Dancing Extraordinaire: Japanese Entertainers under the Pandemic
November 30, 2022 - February 25, 2023
Closed on Sundays
Feb. 11, 18, 20
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles Office
(5700 Wilshire Blvd.,#100, Los Angeles, CA 90036)
About the Exhibition:
“Dancing Extraordinaire” documents entertainment during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The entertainment world was dealt a big blow by the pandemic. One after another, theaters were forced to either postpone or outright cancel performances. Beginning in July 2020, freelance photographers (Arisa Kasai, Shizuka Minami and Maiko Miyagawa) took portraits of 18 groups of artists over a period of about 7 months guided by their concept of “capturing the ‘present’ during the pandemic, characterized by the way in which the subjects’ routines meshed with the demands of the moment”. The photographers captured these artists’ emotions and their performances that would have otherwise never come to light, but were forged in a state of emergency which rekindled their passions for the stage.
When the first state of emergency was declared, all of our jobs were put on hold. But, since we like taking pictures so much, we decided we wouldn’t stop taking them just because there was no work at the moment. So, after giving it some thought, we decided to photograph these artists dancing behind the scenes in their homes, in their rehearsal rooms, etc.
The artists took a positive approach to this project. For some, it was exciting to be photographed at home for the first time, and for others, it just felt good to perform in front of someone again.
The Japan Foundation, Los Angeles hopes these works will remind you just how much fun the entertainment world is.
(From left to right) Arisa Kasai, Maiko Miyagawa, Shizuka Minami
Born in Kanagawa, Japan in 1980. She graduated from the Department of English Language and Literature at Aoyama Gakuin Women’s Junior College and the Department of Photography of the College of Liberal and Creative Arts at San Francisco State University. After returning to Japan, she apprenticed for portrait photographer Eiichiro Sakata. Has been working freelance photographer since 2010. Based in Tokyo, she is widely active with a special focus on portrait, travel, fashion and commercial photography.
Tokyo-based photographer, originally from Kanagawa, Japan. After graduating from the Photography Department of Nihon University College of Art in 2001, she undertook an apprenticeship with leading ballet photographer Hidemi Seto. Since launching her career as a freelance photographer in 2005, she has specialized in two main areas: stage photography—documenting theatrical plays, concerts, and dance performances—and portraits. From 2006 through 2021, she was the official photographer for two theater companies directed by the late Yukio Ninagawa: Saitama Gold Theater, a senior citizens performance group; and Saitama Next Theatre, a development troupe for young actors. Chronicling Ninagawa’s late-life projects from inception to completion over the course of 15 years has formed an integral part of her lifework. She has also been involved in the Earth Celebration by the taiko performing arts group KODO for 20 years as an official photographer. She is a member of the Japan Stage Photographers Society.
Born in Tokyo, Japan in 1979. She graduated from the Department of Aerospace Engineering of Tokai University. Thereafter she completed a 1-year program of Photo Journalism and Documentary Photography at The International Center of Photography in New York in 2005. She has photographed professional sporting events like LPGA, MLB among others since December 2008.