Japan Cultural Envoy FY2020-2021
Choreographer, Dancer, Associate Professor in the Art Communication Area, Course for Philosophy and Art, Faculty of Arts, Shinshu University
  • Birthplace:Meguro City, Tokyo
  • Birth:November 12, 1970
  • Academic background:Master of the Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, Waseda University

Kitamura Akiko is a choreographer, dancer and director. In 1994, she founded her own company Leni-Basso. She stayed in Berlin as a trainee of the Agency for Cultural Affairs Overseas Training Program for Artists in 1995. Since her return to Japan, she has been implementing her own theory of choreography, the Grid System, and her own directing style that mixes and develops dancing, light, rhythm and image.
She was invited to present her work at the 2001 Bates Dance Festival and 2003 American Dance Festival (ADF) in the United States. The “enact oneself” that she choreographed for the ADF, was selected the Best Dance of the Year in North Carolina. One of Kitamura’s master pieces, titled “finks” (2001), has been performed in more than 60 cities internationally and awarded Best Dance Piece of the Year by the Montreal Hour Magazine in 2005. She also created “ghostly round” for Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin which was highly esteemed in many countries globally.
In 2010, Kitamura started her solo career and engaged in international co-production projects including “To Belong” with Indonesia and “Cross Transit” with South East and South Asian countries. These productions were also performed at the Japan Society in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and many other cities. Moreover, the “vox soil” presented in 2018 and first performed at the Kanagawa Arts Theatre (KAAT), won the 13th Japan Dance Forum (JaDaFo) Awards Grand Prix. In 2020, she started a project titled “Echoes of Calling,” crossing the borders of Ireland, Central Asia and Japan.

Kitamura studies ‘the use of the human body as a medium’ in practical theatre, applying theories about the human body, direction, and dancing. Based on ‘physical thinking’ through the spread and deepening of dance expression, she keeps looking for the appeal of human bodies and the good communication generated from creative activities and art performance.

[Main awards] 
Scholarship awarded by the Agency for Cultural Affairs under the Overseas Training Program for Artists (October 1995 to September 1996)
Best Performance Award (1998) – Japan Internet Theatrical Performance Dance of the Year (2003) – The Independent Weekly (North Carolina)
Le top dix danse de l’annee 2005 de Dfdanse – Dfdanse le magazine de la danse actuelle a Montreal
The 7th Japan Dance Forum Award (2012)
Recipient of the Asian Cultural Council Fellowship (July to September 2015)
The 13th Japan Dance Forum Awards Grand Prix (2018)


Photo by Daido Hiroyasu

*The content of this page is as of the year of the appointment as an Japan Cultural Envoy.