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timeline | Eiko + Koma
photo by Kazunobu Yanagi


See Eiko & Koma timeline
designed by Caitlin Mack for the exhibition, Residue: An Installation by Eiko & Koma, presented at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center, July 19 -- October 30, 2011

1945 Japan defeated

1948   Koma born in Niigata, Japan

1952  Eiko born in Tokyo, Japan

US occupation of Japan ends

1953 Korean War ends

1958-1964 Eiko spends childhood in rural Japan

1960 Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security between the United States and Japan is signed despite a strong opposition movement in Japan

1964 Preparation for the Tokyo Olympics radically changes Tokyo’s landscape

The Vietnam War begins

1966 The Beatles perform in Tokyo

1967 Koma moves to Tokyo

1968 Koma enters Waseda University majoring in political science

International students uprisings

1969 The Woodstock Festival

1968 - 71 Independently participate in anti-war student movement joining street demonstrations and barricading schools. Koma is arrested but not indicted.

1970 Eiko enters Chuo University majoring in political science

1971  Eiko and Koma meet while both are living at Tatsumi Hijikata’s dance studio in Tokyo

Leave Hijikata’s studio to live and work together

Leave college and begin to study with Kazuo Ohno

1972 Work in cabarets under the name of “Night Shockers” to earn their travel funds for leaving Japan

Board a ship to Siberia then a train to Moscow and a plane to Europe arriving in Munich, Germany

Self-produce a two-month late evening show at Theater ProT in Munich

1973 Move to Hanover to study with Manja Chimiel, the longtime assistant of Mary Wigman

First gallery performance in Kunstverein in Hanover, Germany

Perform at the Cologne Choreographers’ Competition, for which Manja Chimel submitted their application. Judges led by Kurt Jooss choose Eiko & Koma’s 10-minute piece White Dance as one of three winners to be performed in the Cologne Opera House for the general public
Move to Amsterdam and take various modern dance classes

Create Linden Gracht Dance Laboratory, where they live and work with Japanese dancer Mitsutaka Ishii

Perform at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam

1973 -74 Perform various versions of White Dance in festivals and venues in Netherlands, France and Germany

1974  Lucas Hoving sees Eiko & Koma perform and invites them to teach a master class in the Rotterdam Dance Academy, which he directs

Move to Rotterdam to study in the Academy as special guests.

Eiko has surgery in an attempt to relieve her prolonged ankle injury

A month long tour of Tunisia including a performance at Tabacca Festival. Both get sick.

Return to Japan to pursue medical treatment for Eiko’s ankle pain

1975  Study with Kazuo Ohno while working in preschools, Koma as a school bus driver and Eiko as a classroom teacher

The Vietnam War ends

Choreograph and rehearse White Dance in the preschool classroom after work hours

1976  Their first six-month visit to the US starts with a single San Francisco performance produced by Paul and Irene Oppenheim

New York debut at Japan Society performing White Dance

Visit to St. Croix where they collaborate with photographer Jan Henle

1977  After a brief return to Japan, move to New York

1977-78  Work in restaurants and live in Chelsea and Soho

1978 Begin touring the East and West coast

Work at Anna Halprin’s studio while living in San Francisco half time

1978 - 81 Live on West 15th St, Chelsea, Manhattan

1979 Begin working with Ivan Sygoda of Pentacle, who is still managing Eiko & Koma

Become permanent U.S. residents and begin touring internationally

Three Miles Island Nuclear Accident

1980  Work on Jimmy Carter presidential campaign

1981 Collaborate with performance artist Bob Carroll on Nurse’s Song

1981 - 84 Move to a farm house in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York

Teach three-week, live-in workshop in the farmhouse called Delicious Movement Workshop

1983 Month long run of Grain in an East village loft

Collaborate with Arc Video in creating Tentacle, Eiko & Koma’s first media work choreographed for camera

First performance at the American Dance Festival

Film Wallow at Pt. Reyes, California

1984 Receive two Guggenheim Fellowships awarded to both Eiko & Koma

Premiere Night Tide, their first piece in the nude

Awarded inaugural “Bessie” (New York Dance and Performance Award) for Grain and Night Tide
Move to Manhattan Plaza on West 43rd St in Manhattan where Eiko & Koma still live 

1985  Son Yuta is born

Create media dance Lament, the first collaboration with video artists James Byrne

