EDGY Talent: Away at Performing Arts (AAPA) / Ryuhei Uemoto

by Hiroki Yanagisawa on April 26, 2010 11:20 AM

Performance, Depended on Your Perspective.

A performance, staged on a rooftop of a building, located underneath of an elevated train track.

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What kind of stage and performance do you expect? EDGY JAPAN made a visit to STAND, a performance produced and performed by Away at Performing Arts in April 3, 2010, at the rooftop of Hinode Studio in Hinode, Yokohama.

Away at Performing Arts , also known as AAPA, is a performing art unit, consisting from dancers, stage director, DJ, and many other talents. It was founded in 2004 by Ryuhei Uemoto.

AAPA's performance is known to have a unique setup. With its basic concept, "Connecting stage performances with our ordinary living environment", AAPA's performances are usually staged at places where we usually, say, "walk by" or "see". In the past, AAPA held the stages on street, beach, and underneath Wind power station. In another words, AAPA rarely holds a performance at a "legitimate" locations, like an auditorium or hall.

"When I began gaining interest in performing arts I was based in Fujisawa, Kanagawa. (Located about 50km away from the center Tokyo) Unlike Tokyo, where there are many small theaters for the entry-level performers, Fujisawa barely have such places, and my solution was to perform outdoor. Fortunately, a beach was there and it turned out to be one of our stages."

Ryuhei recalls his foundation.

One of Ryuhei's responsibilities as a stage director is to come up with a concept of each performance from the given environment. For STAND, it focused on a perception of freedom.

"When you stand on a stage, or the rooftop like this, you can't stand straight up. Yet if you're trying to define your action, you're standing. I wanted to express the meaning of freedom of movement through this limited space, and hopefully, our performance provide people to think about what freedom is all about."

Ryuhei explains the inner concept behind the performance.

Aside from the setup, what distinguishes AAPA's performance from the rest is that there's no seats. You're free to move around and see the performance (and take pictures if you wish) from many perspectives.

"We've charged JPY2,000 for the stage, but due to the set up (Second floor was the designated viewing area), people could see the performance from the first floor. Some may say that it's unfair for people who have paid, but I think it's totally fine with me. This free-of-charge-neck-hurting-view from the first floor provides an alternative perspective to the performance. I want many people to perceive the stage from different angles."

The distance between the performers and spectators is super-flat, and the spectators are given freedom to perceive their performance as they wish.

Here is a part of the performance. The full length version is available from AAPA's USTREAM.

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Since the last summer, AAPA is performing at South Awaji Wind Farm, a wind power-generating facility.

"Once a car drives into the farm, we make a approach and offer them a free tour of the site. As the tour goes by, we take them to the designated spot (or a location, where the props are set up.), where our dancers are performing. Some people are surprised with this sudden performance, but they are feel free to watch/ignore/blend in with the performance. It's all up to the visitors to decide how to perceive the given actions."

The same tour is to be conducted this summer. (The information will be updated on the upcoming EDGY JAPAN article.)

AAPA will give you some insights through performances. No language is needed to understand. Simply, you need to be there, see it through, and perceive it as you like it. It's so free -- that's what AAPA is all about.

Ryuhei Uemoto, AAPA

If you wish to contact AAPA or Ryuhei Uemoto for project opportunities, please contact via EDGY JAPAN.

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