Joe Small call for collaborators

Our good friend and taiko colleague, Joe Small, is seeking taiko players to join in the development and presentation of his final MFA thesis at UCLA. It’s an exciting project and a chance to work with dedicated taiko artists. Read on for the details and contact Joe if interested.

CALL FOR TAIKO ARTISTS (or aspiring artists!) in the LA/Southern CA area for CONCERT project with taiko/choreography artist Joe Small

What is it?
-A roughly year-long creative process culminating in a concert featuring taiko and choreography.

Themes: Power dynamics, masculine roles/tropes, cultural difference and (mis)understanding, memoir.
Length: 70-85 minutes

I’m pursuing an MFA in choreography at UCLA that focuses on taiko. The project and the performance are the equivalent of a thesis.
I will be acting act as artistic director/choreographer as well as a performer.

Do you:
1. Like to play taiko?
2. Like to move your body (including but not limited to dance)?
3. Have an open mind to playing with convention?
4. Looking for a challenge?

Searching for but not limited to:
-2 male taiko drummers, 2 female taiko drummers (looking for near 50/50 parity, ultimately).
-Certainly able to make adjustments or compromises to these numbers on a case-by-case basis.
-18 or older (no age limit), but able-bodied and with minimum 2 years experience in a taiko drum practice.
*No limitation or discrimination to nationality, ethnicity, sexual preference, etc.

-Commit seriously to the process and performance.
-Have a positive attitude.

Be Willing to:
-Accept and apply feedback as well as thoughtfully communicate and cooperate.
-Learn and try different approaches and techniques to taiko.
-Learn, utilize and generate choreography/composition.
-Expand on your own known forms as necessary.
-Engage with spoken word/theatrical elements as well as singing.
-Push one’s self mentally and physically in order to create high quality work.

Concerts Dates (TBD):
-Work-in-Progress showing week of May 26-30 (aka Week 9 in the UC quarter system). This is following Inter-Collegiate Taiko Conference.
-Potential Work-in-Progress showing in December 2014/January 2015
-Work-in-Progress showings in Winter and Spring of 2015
-Official concert likely in April 2015.

Rehearsals – Schedule is flexible but dependent upon coordination of peoples’ schedules.
-Primarily held at UCLA – World Arts and Cultures/Dance Department, Glorya Kaufman Hall. (secondary location possible in LA area).
-Intended minimum of 2 times a week (can include weekends), 3 hours per rehearsal
(Summer quarter period may have little or no group rehearsal).
-I hope to have rehearsals running as soon as possible.

If interested
Please email me at and include contact information and a short biography including relevant taiko, performance, and other artistic experience. Questions are always welcome.

Joe Small, taiko artist/dancer/choreographer, hails from Buffalo, NY. A 2005 graduate of Swarthmore College with a major in dance, he has studied taiko drumming in a variety of locations in Japan and the United States. From 2005-2006 he was a Fulbright Scholar to Japan, after which he became an apprentice for the professional taiko group KODO from 2007-2009. Recently Joe has returned to UCLA after another two-year period studying under solo taiko artist Eitetsu Hayashi, where he performed as a member of his professional ensemble, Fu-Un no Kai. Joe is currently pursuing an MFA in choreography at UCLA’s World Arts and Cultures/Dance department.

jsmall at gmail .dot. com

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