1/3 of the Fall 2021 -Beginning of the 2nd year-

Research Project

Time flies so fast. I started the 2nd year of my MFA program. It’s been like a jet coaster ride: running around, ups and downs with full speed.

There are many ”new” things happening this fall semester. 1) I am teaching two movement classes jazz and ballet for non-major students, 2) fully in-person classes, 3) living with one of my cohorts…. so many ”first time”!! It is exciting but exhausting at the same time.

My challenge for this semester is to ground myself and preparing for the fruits of this MFA journey. The starting of my 2nd year feels fresh like my 1st year since we are shifting to fully in-person class. COVID is still a thing however I definitely have a strong community that I can rely on and deeper creative thoughts.

In Japan, there is a quote from Zeami,

“初心忘るべからず。=Don’t forget your first resolution. Always keep your mind open and evolvIng.

Zeami established Noh, which is the oldest traditional performing arts in Japan. He mentioned in his book saying obtain one art form takes a lifetime. As a movement practitioner, this word hits me hard. It tells me the importance of rooting myself and reminding where and why I started this journey with dance.

My hope this semester is to deepen my understanding of the relationship between me and dance. I have been dancing for almost 22 years yet there are many things I need to learn to expand. However, if I keep looking up and forget the root, I will lose my growth and eventually fall.

Reminder: Pause and look down where you arrive at. Finding the connection to the ground and feel the root/the heart where everything starts from.

Intermedia Reflection -Introducing new perspective-


This semester, the class I was really excited to take was Intermedia Lab with Professor Norah Zuniga-Shaw. Due to the COVID restriction, we could not get inside of the Motion Lab, which I was disappointed with. Although I was so amazed by all the resources from viewing, reading, discussions, live events that she brought to the classes, the technology lab with Oded, and classmates who are bold to try new ideas, open to collaborating, and dive into the creative journey of unique, evoking, mesmerizing projects.

The first project I did was a “digital double” project with Abby Koskinas. She was a senior year BFA student in dance at Ohio State University. I build her doubles by interviewing her and ended up portraiting her rigidness for creativity, but spontaneous and adventurous personality. We streamed through OBS, a design and streaming application. Learning OBS was also a new way of creative thinking because I was used to horizontal timeline designing instead of vertically layered scenes with text, video clips, and audio. It was challenging, yet worth spending time and fighting to reach the level of I satisfied.

The most interesting idea that I learned over this class is creating sonic space. Hearing is such a strong sense to bring the sensation and connect to the memories or experiences directly. At the beginning of the semester, I tend to listen to songs written in Japanese. And realized that I was trying to make a safe space sonically. So from my experience, I was curious in creating an intimate place for an artist to share with the audience. Then throughout the corse, we had Voicemail “Pen Pals” Choreography for the Ears and Audio Walk at the South Oval in person which all inspired me. Another reference is Taryn Simon’s Assembled Audience. I visited the exhibition at the Wexner Center for the Arts at the beginning of October (The link below). It was an eye-opening experience! The darkness sharpens the hearing and the sound of crapping gives me the sensation of being surrounded by clouds of people.

My interest leads up to the second project, Surveillant Hall Audio Memory Walk. I partnered up with Abby Koskinas again to collect the memories of the Surveillant Hall from most of my classmates. I have always wanted to know what the dance building used to be before the COVID-19 hits so this project was like a treat for me. We started from the entrance and decided to navigate the audience by introducing each space from the 1st floor to the 3rd floor. Abby did an amazing job to contact other undergraduates to collect their stories. We actually went inside the building and calculated the time in between moving each studio, walking the aisle, and going up and down the stairs. It took a long time to put together all the audio files, although it was a really fun process. We wanted to corporate the video clips as well, though time was limited, and hard to obtain some clips from the Dance department.

Surveillant Hall Audio Memory Walk was the prototype of my final project. It is dedicated to the specific location and the memories attached to. I used the same structure but changed into my home town, Tokyo Japan. Started with brainstorming how I navigate the audience and decided to make an audio trip, “Safe and sound”. I came up with an idea while I was flying to Detroit, so I had a clear image to imitate the airline announcement. Then I started writing about my daily life in Tokyo adding my personal memories, waking up in my house, walking to the train stations, going to the school, getting snacks on the way home, and coming back to the house. I spent a long time researching online to find the exact sound that I wanted to use. After I have a solid collection of sounds, I put them all together on GarageBand. I did not have time to dive into learning Audacity so that’s the only thing I would like to go back and spend time more. My goal is to create an immersive, intimate, vulnerable experience to share with the audience. 

Overall, I am very grateful for this class to open my eyes to technology and introduce me to new perspectives to present the artwork. This class pushed, motivated, and encouraged me to start with an idea to create even though you don’t know the direction you want to go. The maker should let making lead the way. That what I learned the most in this class. I will continue to be bold and say YES to the ideas and keep creating.


Taryn Simon: Assembled Audience https://wexarts.org/exhibitions/taryn-simon-assembled-audience

Where is your “home”?

Choreography Workshop, Dance film

In the beginning of the semester, I had many questions related to “home” such as what defined “home”? Is it the location like where I grew up? Or the people such as the dance community at Ohio State University? Or the memories in my brain? etc..

