Virtual Event:
DEL Mini Workshop
Asian American Women in Dance: Yuriko

At Jun 12

Event Dates

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June 12 | 2-5pm Eastern
Facilitated by Ann Biddle

Join Ann Biddle (Director of DEL at Jacob’s Pillow) and special guests Emiko and Yasuko Tokunaga of Tokunaga Dance Ko and Miki Orihara to celebrate Japanese American women’s voices in dance history with an exploration of the life and work of Yuriko Kikuchi. Yuriko, whose stage name was Yuriko, was a principal dancer in Martha Graham’s company from the 1940s to 1967 and was instrumental in preserving the Graham legacy through her extensive teaching and re-staging of many iconic Graham works. Emiko and Yasuko will share excerpts highlighting Yuriko’s life and work drawn from the Yuriko biography Emiko wrote. The interactive workshop will also include a virtual interview with Miki Orihara, who was a principal dancer in the Martha Graham Dance Company, and worked closely with Yuriko, preserving her unique approach to Graham Technique. Ms. Orihara will share her reminiscences of dancing and working alongside Yuriko.

Tokunaga Dance Ko was founded by American Japanese sisters, Emiko and Yasuko Tokunaga. TDK was sponsored by the Japan-US Friendship Commission, NEA, DCA, among others. TDK received the key to Nara City, Japan.  TDK’s unique pedagogy was recognized in Dance Magazine, Attitude, and has been taught in over 40 institutions. 

Emiko is the author of Yuriko-An American Japanese Dancer, (Graham dancer) and America-no-Itohan (Mother Utako). She designed/coordinated over 100 dances for TDK and Boston Conservatory. At BC directed Summer Dance, taught (technique, pedagogy); received Best Faculty Award (2003, 2008). At Harvard: coordinated Radcliffe Dance Program, resident administration fellow; guest speaker for World Religions. She choreographed over 60 dances, holds an MA from NYU (Kappa Delta Pi, Alpha Kappa Delta).

Yasuko choreographed over 50 works and holds a BFA from The Juilliard School.  She was Director of BC Dance Division and Artistic Director of BC Dance Theater (1989-2011). BCDT was the first college to perform original works by Graham, Limón, Sokolow, Nikolas, Louis, and Tudor.  She received the 2000 Outstanding Faculty Award and the 1993 Boston’s Pro Arts Consortium Public Service Award.  She also taught Graham at the Hartt School and Ballet at the Martha Graham School as well as serving as Licensing Director at Limón.