- May 23th - Okuni
- May 24th - Undivided Colors
- May 25th - Havana Divas
- May 26th - Odyssée
- May 30th - Closing Cocktail + Opening Vomiting Flowers
Thursday, May 23th
Maison de la Culture Ahuntsic
10300 Lajeunesse Street
Metro Henri Bourassa
Free pass available from May 7th at maison de la culture Ahuntsic or online ($2 fee)
Okuni presents a hybrid work by integrating drama, kabuki techniques, traditional Japanese dance, singing, percussion, traditional and contemporary music, as well as the use of video projection.
In collaboration with the maison de la culture Ahuntsic, Okuni offers a unique vision of the woman who founded Kabuki, a traditional form of Japanese theater from the XVII century which remains very popular today. This performance is the story of a woman’s journey in Japan 400 years ago, of her inspirations, her exploration, and the difficulties she encountered. In this Okuni story, she is connected to a contemporary reality with its many social implications.
Narrative, dance, music, and drama, all inspired by traditional and modern Japanese arts, are enhanced by video elements which give new meaning to the story. Video projection is used to tell this ancient legend in Kamishibai, miniature paper theatre, as well as to present a series of Kabuki characters that follow each other on screen and with whom the dancer interacts in movement.
While the character of Okuni has inspired many productions in Japan and Canada, no other performance tells her story in an encounter between these different art forms.
Presented in collaboration with
Kayo Yasuhara has studied drama at Tamagawa University in Tokyo. She has also studied traditional song and Kabuki dance, and worked in Japanese theatre. Kayo eventually moved to Ontario where she found language a barrier and used her artistic practice to express herself. She continues to study music, in particular, the shamisen, a plucked stringed instrument similar to the guitar and banjo, and Japanese drums once reserved for men only. In her works, Kayo combines a mistrust of rules in general with a mistrust of keeping artistic disciplines and cultural differences separate. Kayo has now settled in Quebec, once again encountering another linguistic question. She has begun to perform Japanese folk dance and offer dance classes to Montrealers with the Komachi troupe: these are the beginnings of Okuni. komachimontreal.com
Kokichi Kusano was a member of two Toronto-based Suwa Daiko and Ishin Daiko groups for several years and went on to become one of the founders of the first Taiko troupe in Canada, Nagata Shachu. For nearly two decades, he expanded his Taiko practice with Shinobue and Shakuhachi. Since 2012, Kokichi has traveled between Japan and North America to perform on festival stages for concerts such as the Otakuthon Anime Festival (Montreal) and the International Percussion Festival (Longueuil). He has also performed at the Ottawa Tea Festival and the Embassy of Japan. Kokichi sometimes performs with the troupe, Komachi, led by Kayo Yasuhara. He is currently an instructor at the Toronto Japanese Canadian Cultural Center Taiko Program. kusanokokichi.com
Elisabeth Caty holds a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in the recorder from the University of Montreal and is studying Music Education at the University of Quebec . Although her training is classical, she fuses classical with contemporary into world music. Elisabeth has had the privilege of working with contemporary music composers such as Denis Gougeon, Mike Roy, Barry Truax, and André Hamel. Her musical passion and interests have led her to embrace Asian instruments such as Shakuachi and Shinobue. She lends her talent as a flutist to many projects in dance, film, advertising, and stage performance.
Sylvi Belleau holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Montreal with a minor in Theatre and a master’s degree in Dramatic Arts from UQAM. She is currently a doctoral student in stage and screen literature at Laval University. In 1985, Sylvi founded the Théâtre de la Source, which she has been directing since its inception. She participated in several festivals between 1993 and 2016 as a storyteller, and she is also very present on the Quebec scene. She writes plays and shows, and conducts writing workshops. In 2013, Sylvi published her first book Grindel et le bouc de Noël. sylvibelleau.ca
Born in Japan, Yoshino Aoki moved to Montreal in 1996 to work in illustration and design studies at Dawson College. She specializes in short films in animation, always in fantasy, her favorite genre. While working as a graphic designer, she graduated from Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema at Concordia University. Her animated short films have won awards at many festivals in Canada and beyond. Over the years, she has won various awards such as the Cinémathèque Québécoise Award for Excellence in Animation Cinema (Montreal, 2011), the Royal Reel Award at the Canada International Film Festival (Vancouver, 2014) or the Best Animation Living Sky Film Festival Award (Regina, 2015).
Friday, May 24th and Saturday, May 25th
MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)
3680 Jeanne Mance Street
Festival Accès Asie, in collaboration with MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), will present Undivided Colors, created by four South Asian dancers and choreographers.
