Yui Kawaguchi + Aki Takase

CADENZA - Die Stadt im Klavier V



Fast-flowing traffic, flashing lights and a steady stream of people. Standstill. Every city has its own rhythm. Yui Kawaguchi and Aki Takase mirror these rhythms like microcosms under a magnifying glass and create a new utopian city in their interplay of choreography, composition and improvisation ­– The City in the Piano (Die Stadt im Klavier). It has been five years since the dancer asked the jazz pianist to appear on stage for the first time. Since then, they have continued to weave their passionate dialogue in new contexts. After the great success of Chaconne (2011), the duo now present Cadenza, their second world premiere in Berlin’s Sophiensaele.

The concert piano is the central tool of the evening’s performance. Aki Takase’s virtuoso mastery of the entire body of this instrument separates it acoustically into its individual components, and creates links between intertwined harmonies, isolated tones and manipulated timbres. Yui Kawaguchi delves into these sound spheres and forms new structures and physical spaces through dance. A dialogue begins between two strong personalities and two expressive art forms.

In the fifth part of their series “The City in the Piano”, the Berlin-based Japanese artists take inspiration from the western cadenza. The dynamic interplay of choreography, composition and improvisation is turned into an abstract allegory for our urban existence, which can be understood as both a system of rules and a violation of rules. This ambivalence is also reflected on stage when the ball, that most unstable of objects, interferes in events and unexpectedly becomes entangled in a chain reaction...


Concept / Choreography / Dance                       Yui Kawaguchi
Concept / Composition / Music                           Aki Takase
Stage design                                                       Yui Kawaguchi, LAB:612 & Modellbau T.Kraus
Light and technical direction                                Fabian Bleisch
Costumes                                                            SADAK
Production                                                           Marie Henrion


- PREMIERE in Berlin -
10./11./12. May 2013
Sophiensaele Berlin

Philharmonie Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
:24. May
Centrum Kultury Agora, Wroclow (Poland) :21. June
Kochi Museum of Art (Japan) :24 & 25 August
Kyoto Art Center (Japan) :28 August

Sophiensaele Berlin (Germany) :5.-7.February
International Dance Festival Vancouver (Canada) :21.&22.March
Osterfestival Tirol (Austria) :5.April

28. Internationale Theaterhaus Jazztage, Stuttgart (Germany) :3.April

In Between Festival, Narodowe Forum Muzyki, Wrocław (Poland) :21.September


Yui Kawaguchi – dancer, choreographer
Born in Japan. She studied Classical Ballet, Jazz, Hip-Hop and contemporary dance, acting and singing. She danced in the companies of H.art.chaos (1998-2000), Kota Yamazaki/Rosy, co (2000-2002) and Motoko Hirayama (2007), performing in Japan, the USA and Europe. Her choreography consists of fluent movements and fragmented motions with emphasis on synchronisation with music/sound. She choreographed for the opening festival of East Asian Olympics  2001 and has also worked with music videos, TV-CF films, concerts and fashion shows. Between 2001-2003 she worked as a choreographer and performer with the “media drive unit 66b/cell". Together with this multimedia performance group, she was engaged in developing the three-year project "test-patches", which integrated composers, visual artists, system engineers and performers. The project was invited to perform at ARS Electronica (Linz), Seoul International Dance Festival and Japan Virtual Reality Conference, etc. Since 2005 she works in Berlin. She performed in the companies of Ismael Ivo, Helena Waldmann, NICO AND THE NAVIGATORS, Michaela Lucenti and Tomi Paasonen, among others. Her own pieces have featured at a number of festivals. In 2006 she received the Jury’s Prize at the Yokohama solo-duo competition. In 2008 her Solo REM − Black Cat was presented in New National Theater Tokyo. Since 2008 she works in collaboration with the Jazz pianist Aki Takase. She is also engaged in research projects with a sociologist and a cognitive scientist. Together with them she developed the Audio-Dance-Performance "HEREing Loss" and gave workshop in Keio University, Japan. In 2010 she joind the successful cross over project "Flying Bach“, by Christoph Hagel and Flying Steps in New National Gallery Berlin, as show’s only female dancer. Her last solo performance "andropolaroid“ was premiered in May 2010 and won the Dance Price Cologne in December.

