Asia Society, Inta, Inc., and the Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture present a ten-week U.S. tour of a world premiere, cross-cultural, multidisciplinary performance conceived and directed by renowned Japanese American dance duo Eiko & Koma. Created and performed in collaboration with ten young artists trained in Cambodia at the Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture, Cambodian Stories combines large-scale collective action-painting with choreographed movement. Artists explore the human body and Cambodian landscape in a performance that expresses the hope and rebirth of a nation that has been ravaged by the painful past of Pol Pot's genocidal regime.
Cambodian Stories opens on a stage thickly covered with sand and strung with large canvases. It is on this barren and empty geography that the young Cambodian artists, together with Eiko & Koma, begin to move and create a forest of beautiful lithe bodies and arresting mural-like paintings that serve as a backdrop and catalyst for interaction.
"Through collaboration, these artists not only extend the definition of 'what is painting?' and 'what is dance?', but also create new visions for the future of Cambodia and the revitalization of a people," said Rachel Cooper, Asia Society's Director of Cultural Programs and Performing Arts. Cambodian Stories is the result of a new community of artists from different generations, cultures, and genres living and working together to realize the deeply transformative nature of art and the creative process. Other creative collaborators include Cambodian American Sam-Ang Sam (Music Director) and Reyum founder Daravuth Ly (Dramaturg).
Cambodian Stories is the result of a cultural exchange that began in June 2003 when Reyum co-founders Daravuth Ly and Ingrid Muan invited Eiko & Koma to Cambodia upon seeing the duo in an outdoor performance in New York. A year later, Eiko & Koma traveled to Phnom Penh with the sponsorship of the Asian Cultural Council. As artists in residence, Eiko & Koma not only performed for and engaged with local villagers, Reyum staff and students, and a community of Cambodian artists and arts administrators, but offered a series of "Delicious Movement" workshops to young students of contemporary and traditional Cambodian art. For months Eiko & Koma lived and worked with these students who reminded them of themselves growing up in post-war Japan. Profoundly moved by their perceptiveness to movement and ability to express themselves through a new medium, Eiko & Koma decided to continue working with these young artists in a new project - Cambodian Stories.
The performance is accompanied by workshops with students from schools across the U.S. and a traveling exhibition of the young artists' paintings curated by the Reyum Institute faculty to be presented at select venues. This visual arts component further encourages dialogues about tradition, innovation, and the role of the artist in fostering change.
The performance is touring to several cities around the U.S. The final performance of this U.S. tour will take place at the Asia Society and Museum located on 725 Park Avenue at 70th Street, New York City. Ticket prices for the performance are $16 for Asia Society members, students with ID, and seniors; $20 for nonmembers. For tickets and information, call (212) 517-ASIA or visit www.asiasociety.org. Members of the press interested in the performances should contact Jennifer Suh at (212) 327-9271 or [email protected]
The creation and tour of Cambodian Stories were made possible by support from the New England Foundation for the Arts' National Dance Project, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Japan Foundation's Performing Arts JAPAN program, the Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund, the Living Legacy Creative Residency of the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University, the Mekong Project of Dance Theater Workshop, Asian Cultural Council with funds from the Rockefeller Foundation, LINC (Leveraging Investments in Creativity), Altria Group, Inc., and the following individuals: Paul Vidich and Linda Sue Stein, Fred Wistow and Stacy Greene, and Tomohei Sasada.
About the Asia Society
Founded in 1956 by John D. Rockefeller 3rd, the Asia Society is an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening relationships and deepening understanding among the peoples of Asia and the United States. The Asia Society presents a wide range of public programs, including major art exhibitions, performances, lectures, international conferences, and K-12 educational initiatives about Asia. Headquartered in New York City, the organization has regional centers in Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Manila, Melbourne, Mumbai, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington, D.C.
Inta, Inc. was established in 1997 to support the work of choreographer-dancers Eiko & Koma. Its purpose is to provide the resources necessary for them to create new performance and media works, to maintain existing work in repertory, and to educate the public about their artistry by means of classes, workshops, and other outreach activities at home in New York and on tour throughout the world.
Reyum Institute of Arts and Culture is a non-profit, non-governmental organization dedicated to Cambodian arts and culture. Reyum was founded by Ly Daravuth and Ingrid Muan in December 1998 in order to provide a forum for research, preservation, and promotion of traditional and contemporary Cambodian arts and culture. Through exhibitions, events, and publications, Reyum aims to stimulate an exchange of ideas while fostering creative expressions and encouraging further research. All activities presented by Reyum are free and open to the public. Located directly across the street from both the southern campus of the Royal University of Fine Arts and the National Museum of Cambodia in downtown Phnom Penh, Reyum offers a space of encounter for students, professors, townspeople, and foreign visitors. www.reyum.org.