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Produced by Kyoko Takenaka


Shomei Day 1
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Shomei: CHAOS
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About Hiroko Tamano


Born at Fukuoka prefecture in Japan, Hiroko entered Butoh founder: Hijikata Tatsumi's studio in 1972. Her partner Koichi Tamano's performance in 1976 was the first appearance of Butoh in the United States. She received a lifetime achievement award for her work in butoh this year and continues to teach, choreograph, and perform today.  Koichi and Hiroko Tamano were among the very first to perform Ankoku Butoh, which translates literally to “the dance of darkness.” The genre emerged in the late 1950s in post-atomic bomb Japan. It was created by two dancers, Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata, who sought to create a new, uniquely Japanese form of expression that completely rebelled against the Establishment, and both Eastern tradition and Western styles. Koichi joined Hijikata’s dance company in the 1960s, as did Hiroko in 1972. Hijikata encouraged the Tamanos to introduce Butoh to the United States. The Tamanos performance in the 1976 “Japan Now” exhibition at SFMOMA was the first Butoh seen by an American audience and made a big sensation. The Tamanos moved their dance company Harupin-Ha from Tokyo to Berkeley, California in 1979 with the blessings and encouragement of their teacher. For decades the Tamanos lead dance workshops in Berkeley and also operated the restaurants, Country Station and Tamasei, which served as meeting places for the dance and theater communities of the Bay Area. They are known for their holistic approach to the art of Butoh. The Mayor of the City of Berkeley, California declared March 28th, 2017 to be the “Koichi and Hiroko Tamano Day.”

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