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FAQ | Eiko + Koma
Q & A at Zilkha
photo by George Ruhe


  • Why did you choose to move from Japan to America in 1976?
  • In 1976, we were studying in Europe and had started to present our own work. Lucas Hoving saw our choreography and told us that we should visit New York. Once we came here and performed, we made a few very good friends, and they encouraged us to stay.
  • Why do you move in a slow, meditated manner?
  • We do not necessarily think that our movement is slow. Rather, we think that when we move, we take enough time to do something we like to taste and share. The timing of our dances is often inspired by natural themes that have their own proper timing.
  • Do you have an ideal audience?
  • No. We welcome any audience. It is even okay if someone leaves after a while. We have observed that the reaction of individuals in our audiences is more disparate than the overall response of audiences with different national, cultural, gender, or age composition. The same person can react very differently to each piece we make, and even the same piece when viewed at different times. There is no clear rule for who we want our audience to be.
  • How would you hope that an audience member would interpret your work?
  • We are not very interested in interpretation. Rather, we want people to feel something, without the need to define it right away. We wish that people can see into our dance some ancient memory--that they do not remember from when and where. We hope that the audience will feel like they have been in this memory, or at least connected to it a long time ago.
  • How do you begin your choreographic process? Are you inspired by imagery, ideas, music, movement, emotion?
  • Since it is just the two of us working, it is hard to know exactly what our process is. Usually we begin with a concept we want to think, feel, and explore by making a dance. Each title of our work explains the concept of a dance in the simplest language. Then we have a research process (both outward and inward) to think and explore that subject. Often we start by making a visual environment (or set) where we place ourselves. Then we work on appropriate movements for that place and for that being. Our dances are rarely inspired by a form of music.
  • What are your goals as teachers?
  • Because our primary focus is still performance, we have not had much experience teaching for a long time in one place. When we give workshops, we share what we think and what we do with the hope that other people can also enjoy the movements and images we like to be engaged in. In our class, people discover commonalties and differences between each other and with us.