The Akatonbo Fellowship is awarded to artists to create and perform original works in dance and music, with special attention given to collaboration across cultures.
Jeffrey Cirio, Cirio Collective
Cirio Collective, founded by American Ballet Theatre principal and choreographer Jeffrey Cirio and Boston Ballet Principal Lia Cirio, was created in the summer of 2015 to explore and develop new choreography, with a special focus on bringing dancers and other artists together to create and collaborate. They have performed at Vineyard Arts Project, Cape Dance Festival, Hudson Valley Dance Festival, Dance at Socrates, and the Joyce Theater Ballet Festival, among others. Jeffrey Cirio is the recipient of the Jadin Wong Award of the Asian American Arts Alliance; and Joffrey Academy’s 6th Annual Winning Works Choreographic Competition, which recognizes the talents of emerging choreographers of diverse ethnic backgrounds. He has been commissioned to choreograph works for Boston Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and the Joyce Theater. The Omomuki grant funds in part Jeffrey Cirio’s original work Tornerai?, the world premier of which was performed at the 2018 Fire Island Dance Festival.
Alexandre Hammoudi & Manuel Vignoulle, Makers Dance Company
Makers Dance Company was founded in 2017 by American Ballet Theater (ABT) soloist Alexandre Hammoudi. It is currently comprised of members of ABT Corps de Ballet dancers from China, France, Japan, and Korea. Makers Dance Company is combining the beauty and bravado of ballet with modern ideas and movement. Its repertoire is inspired by historical tales, fictional stories, and non-fictional events. The Omomuki Foundation commissioned Makers Dance Company’s inaugural work Tatakai, which was choreographed by Manuel Vignoulle and premiered at the 2017 Fire Island Dance Festival in New York.
A native of Taiwan, Ms. Sheu is a former Principal Dancer for Martha Graham Dance Company. She has been praised by the New York Times as the finest present-day embodiment of Martha Graham’s technique and tradition. She has received numerous awards including the 2005 President’s Order of Brilliant Star (Taiwan), the 2007 National Award for the Arts (Taiwan), and Ballettanz Magazine’s 2008 Outstanding Female Dancer. She was the first Asian artist-in-residency at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. She is the founder of Fang-Yi Sheu & Artists, through which she expands her passion for performing arts and shares her experience with upcoming generations of performing artists. The Omomuki grant funded Ms. Sheu’s July 2016 Creation Week in Taipei, which brought together twelve dancers from Taiwan, China, Korean, and Mongolia and resulted in two night’s of performances in November 2016 at Beijing’s National Performing Arts Center.
Mr. Nishihara is a sound designer, sculptor, and performer whose artwork and sound performances have been presented in Japan, South Korea, and Germany. Mr. Nishihara finished his undergraduate studies as a sound engineer. When he entered the M.F.A. program at Tokyo University of the Arts, he met Phil Niblock, a minimalist composer and multimedia musician, and the director of the avant-garde foundation Experimental Intermedia based in New York City. Since then, Mr. Nishihara has been integrating sound and sculptural objects. The Akatonbo fellowship subsidizes a grant from the Asian Cultural Council and will enable Mr. Nishihara to work with the 82-year-old Niblock to further explore sound and interdisciplinary media, and bring his experiences back to Japan.
What is Akatonbo?
It is a red dragonfly. It is also the name of a popular Japanese folk song, which recalls nostalgia for one’s home, family, and past. The Akatonbo emblem was graciously designed and donated to Omomuki by Kate Saliba and Deb Bastien. We thank Mr. Koichiro Wakai for the akatonbo concept, and for his guidance in developing this program.