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Aretha Aoki & Ryan MacDonald


Schaeffer Theatre

Adult: $35
Student/Senior/Educator: $15
A limited number of $5 tickets will be available to anyone while supplies last!

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IzumonookunI is a multidisciplinary and multigenerational dance inspired by Izumo no Okuni, 17th century founder of the Japanese dance-drama form, kabuki—a form that currently contains little trace of its female-centric, grassroots, counter-cultural origins. Choreographer Aretha Aoki and sound and visual designer Ryan MacDonald are re-imagining Okuni in conversation with post-punk/glam-goth/dark-wave within a hybrid, contemporary landscape of live synthesizer, digital design, dance, and taiko drumming by members of the first all-women identified taiko group in Canada, Sawagi Taiko.

“A boundary-breaking Japanese legend gets a modern punk makeover in IzumonookunI” – The Georgia Straight

Aretha Aoki is a choreographer, performer, and educator. Her work in collaboration with Ryan MacDonald has been performed nationally and internationally, with funding from the NPN Creation and Development funds, the Kindling Fund, Maine Arts Commission, New England Foundation for the Arts, and the Northampton Council for the Arts. She is currently dancing in overly merry by Heather Kravas.

Ryan Alexander MacDonald is a multimedia artist. He is a 2017 Bessie Award Nominee in “Outstanding Composition and Sound Design,” author of the story collection The Observable Characteristics of Organisms (FC2) and the winner of the American Short(er) Fiction Award. He has designed sound for choreographers such as Vanessa Anspaugh, Devynn Emory, and Tristan Koepke.


Aretha Aoki: Choreographer, Performer, Co-creator
Ryan MacDonald: Sound design and composition, Performer, Co-creator
Frankie Mayfield: Performer, Improviser
Anny Lin: Drummer, Performer
Linda Uyehara Hoffman: Drummer, Performer
Claire Fleury: Costume Designer
Gregg Carville: Lighting Designer
Lila Hurwitz Project Manager 

IzumonookunI is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Bates Dance Festival, The Chocolate Factory, Powell Street Festival Society and NPN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information:
Support for IzumonookunI is provided by The Kindling Fund, a grant program administered by SPACE as part of the Andy Warhol Foundation For The Visual Arts Regional Regranting Program. Funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts; and by the New England States 
Touring program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.
Supported through work-in-progress showings at Bates Dance Festival, Bowdoin College, Salem St. University, Roger Williams University, estrogenius at the Kraine Theater, the New England Now Dance Platform at ICA/Boston, the School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, Motion State Dance Festival, and the Powell St. Festival.
Photo by Colin Kelly

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