The Akatonbo Fellowship provides grants to emerging artists from outside of the United States to create and perform original works in dance and music.


2017 Recipient

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.


2016 Recipients

Fang-Yi Sheu & Artists

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.


Chien-Hao Chang
Chien-Hao Chang is one of Taiwan’s most promising young dance artists. A former member of the Bulareyaung Dance Company, Mr. Chang creates original work for CHANG Dance Theater, which he founded with his two younger brothers in 2011. In their debut performance that same year, CHANG Dance Theater presented choreography by Tsung-Lung Chen, and Mr. Chang received a Taishin Arts Award for his performance. In 2014, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Mr. Chang participated in the International Choreographers Residency Program at the American Dance Festival, where he developed a new work titled “Hui.” Mr. Chang’s first solo work, Hui has since been presented at a number of international dance festivals in Asia and Europe. The Akatonbo fellowship subsidizes a grant from the Asian Cultural Council and will enable Mr. Change to come to New York for six months starting in December 2016 to see performances, take dance and movement classes and workshops, and observe the wide range of movement traditions that are performed and taught in this international milieu.


2015 Recipient

Nao Nishihara
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.