Yoshiko Chuma

Yoshiko Chuma

Fellow: Awarded 1987
Field of Study: Choreography

Competition: US & Canada

Yoshiko Chuma, Conceptual Artist/Choreographer/Artistic Director of The School of Hard Knocks, has been a firebrand of New York’s downtown dance scene since arriving in 1978. She has created more than sixty-five full-length company works, commissions, and site-specific events for venues in thirty-five countries, constantly challenging the notion of performance for both audience and participant. Her work has been presented in such diverse venues as Joyce Theater, the Eiffel Tower, Newcastle Swing Bridge, City Center, Lincoln Center, the former National Theater of Sarajevo, the perimeter of the Hong Kong harbor, World Financial Center, and an ancient ruin in Macedonia, among many others. In addition to her Guggenheim Fellowship, she has received fellowships and awards for choreography and career work from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for Artists, Japan Foundation, Meet the Composer Choreographer/Composer Commission, and Philip Morris New Works. Chuma has led workshops and master classes and been commissioned to create new work in East and West Europe, Asia, Russia, and the U.S. She received her first BESSIE award for choreography in 1984, and earned four more for her productions in 1992 and 1998. In 2007 she received a BESSIE for Sustained Achievement. Chuma was Artistic Director of the Daghdha Dance Company in Limerick, Ireland, from 2000 to 2003 and is currently guest teacher/choreographer in the M.A. program in dance of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance.

Chuma’s performance work in Manhattan sites (working with various producing organizations) has included Art on the Beach (1980s), the steps of Federal Hall (1980s and 1990s), the World Financial Center, the Staten Island ferry, and in 2010, she was commissioned by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Sitelines program to create a new work for Lentspace.

Developed by Yoshiko Chuma, The School of Hard Knocks is a New York–based collective of choreographers, dancers, actors, singers, musicians, designers, and visual artists. Since premiering at the 1980 Venice Biennale (and in fact the company takes its name from the title of one of its performances there), this award-winning company has performed original works in the United States, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Over the course of the company’s history, more than 2,000 people have performed to wide critical acclaim under Chuma’s direction in theatrical dance concerts, street performances, grand parades, large-scale spectacles, and intimate living rooms. Since 2006 the company has been developing and presenting the ongoing dance/installation A Page Out of Order around the globe, including in Albania, Macedonia, Romania, Japan, India, and Jordan.


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