Premiere Thirst, their first piece in silence 

1986  First appearance at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival with the New Moon Stories

1987 Koma films media dance Husk, Eiko’s solo

1988  Son Shin is born

Present Tree and Thirst in Tokyo, their first performance in Japan since 1976

John Bernd and Bob Carroll, two close friends and gifted performers, die of AIDS as do many other friends and colleagues

1990  First performance at the Joyce Theater in New York. In Passage, the whole stage oozed with water which dropped from above

Three week performances and exhibition at Kirin Plaza in Osaka, Japan

1991 Premiere Land, collaboration with Native-American musician Robert  Mirabal and painter Sandra Lerner

1993  Premiere Wind, collaboration with Chanticleer and Robert Mirabal

1991 Eiko & Koma’s son Yuta plays a part in Land and Wind.  Their younger son Shin later inherits the roles

1995 Create River in the Catskill Mountains and premiere it in the Delaware River

1995 – 96      National tour of River co-produced by Environmental Performance Network

1996 Receive the first joint MacArthur Fellowship

1997 Premiere the indoor version of River, collaboration with Kronos Quartet and composer Somei Satoh

1998 Month-long living installation Breath at the Whitney Museum in New York

1999 Perform Caravan Project, a mobile performance installation, at Bryant Park and Tompkins Square Park, Manhattan

1999-2001 Tour Caravan Project to 16 communities

2000 Receive a one year space grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council for a
studio on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center North Tower 

Premiere When Nights Were Dark, collaboration with Joseph Jennings and a Praise Choir

2001 9/11

Premiere Be With, a collaboration with Anna Halprin and Joan Jeanrenaud commissioned by the Kennedy Center. 2001 anthrax attacks happen the same week.

2002 Perform Offering, collaboration with David Kraukauer and Lakshmi Aysola, in parks throughout Manhattan and tour U.S. and Poland

2002-06 Offering is presented at 39 sites

2004  Receive Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award. For the ceremony, Eiko & Koma’s younger son Shin creates a video documentary My Parents

Residency funded by Asian Cultural Council at Reyum Institute in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

2005 Eiko becomes a founding fellow of Center for Creative Research and begins a
residency at Wesleyan University

2005- 06 Koma returns to Cambodia several times to work with students of Reyum Art School in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

2006 Creates video documentary The Making of Cambodian Stories

12-city U.S. tour of Cambodian Stories with 11 young Cambodian painters accompanied by an exhibition and the sale of paintings by students of Reyum Art School

Receive Dance Magazine Award and the inaugural United States Artists Fellowship

2007 Eiko begins teaching a course at Wesleyan University, Delicious Movement for
Forgetting, Remembering, and Uncovering

Premiere Mourning, collaboration with pianist Margaret Leng Tan commissioned for the centennial of Japan Society

Revival of Grain and creation of Quartet, collaboration with Charian and Peace (of Cambodian Stories) commissioned by American Dance Festival

Eiko writes a Master’s thesis at the New York University Gallatin School about atomic bomb literature titled Sustained Mourning

2008 Premiered Hunger, collaboration with Charian and Peace (of Cambodian Stories) co-commissioned by the Walker Art Center and Joyce Theater

2009 The start of Eiko & Koma’s Retrospective Project. A conference titled Envisioning is held at Wesleyan University. 36 curators and scholars gather to discuss the retrospective project and its goals.

Exhibition and performances in Zilkha Gallery at Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts

2010 Publication of From Trinity to Trinity, written by Kyoko Hayashi and translated and introduced by Eiko

Regeneration, a Retrospective Project program, premieres in New York City at Danspace Project.

The Walker Art Center commissions a living installation, Naked, as a part of an exhibition of its permanent collection. Eiko & Koma perform Naked for a month during all the hours the museum is open.

2010-12 National and international tour of Regeneration

2011 Devastating earthquake and tsunami hit Japan, resulting in nuclear meltdowns and the release if radioactive materials at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant

Present Naked at Baryshnikov Art Center with an accompanying video installation

Publication of catalogue Time Is Not Even, Space Is Not Empty by the Walker Art Center

Opening of exhibition Time Is Not Even, Space Is Not Empty at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Revival of River during Eiko & Koma’s 18th season at the American Dance Festival

Opening of exhibition Residue at the New York Public Library for Performing Arts

Premiere of Water at Lincoln Center Out of Doors

2011-2012 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland celebrates its 10th year anniversary with a year-long presentation of an Eiko & Koma exhibition and three performances

2014 Eiko and Koma each begin solo projects