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The Toyota Choreography Award 2005 Decided
 The final judging for the Toyota Choreography Award 2005 took place over the two days July 9 and 10 at the Setagaya Public Theater in Tokyo. The eight finalists remaining out of the original 161 contestants were given 30 minutes of performance time for their final choreography presentation. The resulting judges’ decision gave the 2005 “ Next Generation Choreographer’ s Award” to Maho SUMIJI for the work What follows the act with its recorder improvisation and effective use of lighting.
SUMIJI centers her activities at the “ Nishijin Factory” (former Nishijin-ori Necktie Factory), the former Kyoto town workshop now communally used by various artists as an art space. And, her winning work reflects this kind of collaborative background. Meanwhile, the “ Audience Awards” given for each of the two days based on audience voting went to Yukio SUZUKI’ s work Yaguka yaguka ah (on the 9th) and Mika ARASHIKI’ s work Lulu Zaza (on the 10th).
This years’ s Toyota Choreography Award was characterized by the fact that most of the finalists are from a new generation of artists who have come of age at local “ art spaces” that serve as the centers for contemporary dance around Japan, like the Yokohama ST Spot, Kagurazaka die pratze, and the Matsuyama Community Center and some art NPOs. And, it is believed that this trend will continue. The Toyota Choreography Award gives the winner a ¥2 million as a grant for choreography activities and an additional ¥1 million if the winning artist schedules an overseas performance within one year of receiving the Award.
+Next Generation Choreographer’ s Award winner
After studying literature through college and graduate school and working as a dictionary editor and writer, SUJIMI says that she suddenly felt a lack connection with her own body and this realization prompted her to take up dance in the butoh genre. Making the Kansai (Western Japan) region her center of activities, SUMIJI gained experience as a dancer in both domestic and international performances. In 1997 she formed the “ Dance Unit Selenographica with Shuichi ABIRU and has remained its representative to the present. Working primarily in the duet format, SUMIJI has continued to develop and rethink her choreographic style, and recently she has begun to create pieces for solo and group performance. With her body proportions that break the standard for dancers and her minute movements, SUMIJI has even been likened affectionately to a dancing stuffed doll. She is also a founding member of the Kyoto Contemporary Dance Study Group.
+Audience Award winners
Beginning butoh in 1997, Yukio SUZUKI has participated in a number of butoh and other performance groups. In 2000 he formed his own group “ King-yo (Goldfish) and also began solo activities. In 2003 he received the Labo Award of “ Labo 20 #14” sponsored by the Yokohama ST Spot. In 2004 he presented his work Yaguka yaguka ah at the Saison Foundation’ s “ Next, Next 5” and the “ Tokyo Compe #1” competitions. In 2005 he was resident artist at the Session House.
As a child, Mika ARASHIKI began dance, mainly in the modern dance and ballet genre. In 2000 she joined with Mai FUKUDOME to form the 155 cm duo “ Ho Ho Do.” The two collaborate to produce works originating in the impulses and subtle sensibilities of daily life. Until now ARASHIKI has presented her works at venues like the Yokohama ST Spot sponsored “ Labo 20,” “ Labo Selection” and the JCDN sponsored “ We’ re gonna go Dancing!!” series. In 2004 she was winner of the Keralino Sandorovich Award for dance and performance of the “ Tokyo Competition #1.” In 2005 she presented a commissioned work for the opening of the Kichijoji Theater. She also continues to choreograph works for children’ s groups and teach dance to children.
+The Nextage finalists, 8 groups (in alphabetical order)
Toshiki OKADA
Tomoyo OKADA
+Toyota Choreography Award 2005