Cross Transit is a second international collaborative project between Japanese and other Asian artists lead by a choreographer and dancer, Akiko Kitamura. It will be produced over a span of three years beginning with a work in progress showing and concluding with the main performance.
In the four-year international collaborative project, To Belonga, Kitamura worked with the Indonesian artists and combined the traditional Indonesian music and movements with the Japanese contemporary methods. She now delves further into the dance, music, and other performing arts as well as the traditional martial arts movement technique, artistry, ritualism, and music from Cambodia, Myanmar, India (Manipur), and other regions to expand the movement vocabulary that encompasses an Asian perspective.
Amrita Performing Arts Center is our counterpart in this collaborative project and is based in the capital of Cambodia, Phnom Penh. Amrita was established to preserve the traditional Cambodian performing arts and is currently making efforts to encourage dance that is both modern and contemporary. Amrita supports the young Cambodian artists in their creative endeavors. With their assistance, Kitamura was able to meet many Cambodian dancers and research in depth on the traditional dance, music, spiritual rituals, as well as martial arts.
Kitamura’s research trip brought her a chance to meet many artists. She met a photographer, Kim Hak, in Phnom Penh. He works on projects to pass down the fading memories of Cambodia to the younger generation through his photography. His perspective of people and landscapes became an essential part of telling a story and getting to know the land. In the process of Kitamura’s field research, Hak became a person she’d ask for advices. He would share his experiences with her and became a great discussion partner. Through their experience together in photo shoots and dance workshops, they came to a mutual agreement to collaborate on this project.
To come in contact with dance is to be a part of the shifting perspectives on the body as a medium. It also means to witness the essence of the moment not just with our vision but also with our entire being, now that these moving bodies with different backgrounds hold the key. By working with artists from Cambodia, Manipur, and Myanmar, who have completely different background in contemporary dance, Kitamura seeks to gain a new perspective on the views, experiences, and expressions from both sides of Japan and other Asian countries. She also aims to modify the state of the thinking body as a whole as well as in a particular moment of the dance.
This project places significance on the process of research centered on the works of dance. It not only expands the artist’s network, but also that of the researchers to a global scale and encourages creative works to develop from this project.