In co-operation with Prof Hirohiko Soejima, a prestigious researcher in European contemporary dance, initial ideas were developed in 2011 as to how Pina Bausch’s artistic legacy could be upheld in Japan in the future aside from performances by the Tanztheater Wuppertal. In April 2012 Prof Peter Pabst, Salomon Bausch und Nataly Walter travelled to Japan to build on the connection forged between Pina Bausch and Kazuo Ohno, who died in 2010. Via the Kazuo Ohno Archive, under construction at the time, they established contact with the Tatsumi Hijikata Archive at the Keio University Arts Center in Tokyo. Their exchanges with the people behind the archives for these two highly significant proponents of Butoh were very enlightening, and formed the basis for future collaboration.
During their first visit to Yokohama, the general secretary of the Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio and deputy managing director of BankART 1929, Toshio Mizohata, presented his work. Bank- ART 1929 is an alternative space for the contemporary arts: its rooms host exhibitions and workshops, it contains studios, a public meeting place, a bar and a shop. Every autumn the Kazuo Ohno Festival takes place there, being co-organized by Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio and BankART 1929. The festival celebrates both Butoh and the manifold aspects of dance as a physical expression of life.
Toshio Mizohata organises the festival and directs the development of the Kazuo Ohno Archive. In co-operation with Takashi Morishita, the manager of the Tatsumi Hijikata Archive at Keio University Art Center, he is part of a team pursuing the idea of Let’s Unite: Dance Archives! that aims to bring together significant international dance archives for relationship-building and exchange, thereby creating a large dance network.
The future co-operation between the Kazuo Ohno, Tatsumi Hijikata and the Pina Bausch archives strives for an exchange on the ways in which the plethora of historic materials and documents can be exploited and how memories can be documented. In so doing, it ensures that an exploration of these extraordinary artists can continue. In Japan as well as in Germany, locations will be created where this exploration can be actively fostered.
Akemi Shiraha, a longstanding friend of Pina Bausch who is responsible for advising leading European and Japanese museums and galleries on modern and contemporary art, is supporting this project with her valuable help.