Wherever I go, I can make some place for myself to be comfortable. But this comfortableness is not necessarily defined as belongingness. In my definition of belongingness is inherent desire to be accepted by the community by behaving what they expect to. I always have hard time finding a place to land myself. In the Japanese community, I am an outsider. People my age graduated from college, have jobs, live nearby their parents, mostly staying inside their country for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, I live in the U.S. which far away from all of my family, and still a student. I clearly not on the same pathway as others. In the U.S., I am a minority due to my race and skin color. I have a neutral opinion about politic, or economy which seems like unusual in this country.

So I started looking for uncomfortableness from lacking belongingness in the physical body. I had the privilege to work with a talented dancer, Aya Venet. She is a sophomore at Ohio State University, also from Japan. She was born between the father who is African American and the mother who is Japanese.

Rehearsal at the studio

We started to brainstorm what makes us hard to find the belongingness. We met once a week at the studio and built the narrative of the piece. She shared the story that in between of two location, Japan and the U.S., she is uncomfortable to be “her” due to the different expectations. Started with improvisation with the question, “if you are very uncomfortable, how do you move?”The movement was developed to embody her internal struggle.

I had her move inside the circle, which stands for a borderline from the place she is at. What I wanted to emphasize on the circle was that it was not her choice to be inside of it. The line was drawn by an unseen force, to categorize her as an outsider. The white line was inspired by field chalk at the elementary school playground. It is drawn clearly to stands out the separation, but the more you step on it, the more the line gets blurry. This applied to her circle, the more she steps on the line, the more she has access to the outside and merge to the inside. The line will dissolve and disappear. That is my goal in this piece. Showing her strength and able to erase the lines and step out the circle.

I planned to stage this piece as a film because I want to show the external factor, which affect her to struggle internally. I initially wanted to ask volunteers to walk around Aya, although due to the COVID-19, it was not a good time to ask this favor around. So I decided to overlay the video clips my friend took for me a year ago. They were taken at Shibuya crossing and Shibuya station which is well-known place for thousands of people passing every day. The clips was a symbol of the place where always required to catch up with the speed, and match with the expectation.

We searched the location and decided to shoot at The Oval. The red brick contrasted well with the white lines and I loved the background. To me, the two roads behind her were the two countries Aya grew up and came from to be who she is now. I did one take for drawing the circle as well as the ending part. Which made me worry that if I could take a good shot, but I trusted Aya and she performed beautifully. I hope everyone enjoys this short film. I would like to hear what you see and what you feel, and please share your thoughts on comment below!:)

Goodbye September, Hello October

Choreography Workshop, Research Project

The tree leaves are changing to vivid red, orange, yellow, and getting colder in Columbus. It’s been already 6 weeks since I have started my graduate program! I cannot believe how fast the time past. Compared to the quarantine time, I appreciated that I could spend time at a new place and be exposed to new perspectives every day. I learn so much these past weeks.

Looking back these 6 weeks, this feeling of Homesickness keeps washing over me every so often. Compared to the experiences between leaving parents to come to the U.S. and leaving Oklahoma to start school in Ohio, I felt more difficult adjusting in the latter. It might be affected by this current weirdness under the pandemic, though homesickness is not determined by the physical distance. It surprised me. I have been more sensitive to the detail surrounding me such as weather, the sound of the wind, beer cans on the street, people’s laugh outside of my apartment. And re-examining what I miss, like, dislike, and where I feel the most comfortable.

This adjusting to a new place made me think “where is my home?” In my definition of home is a safe, comfortable, vulnerable place. However, is its physical location like the house where I grew up? the intimacy that I have with my husband? the passion or something I love to do in my life?…. There are so many questions I have and this is what I will investigate in my research.

2weeks ago, I completed my first project of the Choreography Workshop Course (Woo-hooooo!!) Next, we will take a look behind the scene of this project, so if you have not seen it, please checked it out at the link below. https://vimeo.com/460652109

I titled this piece, “Living inside the grid” which was inspired by the zoom screen. Since I am taking many classes on zoom, I noticed that in this grid system, it is hard to concentrate and connect with my classmates. I wanted to shape this unnatural rectangle-shaped world. Me trying to be creative, I started looking around rectangle shapes other than my laptop screen. I had many photo frames in different sizes (initially, I bought a bunch of them for my living room decoration) and a wired coffee table that has a square hole in the middle.

At first, I started to play around with photo frames. I set up all my frames standing up on the floor with different distances from the camera to create the depth and space to move around. Ended up knocking down the frames while I was dancing so, I changed the plan to hang them from the ceiling which I have more freedom in between the frames. In a zoom class, there is a weird private territory due to the lack of physical constraint. The only place you have to be presentable is inside of the frame. This idea is connected to my movement and the costume choice. As for the movement, I generate the materials from improvisation. Portraying the flatness, linear, stifling space with and within the frames. And I married some recurring motifs, trying to go away from the frame to breathe in the air, making a frame with my hand. Then, I added on the coffee table to make another layer of this piece. I taped the black blank paper on the hole and tried to rip it and break through it. (which it required so much power haha) It took me to do some practices before I shoot since the paper was super strong! Indeed, I had to stab a pencil to make a hole to put my finger through.

The process of making this piece was crafty and fun exploring the possibility of the daily object in my apartment into the creation. One time, I heard that the limitation stimulates creativity and it was true. I experienced through my first project. The new month is coming. I will keep investigating, exploring, challenging, and creating. The next goal is to make durational work.