Yasuko Yokoshi

Yasuko Yokoshi

Fellow: Awarded 2009
Field of Study: Choreography

Competition: US & Canada


Japanese-born, New York City-based choreographer Yasuko Yokoshi studied contemporary dance at Hampshire College (B.A., 1986), acting and directing at the Experimental Theater Wing at New York University, and the Japanese martial art Kendo, in which she has a first-degree black belt. Her eclectic background may account for the unique blend of cultures, media, and movement in her works. Ms. Yokoshi has been honored with two New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Awards, for Shuffle (2003) and what we when we (2005-06), an idiosyncratic take on Raymond Carver’s short story “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love,” which she performed in collaboration with Masumi Seyama, a master teacher of Kabuki Su-odori dance; her autobiography Once in a Lifetime received the Japanese Ogai Mori Literary Award (1990); and her film, Last Sokoshi, garnered the Grand Prize at the Luminous Video Photography Competition (1990). Reframe the Framework DDD (2007-08), which premiered at The Kitchen in New York City, combined dance, documentary video, and dramatic performances.

Although her mastery of so many arts is noteworthy, it is as a choreographer and dancer that she is best known. She has been a resident artist at the Movement Research (1996-97), the Brooklyn Arts Exchange (1998-2000), Dans-in-Kortrijk, Belgium (2001), Joyce Soho (2002), and at the Djerassi Art Center. She has also been a choreographer fellow at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (2007). Ms. Yokoshi has been a guest teacher at Brattleboro School of Dance in Vermont (2006-08) and is a guest teacher at Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has been supported by the American-Netherlands Foundation (2001), Jerome Foundation (2001, 2002, 2006), and Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund (2005, 2007), among other institutions.

Among her choreographic works are Tendencies and Strategies (1997-98), Travel Theory (1999-2002), which led to her selection by Dance magazine as one of its “25 Choreographers to Watch in 2001”; Royal Madness (2001), which she created in collaboration with Dutch choreographer Gonnie Heggen; and Lost (2006), a site-specific work commissioned and presented by Dancing in the Streets, Governor’s Island, New York. During her Guggenheim Fellowship term, Ms. Yokoshi will again be collaborating with Masumi Seyama in creating Tyler Tyler, which explores how dancers trained in one strict dance style interpret the techniques of another school of dance. She will be working with traditional Japanese and contemporary American dancers in this study of cultural identity and transmission.

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