Dance, diversity, and gender are the elements that animate Undivided Colors, a veritable gathering of performances, ideas, and conversations by artists Alvin Tolentino from Vancouver, Peter Chin and Hari Khrishnan from Toronto, and William Lau from Ottawa.
Amidst the rhythms of generations of Asian diasporas in Canada and around the world, lie the legacies of each and the roots of dance. Together, the artists use this background to challenge identity with a transculturality that characterizes the diasporas. To instill a spiritual aspect into their performance, inseparable from many cultures around the world, these dancers transcend the complexities of gender.
In Undivided Colors, dance and body invent a new space and are renewed in the mastery, authenticity, and originality of each performance an experience presented by Tolentino, Chin, Khrisnan and Lau.
Presented in collaboration with
Alvin Tolentino - Dancer and choreographer
Born in Manila, Philippines, Alvin Tolentino studied art and professional dance at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, York University, the Purchase College State University of New York, and the Limon Institute. He nurtures many collaborations and relationships with dancers and choreographers from around the world. With his works, Alvin has traveled the world from North America to South America, through Europe and Asia and has performed in many festivals and events. In 2000, Alvin founded Co.ERASGA, a dance company dedicated to the research, creation, and presentation of contemporary dance, focusing on exploring and collaborating with multimedia art practitioners and local and international artists. In 2010, he received the Vancouver Mayor’s Award for Dance Arts in recognition of his contributions to the field and to Vancouver’s cultural communities. companyerasgadance.ca
Art Director of the Toronto Dance Troupe InDANCE, Hari Krishnan is Associate Professor of Dance in the Dance Department of Wesleyan University. He holds a doctorate in dance from Texas Woman’s University where his interdisciplinary research intersects dance and cinema. Hari’s fields of research include queer identities in dance performances, contemporary dance in its entirety, colonialism, post-colonialism and Indian dance, Bharatanatyam in Tamil cinema and the history of dance traditions of courtesans in South India. In addition to his research work, Hari receives many international commissions for his bold choreography. He has traveled the world with his works, including North America, Europe and Asia. indance.ca
Born in Hong Kong and raised in Montreal, William Lau holds a master’s degree in dance from York University and was trained in both traditional Chinese dance and classical ballet. Currently, William specializes in the art of Peking opera and performs as much in Quebec as he does across Canada and abroad. He develops and disseminates the richness of Chinese dance all the while pushing the boundaries of the practice of traditional art. He has given a great boost to a generation of Canadian cultural workers. To perfect his craft, he collaborates with artists from different disciplines and cultures. In addition to his artistic practice, William is also a director, researcher, and producer.
Peter Chin - Dancer and choreographer
Peter Chin, artistic director of the interdisciplinary dance company Tribal Crackling Wind, has been described as a «Renaissance man» because of his work as a dancer / choreographer, composer / musician, writer, designer, and director. Peter was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and is based in Toronto and Phnom Penh. In addition to his work in Canada, he has also done extensive research and creative work in Asia and Latin America, Cambodia, and Indonesia in particular. His performances have been featured across Canada at major music and dance festivals, as well as in the United States, Asia, Europe, and South America. Chin’s work has received numerous awards, including five Dora Mavor Moore Dance Awards, the Muriel Sherrin Award for International Dance Achievement, and a Gemini Award for his performance in Streetcar, among others. tribalcracklingwind.ca
Saturday, May 25th
Gesù - Centre de créativité
1200 de Bleury Street
To discover the art of Cantonese and Beijing opera, the Festival Accès Asie is pleased to present the documentary Havana Divas by S. Louisa Wei, to be preceded by a performance of Beijing opera by Ms. Lu, from Jingju Quebec.
Caridad Amaran and Georgina Wong learned the art of 1930s Cantonese opera Havana, Cuba, from their respective fathers. They join the Kwok-Kwong Opera Troupe in Havana in 1939. But the Castro revolution separated them. At ages 86 and 88, the two friends decide to visit the birth places of their fathers and to pay respect to their ancestors. They embark on a long and expensive journey wondering of they would ever complete it.
Filmed over a period of six years, Havana Divas traces the journey of these two «stage sisters» in the context of a Sino-Cuban history which, in 2017, celebrated the 170th anniversary of the arrival of the first Chinese in Cuba.
This evening’s performance and film will provide the audience with a perfect opportunity to learn about the beauty and elegance of the Chinese performing arts.
