nihon buyoh


All the work I do - be it lecturing, instructing an acting class, performing, directing, choreography, research, or writing - is a combination of learning and teaching. I believe that the two must co-exist if inspiration and an exchange of ideas are to truly take place. I believe the role of "teacher" to be one that is more of a facilitator than some fount of knowledge. I encourage my students, and any group of performers I work with, to think for themselves and to explore possibilities. More often than not they come up with miracles I could never have imagined.

In both directing and teaching I work very viscerally. I believe that any learning takes place in the whole body, not just the in the brain. My dance and movement background has led me to find the physical routes to an end and I find that my directing and teaching reflects my interest in corporeal means of expression. In upper-level lecture courses I always incorporate some kind of project-based learning where students are in some way embodying what they are learning rather than merely memorizing information.

In Canada I have taught are Asian and Japanese Theatre lecture courses at UBC, and experimental performance classes at the Great Northern Way Campus. The GNWC courses focused on the use of space and time. In the case of the course "Mediative Bodies, Mediative Space" (co-taught with Sachiyo Takahashi), this was accomplished through emphasis and awareness of ma a Japanese aesthetic term indicating the spaces between objects or the silence between sounds or time between actions. In "Mapping Empire" the focus was on the use of "site" and the placement of bodies and objects in that space to create a meaningful visual or performative installation. "Mapping Empire" also looked at body mapping, mind mapping, location and journey, and used online space as a creative and communicative "site."

I recently worked as a guest artist at the University of Hawaii where I directed the English language premier of Kishida Rio's avant-garde masterwork Thread Hell. I also taught and upper-level performance course on angura aesthetics and practice. Angura is the Japanese term for "underground" theatre and refers to a movement/style of performance that took precedence in the 1960s and 70s (and into the 1980s). I worked with a group of upper-level and graduate students, introducing them to the plays and performance aesthetics of the major artists in the angura movement. Students used these principles and techniques to create their own site-specific work, and finally to direct their own versions of scenes from angura scripts.

I currently teach a variety of courses at the University of the Fraser Valley: World Theatre (a course I developed for the department), Theatre for Young Audiences, Acting 1 and Scene Study. I have worked with the department to develop curriculum and refine grading rubrics.

  • 2008-present: Sessional Instructor - University of the Fraser Valley
    Currently teaching a combined lecture & practical course on Theatre for Young Audiences and World Theatre. I also teach studio acting classes at various levels and scene study.

  • 2005-2009: Adjunct Professor - University of British Columbia
    Taught movement for actors to all three levels of the BFA acting program and 300-level and an Intro to Theatre class. I also taught regular classes in Asian and Japanese Theatre combining lecture, visuals and some hands-on practice.

  • 2009-Present: Nihon Buyoh/Kabuki Instructor - TomoeArts/Dance Centre
    Teaching ongoing introductory classes and intermediate lessons in Japanese Classical dance/kabuki movement. Also leading workshops in kabuki movement and voice either in studio or for various community groups and schools in Vancouver.

  • 2009: Noh Instructor -Noh Training Project
    Taught noh chant and dance to first year participants of the Noh Training Project in Blooomsburg Pennsylvania.

  • 2005-2008: Instructor - Great Northern Way Campus
    Facilitated experimental performance/design classes and interdisciplinary performance creation classes through UBC to students from four different partner institutions. Classes focused on the use of space and time, and site-specific performance/installation creation, and emphasize the use of online space as a creative and communicative tool.

  • 2004-2010: Noh Dance and Chant Instructor - The Dance Centre (Vancouver)
    Leading regular classes in the movement and vocalization of noh theatre at a dance studio in downtown Vancouver.

  • 2005-2008 - Artist in the Schools - Learning Through the Arts
    Co-instructed classes in Vancouver public schools in partnership with regular classroom teachers, using theatre and dance skills to teach curriculum. This program focused both on teaching children and on professional development for the teachers.

  • 2005 - Sessional Instructor - Simon Fraser University
    Taught Introduction to Acting for the School of Contemporary Arts. Focusing on voice, bodywork and collaborative creation.

  • 2001-2004 - Acting Instructor/Lecturer - University of Hawaii
    Taught courses geared for non-major and major beginning actors, which focused on the basics of Western realistic acting: exercises, theatre games, improvisation and basic text work.

  • 1997-2001 - Movement Instructor at the UPS Academy - Tokyo
    This is a two-year professional training course for actors, focusing on American Method acting techniques. Movement classes consist of basic body awareness and centering as well as creative expression in the form of contact improvisation and physical character development.