Takahiro Yamamoto's reflection on artistic exchange in Nairobi, Kenya with Opiyo Okaach
Portland-based dance-performing artist, Takahiro Yamamoto, reflects on a three week creative/artistic exchange in Nairobi, Kenya with Opiyo Okaach (Ga’ara Arts Project) and the GoDown Arts Centre:
“Opiyo and I often talked a lot. Often times, we just forgot how late it was. We talked about each individual dancer, working philosophy, a concept that I threw out, Opiyo’s process of working, different ideologies between Kenya/Europe and the U.S., etc. We have this beautiful rapport and curiosity toward each other. We talked about this concept of ‘invisibility on stage.’ Is it possible to abandon focus and presence on stage while staying on stage? Can we manipulate the presence on stage by disappearing without physically disappearing?
One dancer asked if I would come back to Kenya because usually guest artists usually don’ t really come back. Opiyo and I said ideally ’Yes, we will really need to find funding for it, but our intention is to continue this conversation. This is just a beginning.’
It was very refreshing to witness Opiyo’s process, improvisation‐oriented process, of making his performance. He has a beautiful way to construct a framework for dancers to explore without being stale. I would be curious to immerse myself in to his process sometimes in the future. I would also maybe find an opportunity for him to choreograph a piece for me as a solo dancer.
I am determined that this residency needs to be only the beginning of our conversation. I am eager to continue this dialogue with Opiyo and his dancers in the near future. ”
Photos from Opiyo Okaach and Takahiro Yamamoto’s artist exchange