Professionals & Artist Development

Chisato Minamimura is a Deaf performance artist, born in Japan, now based in London. Chisato has created, performed and taught internationally, including three years (2003-2006) as a company member of CandoCo Dance Company. She has been involved in aerial performances with Graeae Theatre Company, London’s Paralympic Opening Ceremony and Rio’s 2016 Paralympic Cultural Olympiad. Chisato have previously trained at Trinity Laban in London and holds a BA in Japanese Painting and MA from Yokohama National University. 

Chisato approaches choreography from her unique perspective as a Deaf artist, creating what she calls ‘visual sound/music’. Her practice meshes this with Sign Mime, BSL art guide approaches, Visual Vernacular and digital elements to explore sensory and human experiences. Alongside international artists working in sound, projection, vibration and animation, Chisato often uses mathematical scores to create choreography, enhancing the experience of dance without music.  

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What are you most excited about joining the new group of Work Place artists?
I am excited to be joining this new Work Place group, as it will be an opportunity to share various perspectives and opinions about dance and contemporary practice. This new community is something which I feel is very exciting and will hopefully be very informative as we begin to emerge from lockdown.  I am also looking forward to using this opportunity to share my Deaf perspective. This might be something which the other artists are interested in, and I look forward to exploring more about how dance, music and sound can take shape from this viewpoint. 

Where do you seek or find inspiration for your work?  
I am inspired by strong visual elements. With dance, this may be BSL, Sign-mime or Visual Vernacular. These choreographic approaches to movement are highly visual and emotive, and I aim to use these as tools to create and share meaning. Being a Deaf artist, I am also drawn to how we experience things with our senses, and how this is different for each of us. The same applies to using digital technology in dance. I am interested in how this can draw focus or impact experiences. For me it is all about creating moments to share or exchange new perspectives.  

What does it mean for you to be an artist in this day and age? 
This is a tough question, as I think that’s what I am hoping to discover though this Work Place programme. Many artists have been in a period of creative hibernation during lockdown, and I guess I am excited to see what this experience will mean for artists moving forwards. What will remain, and what will be left behind? There have been some important social movement in recent months, such as the #WeShallNotBeRemoved campaign. I feel that this is very personal for me, and hope that with social awareness there will come an increase to accessibility for artists. I hope this is something which we take forwards.