Aki Takase – pianist, componist
Born in Osaka, Japan. Raised in Tokyo, she received her first piano lessons at the age of three, going on to study at Tohogakuen Music University. Influenced by the work of Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, and Charles Mingus, Takase she soon turned to improvisation, and in 1971 was regularly performing professionally; by the age of 25, she was already leading her own groups. In 1978, she first traveled to the U.S., and later recorded with Dave Liebman; in 1981, she also journeyed to Europe, where she and her trio played at the Berlin Jazz Festival. By 1982, Takase was regularly in the studio, leading such dates as A.B.C. and Perdido. In New York, she recorded with artists including Sheila Jordan, Cecil McBee, and Bob Moses, and also delivered a much-acclaimed performance at the East-West Festival in Nuremburg. From 1988-1994, Takase regularly played in a duo with Maria Joao and maintained her busy festival schedule; during the mid-'90s, she also toured with Coltrane alumni Rashied Ali and Reggie Workman, founded a septet comprised of other Japanese musicians, composed for a string quartet, and continued to work as a solo. Between 1990- 2008 she receives numerous awards of the German Record Critic’s Award. From 1997-2000 she is visiting professor at Berlin conservatory. Currently she works with Louis Sclavis, Rudi Mahall, Silke Eberhard, David Murray and Alex v. Schlippenbach, she also realizes projects with the groups “Fats Waller Projekt”, “LOK.03” and “Aki and the Good Boys”. While remaining steeped in the musical traditions of her native Japan, pianist and composer Aki Takase emerged as one of the most versatile figures in contemporary jazz, her work running the gamut from conventional structures and harmonies to complete abstraction.


Tanznetz, 4 June 2013
"A whirlwind and storm of keys" by Franziska Buhre

The two Japanese Yui Kawaguchi and Aki Takase continue their successful series with a finely balanced dialogue.

How does such a lightweight as a small dancer square up to this powerful grand piano, which stands immovable in the middle of the stage in “Cadenza”? Yui Kawaguchi pulls out all the different registers of her ability with ease. Anything else and she would be no match for the provocative piano playing of Aki Takase, also Japanese but almost twice as old as the dancer. For the last six years they have been developing their collaboration under the title of “The City in the Piano” and “Cadenza” is their fifth joint endeavour. If the convergence of dance and improvised music was initially still shaped by restraint, in the meantime Takase and Kawaguchi have come to enter altogether more lightheartedly into dialogue...
...Takase plays a solo in which the audience hears both strictly composed and improvised music. The pianist has the impressive ability to transfer the flow of thoughts or of what we are seeing ad hoc into the musical language...

Berliner Zeitung, 8 May 2013 by Michaela Schlagenwerthh

When in 2008 the jazz pianist Aki Takase and the dancer Yui Kawaguchi went on stage for the first time with a joint show bearing the peculiar title "The City in the Piano", they could never have believed how artistically fertile and successful their collaboration would be. A pianist and a dancer: it sounds suspiciously like one of these evenings with overstrained avant-garde pretensions. But you don't have to worry about that with Takase and Kawaguchi. Arty fussiness is not their thing. (They wouldn't be able to do arty fussiness if they tried.) With wit, concentration and sincerity, they are entering for the fifth time into a dialogue which explores the relationship between music and the body, sound and space. After their last work which centred on the "Chaconne", the pair turn in this their latest work, performed in the Sophiensaele, to a different musical phenomenon: the cadenza. "Cadenza – The City in the Piano V" is the title, with musician and dancer using music to penetrate the issue from surprising perspectives. Two cross-border commuters on a common journey, bound for widely varying cultures and arts.

Tanzraumberlin, May 2013

"City utopia as performance poetry - Dance, piano and two virtuoso performers" by Anna Volkland und Mariama Diagne

According to the journal tanz, Yui Kawaguchi is one of the “best dancers in the city” – flexible, graceful and quick like few others. That is why she cuts a fine figure in almost every en-vironment, even among opera singers (Nico and the Navigators) or hip-hoppers (Flying Steps). She also enjoys dancing alongside other soloists, in particular the jazz pianist Aki Takase. The fifth evening of her Die Stadt im Klavier series is called “Cadenza”. The cadence of a concert is the moment when the orchestra goes quiet and the pianist begins a solo; a moment of falling-out-of-line that still remains part of the system. It could be seen as a symbol of the urban legend and as a structural motto of this evening, in which choreography and composition are also penetrated by improvisation. Another thing that is told about the city on these evenings: There’s enough room for two multi-talented soloists to burn themselves out alongside each other.

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A production by Yui Kawaguchi and Aki Takase in co-produktion with the Museum of Art, Kochi (Japan), the Luxemburg Philharmonic and Sophiensaele. In co-operation with the Centrum Kultury Agora Wroclaw, the Osterfestival Tirol and Nico and the Navigators. Sponsored by the Capital Cultural Fund Berlin.