A whole new kind of folk performance for the contemporary age, fusing traditional lion dance with contemporary dance, live vocals and piano, and augmented reality
A unique mix of bodily expression and digital technology, The Ancient Lion and Modern Man is a stage performance and video work that takes on its complete form only when watched online. The augmented reality visuals are made online in real time through computer graphics compositing with a lion dance, contemporary dance, and live music, giving the audience an incredibly vivid and immediate viewing experience of the performance.
Against a backdrop of the grave impact that the coronavirus has had on artistic and cultural activities, this project brings together collaborators from a range of fields and disciplines to seek out new possibilities for the viewing experience and artistic expression through live streaming. It is a fusion of the lion dance and contemporary dance, performed using a 3D-printed lion head costume, and with live vocals and piano. It also integrates augmented reality compositing computer graphics in real time, POV camerawork, and sound design ideal for listening through earphones. While harnessing the tension of the live stage performance, The Ancient Lion and Modern Man incorporates the potential of cutting-edge technology and the timeless spirit of experimentation.
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Sosaku Eisa LUCK (eisa folk dance group)
Originally known as the Eisa Group of Okinawa Chuo Gakuen in 2007, and later renamed Sosaku Eisa LUCK after graduation, it is based in the village of Ginoza in the northern part of the main island of Okinawa. The eisa (drum dance) and shishimai (lion dance) are a part of Okinawa’s folk performing arts and the culture of Ryukyu. The group aspires to develop these cherished forms into new styles. Alongside festivals in Japan, it has performed in China, the United States, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and more. It has also developed a wide range of other activities, including eisa instruction and appearances in commercials.
Direction / Choreography
GRINDER-MAN (art group)
An artistic group in Tokyo created by director Hitoshi Taguchi and the choreographer/dancer Makiko Izu. Their aim is to divert the idea of “here and now” by carefully planned sensory impressions based on dance. The group carries out projects for museums, theaters, art festivals and various other opportunities across Japan and abroad. Their art beats generalization and goes far beyond the boundaries of art.
WOW(visual design studio)
WOW is a visual design studio based in Tokyo, Sendai, London, and San Francisco. It is involved in a wide range of design from advertising and commercials to installations for exhibition spaces, and also invents new user interface design for prominent brands. It is passionate about creating original artworks, holding exhibitions in both Japan and internationally. It constantly strives to discover the tremendous possibilities of visual design, the very best talents of each artist and designer harnessed and brought out by developing visual design with a social function.
Live streaming venue / Co-organizer
Garaman Hall (Ginoza Village Cultural Center)
This 400-seat multipurpose theater opened in 2003 in Ginoza, a village in the north of Okinawa with a population of 6,000. Aiming to present arts unique to its location and to be a “cultural plaza” connecting people, its program includes everything from globally renowned artists to local folk performances. Not only stage productions, it also holds art exhibitions, food festivals, and more, and tours performances and organizes workshops in other regions.
Contemporary dancer, choreographer. First encountering tap dance at the age of 10, Mayumu Minakawa later studied classical ballet, jazz dance, and modern dance. Harnessing a wide range of dance styles, she performs on stage in Japan and abroad, in music videos, and for magazine advertising. She is a Cirque du Soleil-registered artist, and has performed in the work of such directors as Inbal Pinto, Matthew Bourne, Damien Jalet, and Pichet Klunchun. In 2013, she was a company dancer for the Inbal Pinto and Avshalom Pollak Dance Company in Israel. Since returning to Japan, she has started her career as a choreographer, staging SARU (2017) in Israel, France, Canada, and Japan.
Dancer, head of j.a.m.Dance Theatre. First encountering dance while a college student, Jun Morii went on to obtain a dance diploma from the Laban Dance Centre in London. In 2002, he formed j.a.m.Dance Theatre with the choreographer and director Mayuko Aihara and others, performing in its work in Japan and abroad. He has also performed in the work of such choreographers as Iñaki Azpillaga and Lucy Guerin, and companies like Monochrome Circus and Nibroll. His recent dance credits include Damien Jalet and Kohei Nawa’s VESSEL (2018) and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Pluto (2018). In addition to teaching dance classes and workshops, he choreographs music videos, musicals, and stage productions.
Composer / Piano
Composer, sound designer. Self-taught in composition, piano, and acoustics, Masato Hatanaka moved to Sapporo in 1995. Exploring sound as entertainment and art, and sound design with a truly necessary social function, he has spent more than 20 years working on stage productions, events, commercials, and more. His output includes planning, conceiving, and directing the sound system for the Tokyo Skytree Tembo Gallerie (2012) and the theme music for the 10th Sapporo International Short Film Festival (2015). His wide-ranging activities encompass everything from designing the sound for public spaces and electronic devices, to holding workshops and lectures.
Composer, vocalist. Based in Tokyo and Yatsugatake, Ai Kamano is active across a wide range of fields from full classical music to bands in her pursuit of the possibilities of song and vocal expression. Until February 2016, she was the vocalist and keyboard player for the music group Haisuinonasa. In addition to singing the theme song (written by österreich) for the TV anime series Tokyo Ghoul A as well as for the NHK Educational TV special Sakuramori no Igon, she has lent her vocal talents to numerous TV shows, corporate events, and advertisements. In February 2019, she released her first solo album, “muonk,” featuring tracks entirely written, sung, and with keyboard playing by herself.
Special effects makeup and molding artist / Director of GM Atelier. Using such cutting-edge materials as optical fibers and silicone, Shoichiro Matsuoka creates special effects makeup, costumes, moldings, displays, and more for commercials, films, music, fashion, brand advertisements, and other media. A first in Japan, he established a style using optical fibers woven into Kyoto Nishijin textiles with silicone-based molds. As an artist with a unique worldview fusing a range of disciplines, not least molding and fashion, with a focus on special effects makeup, he exhibits his work at both solo and group shows in Japan and abroad.
Shishimai : Sosaku Eisa LUCK (eisa folk dance group)
Direction / Choreography : GRINDER-MAN
Visual design : WOW
Ogoshi Tomoya, Garaman Hall (Ginoza Village Cultural Center)
Saori Nakanojo, Ikkaku Inc.