PEOPLEText: Mariko Takei

Having received many awards including the TOYOTA Choreography Award in 2004 as one of the leading choreographers in the next generation, Yoko Higashino is a contemporary dancer and choreographer whose improvisational dance performances receive high attention worldwide. She recently started a dance company BABY-Q, and also performs solo works under the name Yoko Kemumaki.

Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] presents one-night dance session “ALL LOVES YOU!” – a collaborative dance perfomance with Yoko Kemumaki and all kinds of artists, musicians, DJs, VJs to exploring different kinds of expression in dance, music, video, light and space for the 4th series of the dance performance YCAM Performance Lounge.

Yoko Higashino
Photo: Banri

Please introduce yourself.

Yoko Higashino. I am a dancer and choreographer, and host a dance company BABY-Q. Organizing workshops I work to nurture dancers in Tokyo and beyond. As a solo artist, I perform sessions with many musicians under the name of Yoko Kemumaki at clubs, live spaces and galleries. I also perform and collaborate with artists abroad in France, Czech, New York, and so on. I’m a designer for an original brand HEXTION as well.

How did you start to dance and how did you become a dancer and choreographer?

I was born in the countryside of Japan, Sakurai in Nara, I was a shy and kind of quiet girl. As my mother saw me enjoying to dance while watching TV, she recommended that I learn modern ballet. That was when I was 10. I kept taking lessons until I was a teenager. I started entering contests, and began to make my own work and started my own expression. Since then I became a free dancer based in Osaka, sometimes participating in workshops in New York. And, 2 djs and I made a group ERROR SYSTEM in 1995 to perform at clubs, small theaters, and open-air events. This experience led to establishing the current BABY-Q in 2002 with several members to create works in a larger frame.

BABY-Q Dance Performance “←Z← Z Kokkeina Dokushinsha Kikai” 2003 / Photo: Toshihiro Shimizu

How did you start to form a dance company? How many members are there and what does the company do?

Before forming BABY-Q, I had participated as an actress and dancer for an open-air theater called Pretty Hate Machine, which was derived from Ishinha, an Osaka based theater company. With musicians I met there, artists from DESTROYED ROBOT and a few others, we formed BABY-Q. Currently there are more than 10 dancers, music composers, video artists, costume designers and visual and web designers. Each member pursues different genres of media like dance, art, music, video, fashion, design and photography and their experiences and deep minds resulted in the course of their profession are forming a main structure of our performance work. We aim to create a new age for body and its related expression by experiencing our energy at the stage and deepening more real connections to humans. BABY-Q explores its activity resonating to diverse genres in grassroots, from alternative / subcultural scenes to the theater art in Japan and overseas lately.

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