Festival Statement

Yokohama Dance Collection is the annual creative dance festival at Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse Number 1. In addition to sending roughly 500 choreographers out into the world through its competitions, YDC consists of various programs such as performances by recent award winners, new works by internationally active choreographers, and collaborative programs with overseas dance festivals. This time around, the annual "Aozora Dance" and "Dance Nursery School!!" will be held online. This year marks the 27th anniversary since its beginning in 1996 as a global choreography competition. Not only has grown to become the place to showcase choreography that reflects the times, it is a festival of dialogue and exchange based on creativity.

This year we are returning home, to "the body."

The word "body (shintai, or karada)" is made by combining the character "mi” (also read as “shin”) and "karada." It is said that "mi" represents living flesh, while "karada" represents the lifeless state as a whole, hence "kara (empty, or imaginary)." Life and death are opposite sides of the same coin, and go back and forth between one another. When you gaze at the movements of the body, the subtle facial expressions and the full body expressions that present themselves, there are moments when your mind begins to move on its own, your soul is shaken, and you feel as if you have been reborn. As we open our senses of sight and sound, living together in the same space-time, we perceive and experience a multitude of memories and landscapes that have been burned into our minds, criticisms towards society, the non-visible, and more.
The globally revered sports festival has come and gone this year here in Japan. Its roots go back to ancient Greece, but its current form has been expanded by the modern values of a post-industrial society. There are countless cultures throughout the world, but if you could divide them into only two, they would fall under either farming cultures or nomadic cultures. The body is a culture and a society. The outstanding characteristic of the farmer's dance is the sliding foot, while that of a nomadic dance is jumping. It is only natural that the dance form known as Noh was born in Japan, and that ballet, a dance consisting of jumps, was born in Europe. Moreover, dance being seen as an artistic expression is said to be a post-modern concept. So what are the characteristics of a modern, a.k.a industrial body? It is during this era that we saw the rise of factories, schools and armies, and through it all, more and more importance was placed on bodies. One could say that the characteristics of a unified, or rather standardized body of an industrial society are represented particularly well in what we call "physical education," a concept that was also born in this era. And it was via this society, where it was important for many people to be able to walk and work in unison, that artistic dance arose in order to express individuality and traits. You can say that the genealogy of modern dance started as a counter to a society of standardization and unification. Dance in the 20th-century was oriented by Russian Ballet, which swept Europe in early the 1900s. In addition, it was modern dance which placed value on the thoughts and emotions of the dancers. Dialogues surrounding the body have been repeatedly held whenever there have been social, economic, and cultural crises. The performances at this year's Yokohama Dance Collection are creations that confront other works, as well as social issues, that share origins in the disasters a decade ago, and have been perseveringly crafted even during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will be confronted with expressions that connect people across gender, generation, nation, race, etc., going back and forth between "what is visible" and what is not. The body is the closest Nature of all. At the same time, it is a social and political construct in relation to all the situations and environments in which the body exists. As we look back on the relationships between the body and society 30-100 years ago, we hope to spark various dialogues about the future, embarking from our bodies, here and now.