We are excited to have Be Bold Residency Artist Yuiko Masukawa performing in collaboration with Shriraam Theiventhiran for 'why we are, who we are' showing at the Bowery Theatre on 1 & 2 July. This dance performance is as an exploration and reflection in shaping the artists' identities. Both artists have trained in highly codified practices of ballet and Bharatanatyam and sought to explore the complex realities of classism, migration, gender and body through dance making and performance. Book now
We caught up with the Yuiko to chat about dance, collabs and more!
In one sentence describe what you do?
I am a choreographer making work that brings together the iconoclastic and inclusive ethos of contemporary performance with my long experience in ballet.
Which artists have influenced your practice and why?
Oh so many people. I am really inspired by the cohort of young ballet dancers and choreographers in New York, leading choreographic and social movements: Phil Chan, Justin Peck, Lauren Lovette, as well as more established choreographers Alexei Ratmansky and Christopher Wheeldon.
How important is making this work to your personal journey?
This work is incredibly personal. It has come out of a close friendship and deep discussions with Shriaam Theiventhiran about the role of classical forms in contemporary art practice and our shared migrant experiences.
What is the uniqueness of making this work in Brimbank and how is the community reflected in this dance work?
Having a diverse community in Brimbank means that there are many authentic expressions of culture and tradition. This work talks about the experience of migration, and also about what happens when traditional art forms come into contact with contemporary practice. So I think it grapples with ideas that many Brimbank residents are already experts in, and reflects some of that expertise.
What can people expect from why we are, are who we are? And how do you want them to feel after the show?
People can expect a contemporary dance performance, that is grounded in mine and Shriraam’s lifelong experience in ballet and second century Indian classical dance. I hope that audience’s see some unexpected relationships between the dance forms, see a celebration of our practices, and that they find a space to think about how we decide what is beautiful.
If you could collaborate with any artist – past or present – who would you collaborate with and why?
George Balanchine and Lauren Lovette. George Balanchine changed the world of ballet choreography, and I would be so interested to see what his approach would be with an understanding of the past 70 years of ballet choreographic history. I met Lauren Lovette at New York City Ballet in 2019, and I am always inspired by both her unbelievably beautiful dancing and independent voice choreographically.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Australia doesn’t have a strong culture of independent ballet practice. I hope in 10 years to have made strong contributions towards developing an independent ballet community, as well as living in a sustainable way by creating diverse, choreographic work.