Grant Recipients Grants to Artists Dance 2019

Mina Nishimura

Portrait of Mina Nishimura sitted on a red surface and dressed in a patterned black and white button up with a white shirt underneath. The artist's hair is styled in a short bob with bangs and on the wall above the head a doodle drawn in blue.
Photo by Hazuki Aikawa.
  • Dance Artist
  • Born 1978, Tokyo, Japan
  • Lives in Brooklyn, NY

As much as I appreciated and enjoyed my lift as a full-time dance artist, I was afraid of getting stuck in the couch-surfing life, which was not a healthy or sustainable lifestyle. But juggling multiple part-time jobs greatly constrains and consumes my time and energy that I want to use towards dance. And such a lifestyle didn’t look sustainable either. So when I received a call about this award, I literally thought this was a gift from God. I cried with deep appreciation, relief, and delight, and found bright hope for continuing my life as a dance artist in this country.

- Mina Nishimura, December 20, 2019

Biography

Mina Nishimura is a dance artist whose performance works focus on the relationship between internal landscapes and external forms while attempting to reveal mysteries, and the invisible and unseen essences of beings. Buddhism-influenced concepts such as emptying, forgetting, and inter-being are reflected across her somatic, performance, and choreographic practices.

In Bladder Inn (and X, Y, Z, W) (2018), commissioned by Danspace Project with additional support from a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant, Nishimura investigated interconnections between visible and invisible beings, and bodies that slip away from present space and time before they solidify. Sinking while Floating, Singing while Thinking (2018), commissioned by Gibney Dance Center, led her to further investigate a blurry landscape through which bodies travel between different internal states, while finding alternate ways of being in the present moment and connecting to each other.

Nishimura's first evening-length work, TUNA, was commissioned by Dance Theater Workshop in 2007. She went on to produce Me Singing (2008), commissioned by The Kitchen: Dance and Process, and Timmy's Idea (2009), commissioned by Dance Theater Workshop. Nishimura's second evening-length work, Sandwoman (2011), was presented through a residency at Brooklyn Arts Exchange. She has performed and collaborated with artists such as DD DorvillierYoshiko Chuma, Ursula EaglyMoriah Evans, Daria Fain, Ellen Fisher, David GordonNeil Greenberg, Satoshi Haga, Trajal HarrellJohn JasperseRashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener, Dean Moss, Cori Olinghouse, SIA, Vicky Shick, Mårten Spångberg, RoseAnne Spradlin, Nami Yamamoto, Kota Yamazaki, and Chantal Yzermans.

Nishimura has curated for Sundays on Broadway at Cathy Weis Projects (2018), the Watershed Lab at Mount Tremper Arts Center (2018), Food for Thought at Danspace Project (2016), and the Movement Research Festival (Spring 2014). She is a faculty member at Sarah Lawrence College, and has taught at Bennington College, University of California, Davis, Ferris University, Brooklyn Studios for Dance, and Movement Research.

Artist Statement

My recent body of work focuses on exploring the relationship between internal landscapes and external forms while attempting to create an alternate world that reveals mystery, invisible things, subtle nuances of beings, and relationships that appear to be lost in our rigidly defined contemporary world. Influenced by the Buddhist concepts such as "emptiness is everything" and "inter-being-ness of opposite things," my choreographic works attempt to reveal interconnectivities between visible and invisible, ephemeral and eternal, and different beings encountering one another.

Over the years, I have also been dedicated to the exploration and development of practices that liberate our bodies from the sense of self and existing concepts of a body. And I aim to heighten the aspects of dance that allows the voices of our late ancestors, future species, all living things, the deceased, nature, and even man-made objects be heard through our bodies in imaginative, radical, and experiential ways. I believe that this way of approaching to body and dance contributes to make our world a more fertile and thoughtful place!

- December 2018

Four figures perform on a wooden floor with a marble intricate statue behind them. Two of them stand all the way in the back side by side looking in the distance, while to the left a figure more in the front connects their ends, with their index fingers and thumbs forming a triangle in front of their belly and their head leaning back. In the front right closest to the viewer a figure turns their hands and head upwards and opens their mouth, while dressed in shorts, a long sleeved shirt and glasses underneath a tulle veil.

Performance still from Bladder Inn (and X, Y, Z, W), at Judson Memorial Church, New York, 2018. Photo by Scott Shaw.

Three performers on small black mats in various poses. The one on the far left supports their body on one knee, while the one on the right crouches with one knee. The person in the middle closest to the viewer stands with their back to us, seated down with their arms and one leg mid-air.

Performance still from Quiet House, Ash Daughter, at Movement Research at Judson Memorial Church, New York, 2014. Photo by Scott Shaw.

Performers stand on a black stage in various frozen stances. A performer in front dressed in a white dress with ginger hair closest to the viewer lifts one leg while their arms dangle to the sides.

Performance still from Sinking while Floating, Singing while Thinking, at Gibney Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, New York, 2018. Performers: Emily Climer, Samuel Hanson, Tyler Rai, and Anna Peretz Rogovoy. Photo by Scott Shaw.

Performers stand on a dim lighted stage with their back towards the viewer. The silhouette of an extended hand can be seen on the right side of the image closest to the viewer.

Performance still from Sinking while Floating, Singing while Thinking, at Gibney Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, New York, 2018. Photo by Scott Shaw.

Performers on a dark stage stand, with their side towards the viewer, in a spacious line in various poses from left to right. On the end right closest to the viewer stands the only performer turned en face, in a movement of lifting both their arms on air and one of their legs, making the purple dress shirt move.

Performance still from Sinking while Floating, Singing while Thinking, at Gibney Agnes Varis Performing Arts Center, New York, 2018. Photo by Scott Shaw.

A performer clad in black sits in the middle of three stairs looking in the distance. Behind them in the distance a figure dressed in black with a transparent black hued veil pushes on a door.

Performance still from Bladder Inn (and X, Y, Z, W), at Danspace Project, New York, 2018. Photo by Scott Shaw.

Four performers on stage freeze in different poses while in a zic-zac formation. They all wear white t-shirts a cat's face and blue eyes printed on them.

Performance still from Celery of Everything, at Danspace Project, New York, 2015. Photo by Scott Shaw.