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ADF (Premiere) Program | Eiko + Koma
ADF (Premiere) Program

ADF (Premiere) Program (2019)

In my new Duet Project: Distance is Malleable, I work with a diverse group of artists, living and dead. Collaborators come from different places, times, disciplines, and concerns. Together, we try to maximize the potentials of our various encounters so as to reaffirm that distance is indeed malleable.

The Duet Project does not result in a set work that tours in the same shape after this premiere. Every future performance of this project will be designed specifically for the performance site and community that the project travels to. Not every artist I had an “encounter” with has become a named collaborator, nor will I share with the public every duet that I experiment with. Every encounter, however, regardless of outcome, allows me to live my life with the concept of the Duet Project. This endeavor is as much about conversation as it is about self-curation, developing instincts, desires, strategies, and tools for encounters with or without words. It is also about developing urges, hesitations, and resistance by looking at each other and taking time. Being physically and mindfully together is memory making. Every encounter is to affirm living and also to prepare for one’s inevitable leaving. My body is always leaning forward to the next encounter.

One of my collaborators in this project is my new friend Beverly McIver, introduced to me by ADF director Jodee Nimerichter. The surprisingly fast and mutually affecting way Beverly and I developed our friendship embodies the spirit of this project. Mark McCloughan, DonChristian Jones, and Alexis Moh, who are part of this performance, studied with me, but they are now full collaborators who challenge me. Longtime friends David Brick, Ralph Samuelson, Ishmael Houston Jones, Margaret Leng Tan, and Merian Soto are not in today’s program, but the experiences of working with them taught me particular ways to intensify encounters and deeply know each other. They will join me in my future presentations of the project. By naming Sam Miller, C.D. Wright, Kyoko Hayashi, my mother Yukiko Otake, and my grandfather Chikuha Otake, who all passed away, as ongoing collaborators, I continue to converse with them. Please visit www.eikoandkoma.org/duetproject to explore aspects of the Duet Project that are not included in today’s presentation.

I am grateful to The Cathedral of St John the Divine, Temple University, Rauschenberg Foundation, Wesleyan University, and Alfred University for providing us creative residencies. Very special thanks to Jodee and all the staff of ADF, and my project director Bonnie Brooks and Inta president Ivan Sygoda for their ongoing guidance. I am so blessed to be working with my collaborators in this project. THANK YOU! A particularly big shout to Beverly for diving in and becoming such an important new friend. I am also happy that I am back in theater space with my collaborators after many years of performing solos in public sites. I thank David Ferri for all that you do helping so many artists, Koma and me included. Deep thank you to Linda, Jody, Ellen and Frank of Kassilhaus, and many other friends in this community for their continuing gaze and support. There is no other town in the world where I have shared my work so densely. Thank you for coming back to see this new project. I would love to hear your thoughts. You can reach me at
- Eiko Otake