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Hana Sakai & Udai Shika


The Dying Swan & Its Cause of Death

Beyond Classics: Ballet, Contemporary Theatre, Nohgaku Dance & Post Show Artist Discussion

Date(s) & Time(s)
: Tuesday, May 21, 8:00 PM
Duration: 50 mins without intermission
Location: 2840 Mariposa St, SF, CA, 94110
Venue: Theatre of Yugen

Presented by U.S./Japan Cultural Trade Network

Ticket Information

General Admission: $30
Community discount code: CTN24

Artist Information

Dance: Hana Sakai
Cello: Udai Shika
Direction & Text: Toshiki Okada
Nohgaku Dance: Lluis Valls

Special Ballet Variations Masterclass
Hana Sakai at LINES Dance Center
Sunday, May 19, 11:30AM–1:30PM

Artist Website

Dying_Swan_1400.jpgProduction Details

The Dying Swan & Its Cause of Death
The timeless beauty of the classic Dying Swan, originally choreographed by Mikhail Fokine, has inspired many audiences and artists. Now, 120 years after its premiere, Japanese prima ballerina Hana Sakai performs this iconic piece, followed by a provocative new interpretation directed by award-winning theater director Toshiki Okada. Enhanced by the haunting melodies of live cello played by Udai Shika, the contemporary piece also delves into environmental issues, with unexpected expressions from the ballerina.

Theatre of Yugen’s Artistic lead Lluís Valls graces the special evening with a Shimai Dance and Nohgaku-infused Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Following the performance, join in the conversation with artists and producers from Japan.

Artist Biographies

Hana Sakai (Ballet Dancer)
Born in Seattle, U.S.A., and raised in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, Hana Sakai began ballet in 1979, studying under Toshiaki Hatasa. She joined the Tachibana Ballet School and the Maki Asami Ballet Tokyo, where she was selected for the role of Cupid at the age of 14 and made her debut as a leading role at the age of 18. In 1997, she transferred to the New National Ballet Company, and performed the leading role. She made a guest appearance in "Contact" by the Shiki Theatre Company in 2007 and "Andersen" in 2009. Hana began collaborating with Yasutake Shimaji as the unit "Altneu" (Altneu) in 2013. She has received many prestigious awards and honors including Muramatsu Award, Einosuke Nakagawa Award, Dance Critics Society Newcomer Prize, Minister of Education's Art Encouragement Prize, Chieko Hattori Award, Dance Critics Society Award, Minister of Education's Art Encouragement Prize, Nimura Dance Award, Medal with Purple Ribbon in 2017, and the 69th Art of Dance Award in 2021.

Udai Shika (Cellist)
Udai Shika is a versatile cellist known for his eclectic performances across a range of genres, including rock, pop, jazz, classical, and improvised music. Since the 2010s, he has held a prominent position as one of the top string arrangers in the Japanese music scene. In recent years, Udai has played and arranged strings for Bank Band, Mr. Children, ONE OK ROCK, and various other rock bands. In October 2019, he released his album "Taiyo no Tani (Valley of the Sun)," featuring his renditions of Bach's unaccompanied cello suites. Beyond his interpretations of classical works, he is recognized for his original compositions and his unique approach to blending classical music with improvisational flair.

Toshiki Okada, Director
Toshiki Okada is a playwright, director and novelist. He is an innovator of form and a key figure in Japanese contemporary theater, and one of the world’s most recognized theater-makers of today. Born in Yokohama in 1973, he formed the theater company chelfitsch in 1997. Since then he has written and directed all of the company’s productions, employing a distinctive methodology for creating plays, and has come to be known for his use of “hyper-colloquial” Japanese and unique choreography. chelfitsch made its debut abroad with the performance “Five Days in March” in 2007, and has since presented works in more than 70 cities around the world. With that show, the company began to juxtapose a noisy choreography derived from everyday mannerisms to the text. In 2016, he began a commission to direct works in a repertory program at the Munich Kammerspiele, one of foremost public theaters in Germany, for three consecutive seasons. Meanwhile, he is engaged in the creation of works with the new technique of “video theater.”    

​Lluís Valls (Lead Artist of Theatre of Yugen)
Lluís acts, directs, and writes for the theatre. He has studied Noh with Richard Emmert, Akira Matsui, and Teruhisa Oshima (Kita school), Kyogen with Yukio Ishida, Go Iida and Yuriko Doi (Izumi school), and Kotsuzumi Noh drum with Mitsuo Kama (Ko school), as well as training in butoh, Suzuki method, and clowning. A graduate of SFSU, Lluís has been a disciple of founder Yuriko Doi since 1993 and served as Theatre of Yugen’s Joint Artistic Director with Jubilith Moore and Libby Zilber from 2002 – 2008. He has been a main actor for Yugen since 1997 and currently serves as the Director of the Kyogen Company. Lluís is also a founding member of the local Clown company Clowns on a Stick, as well as international Noh troupe Theatre Nohgaku with whom he has toured throughout Europe, Asia and the US.

Eri Karatsu (Artistic Director with Aichi Prefectural Art Theater and Dance Base Yokohama (DaBY))
Eri graduated from Ochanomizu University, Faculty of Letters and Education, Department of Dance Education, and completed the Graduate School of Humanities and Sciences of the same university. After a career on the stage, Eri worked at the Aichi Arts Center as Japan's first dance curator from 1993. She received the first Asahi Arts Award at the Aichi Cultural Information Center in 2000. She has been in her current position since 2021. Eri was the performing arts curator for the Aichi Triennale from 2010 to 2016. She has produced and invited over 200 productions and projects ranging from large-scale international co-productions to experimental performances. Upon the establishment of DaBY, she became actively involved in improving the overall environment for dance and performing arts, advocating for the rights of artists, dancers, and staff, and implementing measures to expand audiences and markets. She is the Director of SEGA SAMMY Arts Foundation. Her written work includes her book, L'intelligence du corps. She received the 73rd Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's Art Encouragement Prize in 2022.

San Francisco International Arts Festival
Phone Number: 415-399-9554 | Email: [email protected]
1222 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA 94109



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