New performance at the V&A Friday Late


I’m delighted to share my new performance Mugen | 夢幻 will be presented as part of the V&A Friday Late NEO JAPONICA this Friday.

Location: Japan Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum
Date: Friday 27 May 2016
Performance times: 19.45, 20.30, 21.00


Mugen / 夢幻
A contemporary dance performance inspired by Japanese performative practice of worship and its relationship to historical ceremonial rituals, which raises questions about conformity and self-expression. Accompanied live by bird, voice, Kora and percussion. 

Choreography: Juri Nishi
Dancers: Monica Brunello and Madeleine Jonsson
Musicians: Elizabeth O’Connor and Gary Bridgewood
Costume consultant: Kasper Hansen
Special thanks to: Josephine Rout, Michelle Luk and Kvadrat for their support

For full list of artists and performances visit:

Being and Matter
a performance in response to the work of Shigeo Anzaï 安斎 重男
White Rainbow Gallery on Thursday 26th November, 6-8pm
as part of Fitzrovia Late, Open to all

Free Admission, RSVP White Rainbow Gallery to book your place

I am delighted to announce I will be presenting a new contemporary dance composition Being and Matter in response to the work of Shigeo Anzaï. Being and Matter draws inspiration from the Mono-ha artists and ‘Between Man and Matter’, Yusuke Nakahara’s concept for the 10th Tokyo Biennale, 1970. It is an enquiry into the relationship between matter, body and space. The idea of documentation will also be used to form the choreography. Like the ‘Happenings’ of the 1970’s, the performance takes an open format, shifting in response to chance, time and place. The audience is invited to witness the process of choreographic composition.

Christo_10th_tokyo-biennale_70_between_man-and_matter_tokyo_metropolitan_art_museumRichard Serra

Christo, The 10th Tokyo Biennale ’70 – Between Man and Matter, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum May, 1970
Richard Serra, The 10th Tokyo Biennale ’70 – Between Man and Matter, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum May, 1970
Photographer Shigeo Anzaï

White Rainbow
47 Mortimer Street
London W1W 8HJ
020 7637 1050

About Shigeo Anzaï and the exhibition Index I:
White Rainbow is pleased to announce two forthcoming exhibitions by renowned photographer Shigeo Anzaï (b.1939). This is the first time Anzaï, whose work includes portraits of David Hockney, Yayoi Kusama, and Joseph Beuys, will have a solo show in the UK. The two exhibitions, Index I (18 November 2015 – 23 January 2016) and Index II (17 May – 25 June 2016), will each present a different facet to his practice. Index I will focus on Anzaï’s role as a witness to the landmark exhibitions, events and happenings of the avant-garde in Japan 1970–6, whilst Index II will showcase his portraits of celebrated artists over his long career.

Anzaï’s photographs are not just records of historical importance, but also serve as valuable documentation of the artists themselves, their performances and their work processes. His detailed recordings of the Japanese art scene led to a largescale solo exhibition, Personal Photo Archives, held at the National Art Center, Tokyo in 2007.

Shigeo Anzaï’s involvement with contemporary art began in the 1960s. After studying applied chemistry and obtaining a job at a research lab, Anzaï began teaching himself about contemporary art, producing paintings and exhibiting them at solo and group shows. He was thirty when he first picked up a camera and began the oeuvre of work he has since become known for. Whilst working for the 10th Tokyo Biennale ‘70, he was appointed by renowned critic Yusuke Nakahara to assist Carl Andre, Daniel Buren, and Richard Serra. Anzaï began documenting their works, coming into contact with new forms of art from around the world. He established himself as the foremost photographer of Mono-ha, a movement that emerged in Tokyo in the mid-1960s whose artists explored the interdependency of natural and industrial materials, creating work that was often ephemeral.

In 1978 Anzaï received a fellowship allowing him to live in New York for a year. During this time he documented the American contemporary art scene; photographing performances in gallery space The Kitchen where he established relationships with Bill Viola, Laurie Anderson and other emerging artists of the time. After New York he would travel to document exhibitions such as Documenta in Kassel and the Biennale in Venice. Index I will look at Anzaï’s documentation of artwork. These are frequently ephemeral works: performances, happenings and installations, many of which survive today only through reconstructions, or in his photographs. Anzaï’s work allows them to be seen within their original context. His images can be described as an index of recent Japanese art history, and where it encountered or was exposed to international movements.

Index I will look at Anzaï’s documentation of artwork. These are frequently ephemeral works: performances, happenings and installations, many of which survive today only through reconstructions, or in his photographs. Anzaï’s work allows them to be seen within their original context. His images can be described as an index of recent Japanese art history, and where it encountered or was exposed to international movements.


This week, I encountered the work of a Romanian artist Mircea Cantor at the Castello di Rivoli. His video called Sic Transit Gloria Mundi is a powerful work that represents a ceremonial ritual using images of composed bodies in relation to the camera. Hailed bodies offer their hands into a circle where we as the spectators witness the line of fire travel slowly across each hand.

