new while working on this project?
Yoshiko:Team Work. We are not on stage or off stage alone. Its team work. It's collaboration. Blessing to work with beautiful people.

What does receiving this nomination mean to you?

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