Selected Works of Michio Ito

Repertory Dance Theatre is proud to be the US repository for the works of Michio Ito (1892 – 1961). Twice, RDT has worked with Ito master teachers from Japan learning Ito’s technique, style, and choreography.

In October 2018, RDT presented selected works of Michio Ito in honor of our MANIFEST DIVERSITY initiative that celebrated and explored the diverse ethnic and cultural contributions made to modern dance over 100 years.

Below, you will find an interview with Michio Ito’s granddaughter, Michelle Ito, and the Executive Director of the Michio Ito Foundation. She explains and discusses the Ito works and her grandfather’s desire that his work span cultures, countries, and ideals.

Selected Works of Michio Ito

Re-staged by master teachers Kyoko Imura and Kumiko Komine from the Michio Ito Doomonkai (Association of Michio Ito Disciples) an organization founded in 1964 by former teachers and students from the Tokyo Michio Ito Studio.

The selected works shown here are:

En Bateau (Blue Wave, 1923)

Music: Claude Debussy

Performance: Jaclyn Brown, Lauren Curley, Elle Johansen, Ursula Perry, Megan O’Brien

Pizzicati Shadow Dance (1916)

Music: Leo Delibes, from Sylvia Ballet

Performance: Efren Corado Garcia

Ball (1928)

Music: Chopin’s Nocturne Opus 15 #2

Performance: Lauren Curley

Symphonic Etude

Music: “Symphonic Etudes, Op. 13” – Robert Schumann

Performances: Prayer (1922) – Jaclyn Brown, Fear/Tragedy (1931) – Ursula Perry, Joy (1928) – RDT Company

Taeko’s Pavane: Homage to Michio Ito (1997)

Choreography: Taeko Furusho, Michio Ito’s niece

Performances: RDT Company

Program Note: Michio Ito was part of a boundary-crossing generation that brought about the literary, musical, and artistic breakthroughs of modernism and the eclectic beginnings of American modern dance.

In the early years of the 20th century, Japanese choreographer Michio Ito devised a movement vocabulary that included ten symbolic gestures of the arms which he compared to the 12 notes on a piano. He used these positions with variations of plane, angle, context, and rhythm to present an endless variety of dances. His emphasis was on the distillation of emotion, inner concentration, and incisive gesture.

Preserving and honoring the work of the founders and pioneers of early 20th century modern dance has been central to the mission of Repertory Dance Theatre. We are proud to help preserve the method and the choreography of Michio Ito. His work is a cherished part of RDT’s dance archive.

Performance of these works was authorized by the Michio Ito Foundation directed by Michelle Ito, granddaughter of Michio Ito who has given permission for RDT to be the U.S. repository for the Ito technique and repertory.

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