Sic transit gloria mundi is a Latin phrase that means “thus passes the glory of the world”. It has been interpreted as “Worldly things are feeling”. The phrase was used in the ritual of papal coronation ceremonies between 1409, when it was used at the coronation of Alexander V, and 1963. As the newly chosen pope proceeded from the sacristy of St. Peter’s Basilica in his sedia gestatoria, the procession stopped three times. On each occasion a papal master of ceremonies would fall to his knees before the pope, holding a silver or brass reed, bearing a tow of smoldering flax. For three times in succession, as the cloth burned away, he would say in a loud and mournful voice, “Sancte Pater, sic transit gloria mundi!” (“Holy Father, so passes worldly glory!”) These words, thus addressed to the pope, served as a reminder of the transitory nature of life and earthly honors. The stafflike instrument used in the aforementioned ceremony is known as a “sic transit gloria mundi”, named for the master of ceremonies’ words.

Mircea Cantor artist website 
Image as seen on Yvon Lambert Gallery

A very fascinating, succinct and eye opening article about 10 top tips for choreography by Dame Gillian Lynne, who has choreographed CATS and The Phantom of Opera. Choreography is very much about human relationships and trusting your vision and intuition.

1. Understand Movement

I was a dancer before I became a choreographer. You have to understand the element of movement in the core of your being, but you could do that without being a fantastic dancer, I think.

You have to understand that movement and thought are wedded together. You can’t just go and dance without a thought in your head. You need to know why you are doing the movements, what they mean to you and what they may mean to others.

2. Start with the music
Choreographers don’t just do steps, they stage the numbers and they stage the songs, so there is a whole big craft to it that people don’t ever give credit for.

I usually start with the music. It all differs though. With a ballet it can be all about the subject and the music comes afterwards. Or sometimes you hear a piece of music, fall in love with it and it becomes a ballet.

With a musical, you’ve got to listen to the score, which has usually already been written by the time the creative team comes on board. You’ve got to really understand the words and the music and what it is trying to say. Your task is to weave those two things together in a magical way and present them well. It’s a three-part craft if you like.

3. Tell it like it is and don’t fear confrontation
You mustn’t be afraid of confrontation. You just have to confront difficult people and make their wickedness become obvious. You have to stand very strong and support your creative team.

Put yourself out there as a leader and don’t be afraid to confront people.

4. Pick your team wisely
Pick your team yourself if you can. Ideally you want to surround yourself with a team that you like, who like you, who can take you when you are at the end of your tether and perhaps being a bit too tough.

It’s like creating a family and it’s the same with the cast. There’s quite a lot of jealousy and stuff that goes on and I don’t think that helps anybody.

You have to make sure people are bonded and friends by the end of the first week of rehearsals. You have to create a company who like each other, get on and trust one another.

5. Be firm but loving when things go wrong
If a dancer isn’t getting something quite right, fortunately I can still show it and then you just go on and on and weigh someone down until they get it. There aren’t any shortcuts.

Sometimes you have to make people feel like they have to fight their body or enhance the situation until their body picks it up and gets the instinct for it. It never runs smoothly and that’s why it is so important for a company to become friends in the first week.

Because everybody has bad patches, everyone has a scene or a dance solo they find difficult to do. Some people sail through things wonderfully, but when they don’t you have to just be there for them and be rigidly firm and very loving all at the same time.

6. Be honest and show people you can do it
Very few people get a show like Cats, it’s a one-off. It was a miracle in a way that we made that show.

It is essential to make sure your collaboration with designers and composers is very honest and very open.

I think it is really good if people do want to go into choreography. It’s the thing that really put me on the map. It’s no good just wanting to be something in life, you have to do something to show you could do it.

7. Marry someone who shows an interest in your work
My marriage is almost the most important thing in my life. I’m very lucky. I’m married to a man who is 27 years younger than me and we have a lot in common.

I met Peter [Land] on the first day of rehearsals for My Fair Lady, which I was staging for Cameron Mackintosh. He was the most beautiful man I have ever seen. We took one look at each other and that was it.

It’s lovely to be with someone who is in the same business. It’s a very happy household because we are interested in each other’s work.

8. Accept that being successful may require sacrifices
My profession has ruined my right foot. I sprained it 37 times in my career, and in the end one day a bone just popped out.

I’ve also got two hip replacements. When I go through the airport I always tell them: “There’s no point you bothering me. I’ve got two metal hips and a metal foot!” I sound bells all over the place.

My family is me, my husband and the dog. I’m afraid I don’t think I could have had the career I’ve had and been as successful if I had had children. Maybe these things happen for a reason.

9. Keep your true judgements open
Keep your true judgement open. Whatever opportunities come up, keep your own judgement about how you feel about the art, what you feel about showbusiness and the world at that time.

Keep an interest in the news and current affairs and try and keep up with what is going on in the world because it will affect what you do.

10. Avoid Botox and love what you do!
Age certainly hasn’t been a problem in my career. I’m 87 now, I’ve got all sorts of exciting projects coming up this year and I’m very lucky.

I don’t do all that Botox stuff, can’t stand it, don’t even believe in it. I think people look dreadful when they’ve done it, so I don’t do that.

I think I look like an ancient old squiffle at the moment, but the secret to staying young and being happy is to do with loving what you do and loving the person you are with – simple as that!

BBC News
Original source