Benjamin Akio Kimitch

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Artistic Discipline: Dance
Category: Creative Equations Fund: Cultural Heritage & Diversity
Grant Year: 2023
Location: Williamsburg

In dojojiproject, a Japanese classical dance master-work is the catalyst for a year-round collaborative research project between acclaimed, Japanese-born contemporary choreographer Yasuko Yokoshi and Japanese American choreographer Benjamin Akio Kimitch. The two artists will come together in both Brooklyn and Kyoto, where Yokoshi will teach Kimitch one of the most important Japanese classical dances in the traditional Kabuki repertoire, “Kyoganoko Musume Dojoji,” which originates from the 1700’s. By enacting the roles of master and apprentice found in traditional dance pedagogy, what will the artists discover about themselves in a process of simultaneously preserving and expanding tradition? Though the artists are a generation apart, their shared values and artistic curiosities have organically surfaced, much of it informed by what they share in the New York downtown dance communities. Yokoshi and Kimitch have also grounded their work in the inspirational and often-elusive worlds of Nihon-Buyo and Peking Opera respectively. For Kimitch, a fourth-generation yonsei, dojojiproject also holds many firsts: embracing Japanese heritage through dance and connecting with his relatives in Japan. dojojiproject is about making a bridge. Through this relational experiment—centering tactile, in-person learning—Kimitch and Yokoshi hope to discover the multitudes of a cultural body while reframing and re-engaging their personal heritage.

Photo by Da Ping Luo