NYC Dance Company Uses Kickstarter to Fund Anniversary Concert

Kickstarter is an online community that provides artists and other creative types a platform for fundraising. The organization allows writers, dancers, photographers, filmmakers and a host of others to promote their special projects online with the hopes of raising a certain amount of funds by a deadline.

One such artist is New York-based Japanese dancer/choreographer/instructor Sachiyo Ito. Ito began her dance troupe, Sachiyo Ito and Company, in New York thirty years ago, and is celebrating this Japanese tradition with a special 30th Anniversary Concert at the Ailey Citigroup Theater in New York on Sunday, October 23.

The program is a combination of classical dances and contemporary pieces choreographed by Sachiyo Ito, who earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in dance from NYU and established her not-for-profit educational organization in 1981.

Sachiyo Ito by Kathy Sturgen

The first section of the program is composed of classical pieces of Kabuki and Okinawan Court dances. The dance of the Ryukyu Court (now known as Okinawa) will be accompanied by live music from the Sonny Ochiai Okinawan Music Ensemble.

Following the classical dance is an excerpt from Sound of Emptiness, the dance drama created by Ito in 2008. It is based on the12th century epic The Heike Monogatari and chronicles the reversal of the Heike Clan’s fortune. This section will be performed with original music by Katie Dawn, Beth Griffith, Johnny Lin, Yoko Takahashi, and Yukio Tsuji.

The first piece of the program’s third part takes the audience to 19th century mainland Japan and classical Kabuki dance repertory.  Entitled Chiyo no Tomozuru (Eight Thousand Years Cranes), it honors longevity and peace, appropriate for this occasion.

Fue player Kaoru Watanabe

The remaining part of the program will present contemporary works choreographed by Ito, featuring two dances accompanied live by koto player Masayo Ishigure and her ensemble and Kaoru Watanabe on Fue (traditional Japanese flute). The music, titled The Pole, is by the noted Japanese contemporary composer Etsuo Kawasaki.

The last dance is another premier called Yuki no Furu machi o (“The Town Where Snow Falls”). The original music is a song from 50 years ago, but it is arranged in the classical Yamato-gaku style with traditional instruments. Embracing 30 seasons of prevailing Japanese dance in New York, this work is choreographed specifically for the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Sachiyo Ito and Company.

Sachiyo Ito and Company is using Kickstarter to raise the necessary funds to present this anniversary concert. The troupe has set a goal of $2,200 to be raised by 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 20. To make a donation, go to the 30th Anniversary Concert of Sachiyo Ito and Company page on Kickstarter. It’s important to note that if the funding goal is not reached on the designated day, all donations are refunded, and the project receives no money.