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Episode #3: Interview with the Artist

1. What is your name and the name of your company?

I now work under my own name mainly: Keiko Ninomiya – (Which means “lucky child” and “Second temple”). In the past, when I did group pieces I used the company name “Yuragi Dance Project”.  I recently formed a traditional Balinese music orchestra called “Kayonan” – Toronto Gamelan Orchestra. Right now my goal is to have a “Kayonan” Balinese dance company. (“Kayonan” means “tree of Life”.)

 2. What is the exact location of where you are based?

I’m based in Toronto’s east end, and am originally from Saga, southern Japan. I perform in theatres, public schools, libraries, parks, the Consulate of Indonesia and some times on the street!

3. Tell us in 25 characters (twitter bio) who you are.

Find out more @  www.keiko.ca

4. Who has been the greatest influence in your life and why?

I left Japan when I was 16. Since then I’ve always been influenced by my life experiences, especially eating local food and being in nature is important for me to be inspired.

 5. What was the last book or film you read/saw?

Unfortunately my hometown still doesn’t have a movie theater so I never got in the habit of going to movies! Also, I prefer to see live performances; I love to see and feel the performers’ energy! Nowadays I attend musical events a lot more than reading or seeing films. I especially like the NEXUS Percussion Ensemble.

 6. Tell us a little about the work you are performing at d:mic/fac

It is a mixed dance of contemporary and Balinese dance vocabularies. I’ve been focusing on learning and understanding traditional Balinese dance movement for the last few years. Only now do I feel comfortable experimenting with it in a Contemporary context.

I’m so excited to collaborate with John Carnes – Music, Nami Sawada – Stage design, and Arun Srinivasan – Lighting Design.

7. Is Toronto a good place to perform in?

It is great because people here are accustomed to a thick soup of different cultures, so they are aware of, and expect things a little out of the ordinary. As a Balinese dancer, however, I actually dance more in Vancouver with a great group called Gamelan Gita Asmara.

8. What do you do without fail following a show or before a show, to prepare?

Since I started to do Balinese dance, my make-up and putting on the costumes has become a ritual; it usually takes a good 2 hours! I also make a traditional offering, a fruit display for good luck for the shows.

9. What is your favorite thing about Toronto?

I really enjoy the restaurants in Toronto! There are so many choices! And this is a byproduct of all the cultural diversity we have here. For example, I also I play music: Javanese and Balinese Gamelan, as well as Korean drumming. I really enjoy the cultural diversity of Toronto!

See Keiko’s Kanan-Kiri as part of the Baker Series, August 11th at 7 p.m., August 12th at 9 p.m. and August 13th at 4 p.m. To purchase tickets visit: www.artsboxoffice.ca or call: 416.504.7429. For the d:mic/fac brochure with more information click here!

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