Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks as told by Bonnie Sue Stein

Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks

Yoshiko Chuma, The School of Hard Knocks | River-to-River Festival | Photo: Ruby Washington/NYTimes
Photo: Ruby Washington/NYTimes

YOSHIKO CHUMA has been building unique structures in the liminal area between her native Japanese culture and her adopted American one with the SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS (SOHK) for more than three decades. Using trained and pedestrian movers, virtuoso instrumentalists (whose playing she often conducts), film, video, and sculptural forms by collaborating artists, she develops unusual time-based art works that blend the live and the recorded, the flat and the three-dimensional, people and things.

GOH has been managing productions by The School of Hard Knocks since 1993. Learn more about GOH’s history with Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks here

website: yoshikochuma.org

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Gathering Space: Amman, Jordan

Bonnie Sue Stein

November 30, 2010

Tonight was the first performance of GATHERING SPACE at Al Balad in Amman, Jordan

My thoughts tonight and today were all about water. There is not enough here.

In the desert, there is little or no water.

Maybe we need to cry more to create tears? Then turn them into water?



It’s about water and tears.

We fear the tears.

The tears tear us up.

We tear up with tears.

We are torn.

We are torn with the tears.

I do not want to expel water from my eyes because that is a waste in the desert.

I must conserve these tears

Why not drink our tears? Or cry crocodile tears.

Crocodile tears (or superficial sympathy) are a false or insincere display of emotion such as a hypocrite crying fake tears of grief.


Am I (are you?) crying crocodile tears instead of real ones?

The women in the first row at the performance tonight were crying during Sizzle’s last song. I was also crying. The song is so emotional, and the dancers are doing Palestinian dance steps on top of a camouflage tarpaulin. The image is all together, birth, death, life and pain.

Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks/ROOT CULTURE at Danspace Project June 4 to 13

June 4 to 13, 2009
Presented by Danspace Project as part of the City/Dans series
St. Mark’s Church, 131 East 10th Street (at 2nd Ave.), Manhattan.
Thursday through Saturday:
pre-show begins at 8:00 pm; performance at 8:30 pm.
$18.00 ($12.00 for members).
Box office (866) 811-4111

Here is an excerpt of the description of the piece from Yoshiko Chuma’s website.

“This next installment in Chuma’s ten year project, “A Page Out of Order” (culminating in 2011), features artists of all disciplines from Japan, Romania and the USA. The word “POONARC” in the title is an acronym for “Page Out of Order Not About Romanian Cinema.” This production is inspired by Chuma’s interest in the cultural scene currently emerging in Romania. It is imagined as a personal and public dialogue with Romania. Since 2007, Chuma has journeyed five times to Romania, meeting filmmakers and actors and visiting and filming locations used in the their movies. Despite its name, this piece uses several clips from recently acclaimed Romanian films. Intercut with still photos and video taken on their locations, the film clips serve as a backdrop to text created by Jake Margolin with the ensemble. Like previous installments of the Page Out of Order series, there is text dealing with cultural identity and language, accentuating similarities by pointing out differences. This colloquy is interrupted by dance, some furious some slow. Solos and duets are staged in and around the seven-foot aluminum cubes which have been an integral part of the Page Out of Order series since its inception.”