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Tara Alexa Rodman
University of California, Irvine (Irvine, CA 92617-3066)
Transnationalism, Modernism, and the Orient in the Career of Japanese Dancer and Choreographer Ito Michio (1893-1961)

Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the international career of the Japanese dancer and choreographer Ito Michio (1893-1961).

Performing Exceptionalism examines the full career of Japanese modern dancer and choreographer Ito Michio (1893-1961), whose transnational itinerary traversed three continents, spanned both World Wars, and intersected with modernist artists ranging from Ezra Pound to Martha Graham to Ishii Baku. Ito’s five-decade career exhibits a consistent strategy, one I call exceptionalism, in which he sought to leverage his outsider status as a source of expertise and a basis for belonging. The project is grounded in extensive new archival research integrating English and Japanese sources and scholarship to reveal Ito's significance to previously unrecognized groups and events, such as California's Japanese-American community, or Japan's Imperial war effort. Tracing Ito's career across the globe and over five decades reveals the continuities of his performance practices and the interrelation of sites, institutions, and cultural practices seemingly separated by geography, race, language, and war.

Project fields:
Dance History and Criticism; East Asian Studies; Theater History and Criticism

Fellowships for Advanced Research on Japan

Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2020 – 8/31/2021