Monthly Archives: March 2009

Swarthmore Taiko Nurtures Student Talent in Partnership with Tamagawa University

Swarthmore Taiko, the student and community performance group directed by Dance Professor Kim Arrow, and the Dance Program’s Taiko repertory classes, will launch into the next phase of their development with a gift of a set of Taiko drums handcrafted by Miyamoto, one of the most respected family names in Taiko-making. This gift from Tamagawa University and Cornell Visiting Professor Isaburoh Hanayagi, director of Tamagawa’s Taiko Drum and Dance Ensemble, is one result of an enriching nine-year cultural exchange between the two institutions. These drums will be featured in a score of performances by both Swarthmore Taiko and the Dance Program’s repertory classes this spring, including appearances for the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia’s Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival and Swarthmore’s Spring Student Dance Concert.

Over fifty students from both the Dance Program and the Japanese Program will take part in a special performance for Sakura Sunday, the highlight of the month long Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival, on Sunday, April 5 at the Horticulture Center in Fairmount Park. This spring’s Taiko repertory classes and last fall’s Japanese Dance repertory class will perform pieces choreographed by Cornell Visiting Professor Isaburoh Hanayagi. Swarthmore Taiko will present a variety of repertory works. Additional upcoming performances by Swarthmore Taiko include Morris Arboretum’s Cherry Blossom Celebration on April 4 and a special appearance at Kutztown University’s Asian American Celebration on April 7 with the Lenny Seidman Table Choir.

Two alumni, nurtured by this strong relationship between Swarthmore and Tamagawa, have gone on to pursue Taiko at a professional level. Joe Small ’05 will return to Swarthmore in April to perform with Swarthmore Taiko, and as a guest player for Professor Hanayagi’s repertory works in the Sakura Sunday performance and in the Spring Student Dance Concert on April 24 and 25. Alex Hudson ’05 will reunite with Joe as an audience member for the Saturday night performance, coming directly from a performance with San Jose Taiko in Georgia.

Joe and Alex were both highly active in Swarthmore Taiko and Taiko repertory classes during their time at Swarthmore and participated in a semester abroad program at Tamagawa University. Joe has recently completed a two-year apprenticeship with world-renown Taiko ensemble, Kodo, following a Fulbright Fellowship to Japan to continue his Taiko research. For the past two years, Alex has been performing with San Jose Taiko, the oldest touring Taiko company in the United States.

For more information about Swarthmore Taiko and Taiko repertory classes contact Dance professor Kim Arrow at


When: Saturday, April 4, 1 pm
What: Morris Arboretum Japanese Cherry Blossom Celebration
Where: Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia, PA
Info: (215) 247-5777

When: Sunday, April 5, 11 am ? 4 pm
What: Sakura Sunday, Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia ? Swarthmore Taiko and Repertory Classes
Where: Fairmount Park??s Horticulture Center

When: Tuesday, April 7, 11 am ? 1 pm
What: Asian American Celebration, Swarthmore Taiko and Lenny Seidman Tabla Choir
Where: Kutztown University, Kutztown, PA
Info: (610) 683-4808

When: Friday and Saturday, April 24 and 25, 8 pm
What: Swarthmore College Spring Student Dance Concert, Taiko Repertory Works featuring guest artist Joe Small ??05
Where: Pearson-Hall Theatre, Lang Performing Arts Center
Info: (610) 328-8260


The Department of Music and Dance at Swarthmore College presents A Window on the Work: Lisa Kraus and Cynthia Lee ’02 on Sunday, April 5 at 4 pm in Troy Dance Lab, Lang Performing Arts Center (LPAC). During this informal showing, Kraus and Lee will present works developed while taking part in the Swarthmore Project Residency in Dance this past summer, and will speak about their work and answer questions from the audience.

Lisa Kraus will present excerpts from Red Thread, an intergenerational work inspired by a model of women artists’ sustainability – quilting circles – created in collaboration with two long-time colleagues: Eva Karczag and Guggenheim Fellow Vicky Shick. The three women met while company members in The Trisha Brown Dance Company in the 1970s. They have each gone on to have successful careers in the contemporary dance field, and now in their fifties, come together again, full circle, to dance and reflect on their lives in movement.

Cynthia Lee ’02 returns to Swarthmore to show two works-in-progress. Kat-tarang is a contemporary kathak piece created in collaboration with tabla player Lenny Seidman that brings new cross-rhythmic possibilities to Hindustani (North Indian classical) music.

Lee will begin the afternoon with darshan, an outdoor ritual dance installation drawing connections between butoh and the fluid, reciprocal gaze of Indian aesthetic theory. Performers Lee, Liza Clark ’03 and Rebecca Patek will each dance for an audience passing by in a natural wooded setting.

Lisa Kraus is a Philadelphia-based dance artist whose career has included performing in the Trisha Brown Dance Company; choreographing and performing extensively with her own company and as an independent artist; teaching at universities, arts centers and the Paris Opera Ballet; and writing reviews, features and essays on dance for internet and print publication. Critic Sally Sommer wrote in Dance Magazine: “her voluptuousness reminds us that dancing can be a luxurious experience.”

Based in Los Angeles, Cynthia Lee holds an MFA in choreography from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures and a BA in English Literature from Swarthmore College. She has studied extensively with masters of contemporary avant-garde dance Simone Forti and Eiko & Koma, and has been a practitioner of contact improvisation for the past ten years. Her style of Kathak reflects studies with renowned gurus Bandana Sen and Kumudini Lakhia in India and Anjani Ambegaokar in Los Angeles. Lee was awarded a year-long Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study religious dance in Thailand (Thai classical dance), Brazil (Candomble), and India (Kathak) from 2002-3.

The performance is free and open to the public without advance reservations. For further information, contact Liza Clark at or call 610-328-8260.