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Event Report
No.057
Vibrant of life communicated by bringing palms together Mirai e no Manazashi Performance

2020/06/24

Mirai e no Manazashi (“gaze toward the future”) Performance was presented on September 15, 2019 by Inclusive Field for Dance at Ushigome Tansu Kumin Hall in Shinjuku City. Inclusive Field for Dance is a nonprofit organization that engages in creative expressions while respecting each other’s individuality regardless of age, gender, body size, or disability. It holds a regular twice-a-month activity centering around its members who engage in creative work and exchanges along with visitors and other experienced participants. The group also holds performances around Japan and abroad as well as workshops at various locations including educational institutions.

Ruri-iro no Chikyu (“bright blue earth”) performance in which everyone participates.
Ruri-iro no Chikyu (“bright blue earth”) performance in which everyone participates.

Be impressed by the speed of the wheelchair dancers!

As part of Mirai e no Manazashi Project commemorating the 20th anniversary of the organization’s founding, performed on this day were a dance routine by nine elementary school students created through a workshop that met three times, and a piece performed by all 30 of the regular members.
The audience sits at the same level as the stage, and the performers appear from behind the audience. As the facilitator calls out “Run!” “Look together with someone!” and “Draw a picture with your fingers!” the performers do various things like run and strike poses with great energy.
In the next act called Doki Doki Doki (meaning “heart-throbbing earthenware”), a dancer stands on a wheelchair holding a white ball while a few others push the wheelchair and move as they dance.
Up next is Te-awase Nohara, a piece that incorporates te-awase, a game in which partners place each other’s palms together and move as they feel the others’ movements. Members of the audience also participated on this day. Although they acted shy at first, as they moved while feeling the hands of those around them, their facial expressions and movements began to soften dramatically.

Both adults and children become more and more free through te-awase

After the performance, we had a chance to talk with Hiroko Nishi, the director of the organization.
Te-awase is a technique for expression we have adopted since we began our activities and have cultivated over the years. When it is practiced numerous times, even developmentally challenged children who dislike being touched will begin to reach out with their own hands. We are seeing that as they interact with people in this way, they learn to feel more comfortable living in our society and it brings out their creativity.
She says the dances are generally not choreographed. “So that they express their individual selves, we facilitators call to them and connect with them as a way to sort of ‘cultivate their soil’.”
While people today talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion, Nishi feels that in reality, there are very few opportunities in which we can engage in activities on a truly equal footing with those with disabilities. In the future, she wants to create a foundation on which more and more of such activities can be generated.

As they move in response to the prompts called out by the facilitator, you can see they are performing while feeling the movements of those around them.
As they move in response to the prompts called out by the facilitator, you can see they are performing while feeling the movements of those around them.
Beginning scene of Doki Doki Doki. Dancers who have split up into two groups slowly move toward stage center.
Beginning scene of Doki Doki Doki. Dancers who have split up into two groups slowly move toward stage center.
Mae e (“going forward”), performed by adult members, is a piece full of dynamic and sharp movements.
In a piece called Mirai e no Manazashi, elementary school students expressed themselves, each in their own individual ways. Children in wheelchair can move smoothly by holding hands and pulling a hand.

Left: Mae e (“going forward”), performed by adult members, is a piece full of dynamic and sharp movements.
Right: In a piece called Mirai e no Manazashi, elementary school students expressed themselves, each in their own individual ways. Children in wheelchair can move smoothly by holding hands and pulling a hand.

Everyone participated in the final piece, Ruri-iro no Chikyu. They placed each other’s palms together and swayed, expressing forest trees and wind blowing on the earth.
Everyone participated in the final piece, Ruri-iro no Chikyu. They placed each other’s palms together and swayed, expressing forest trees and wind blowing on the earth.
Director Hiroko Nishi teaches physical expression theory and dance studies at Toyo Eiwa University.
Nishi demonstrates te-awase.

Left: Director Hiroko Nishi teaches physical expression theory and dance studies at Toyo Eiwa University.
Right: Nishi demonstrates te-awase.

The performance ended with one last te-awase activity.
The performance ended with one last te-awase activity.

Japanese original text: Erika Sawaguchi
Photo: Shu Nakagawa

Summer vacation 2019 dance workshop & performance
Mirai e no Manazashi Performance
Children dialogue through inclusive dance

Location: Ushigome Tansu Kumin Hall
Date & Time: September 15, 2019 (Sunday) at 1:00 pm (doors open 12:30 pm)
Organizer: NPO Inclusive Field for Dance

Mirai e no Manazashi special website
https://www.mirai-manazashi.org/

Inclusive Field for Dance website
https://www.inclusive-dance.org/