S. Louisa Wei’s award-winning documentary Golden Gate Girls (2014) was well received by the international media, including the Hollywood Reporter, the South China Morning Post and the China Daily. It has been the opening and closing film of several international film festivals and numerous international conferences. Louisa’s first feature-length documentary, Storm under the Sun (2009, co-director Peng Xiaolian) and the recent television show Wang Shiwei: The Buried Writer (2016) were hailed for their testimony of the history of Chinese intellectuals. Her feature documentary, Havana Divas (2018), was screened in Hong Kong and selected for film festivals such as CAAMFest36 (San Francisco) and the Shanghai International Film Festival. The film has received positive reviews from critics and high ratings from the audiences. She is currently working on a documentary about Chinese rock musician Cui Jian, entitled Red Rock.
The Jingju Quebec opened its doors to the public in 2016 for the purpose of performing China’s most iconic artistic genre, Beijing Opera. For the Chinese, Beijing Opera is considered a true national treasure. Uniting singing, dancing, theater, mimes, acrobatics, and folk tales, this eclectic creation is a complex amalgamation of different art forms. Even Chinese martial arts are showcased! The result is a magical, larger than life musical production. Beijing Opera has been included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 2010. Recognizing this important artistic contribution, the Jingju Quebec is composed of dedicated artists and performing arts enthusiasts whose mission is to promote China’s most quintessential form of creative expression to audiences in Quebec. The school offers classes, workshops, and performances in French, English and Mandarin. jingjuquebec.com
Sunday May 26th
Centre des Musiciens du Monde
5043 Saint-Dominique Street
Festival Accès Asie joins forces with the Centre des Musiciens du Monde to present Odyssée, a journey through the Asian continent.
Odyssée promises an eclectic musical event. While, the dancers of the Indonesian music and dance ensemble Giri Kedaton present their repertoire of Balinese dances, ethnomusicologist Frédéric Léotar will unveil musical traditions, still alive and quite diverse, from the nomadic spaces of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Qaraqalpaqstan. All accompanied by a musical surprise where you will have the pleasure of attending a rehearsal of musicians of great talent.
Odyssée is a journey through Asia for an afternoon of dance, music and ethnomusicology.
Presented in collaboration with
Giri Kedaton, which means «Royal Mountain» in Balinese, got its start thanks to the donation of two Balinese gamelans from the Indonesian government to the Faculty of Music of the University of Montreal after its World Fair exhibition in Vancouver in 1986. A series of Balinese gamelan workshops, hosting the great masters of Balinese music, quickly became a victim of its own success. In 1995, the idea of creating an autonomous and distinct ensemble out of the gamelan workshops became a reality, and Giri Kedaton was born. Composed of 25 musicians and 3 dancers, the ensemble has performed in numerous festivals such as the Francofolies 2016, the Classica Festival, the Festival Traditions du Monde de Sherbrooke, and the Orientalys Festival. In 2007, Giri Kedaton developed a project called Bali X that merges Balinese music with various other styles such as metal, techno, pop, rock, etc. Giri Kedaton’s mandate is to showcase Balinese music and culture in Montreal, throughout Quebec, and across Canada to highlight Balinese culture and to maintain links between the Bali music community and the broader Balinese population in Montreal. girikedaton.com
Frédéric Léotar is an ethnomusicologist who specializes in musical cultures in southern Siberia and Central Asia where he has worked extensively since 1996. His expertise in Central Asia led him to participate in heritage inventory projects (UNESCO) and digitization of rare sound archives. His book, La steppe musicienne, published by Éditions Vrin in 2014, won the prestigious Opus Prize for music book of the year, awarded annually by the Conseil québécois de la musique. In 2017, he co-founded the Centre des Musiciens du Monde, of which he has since become the General Director. centredesmusiciensdumonde.com
CLOSING COCKTAIL + OPENING
Opening Vomiting Flowers
Thursday, May 30th
MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)
3680 Jeanne-Mance Street
After a hectic month of activity in May, the Festival Accès Asie will wrap up its festivities at the opening of the exhibition Vomiting Flowers by artist Hea R. Kim, presented by the MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels).
Vomiting Flowers is a multimedia installation that incorporates two-dimensional and three-dimensional pieces made by hand that give life to a playful, speculative, whimsical, and familiar environment.
Hea R. Kim seeks to dramatize and rethink the notion of artistic value through the exploration of yesterday’s craftsmanship, today’s mass production, and the potential use of tomorrow’s technologies.
This exhibition promises to be vibrant in color and character, and will conclude the Festival with a bold spirit.
Hea R. Kim’s exhibition is presented by MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels), in association with Festival Accès Asie
Hea R. Kim, born in Korea and based in Montreal, is a multidisciplinary artist who likes to create playful installations that are more sophisticated than they first appear. Her work intercepts emerging subcultures and creates hybrids between contrasting emotions, materials, and concepts. She tries to visually verbalize a complex dream world by mixing fantasy with everyday life, from the heroic to the adorable, and the playfulness of popular culture with more serious concerns. heakim.weebly.com