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Arts Watch: Yoshiko Chuma Brings Her ‘Love Story, Palestine’ to LaMama

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Yoshiko Chuma, conceptual artist, choreographer and artistic director of The School of Hard Knocks is known to court danger and controversy far and wide. Born in Osaka, Japan but residing in the U.S. since 1978, a lifetime fascination with cross-cultural dialogue has propelled her around the world. In April 2011, she traveled with fifteen artists from Japan and the US over several international borders to Ramallah, to work with members of the Palestinian Dance Troupe El-Funoun. Together they created 6 Seconds in Ramallah, an emotionally charged multimedia performance work that merged the popular folk heritage of El-Funoun with the conceptual performance style of Chuma.

Since then, the project has fermented into Love Story, Palestine, a new work that continues to investigate the unique characteristics and identity of each performer, while taking on the contemporary story of Palestinians living in Ramallah. This time around, Chuma has brought El-Funoun members Sari Husseini and Anas Abu to NYC—no easy task given the visa process— integrated them with members of her own company, and tasked them with re-creating segments from her own documented works and experiences in Ramallah.

Combining film, contemporary dance, music, photographs and interviews, Chuma constantly changes the audience’s spatial relationship to the performers in order to replicate a sense of dislocation presently experienced by the Palestinians in Ramallah. Chuma describes the work as “framing theater with barbed wire.”

Chuma is presenting the piece for FREE with the “chance to communicate a very important message about the reality in Palestine,” at the Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa.  May 9-12,  7:30 pm; Sat, 2:30 and 7:30 pm.  Reservations required.


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