Minneapolis/St. Paul (Oct. 2, 2014) — Mu Performing Arts today announced program details for Inside the Beat: Mu Daiko at Mixed Blood Theatre, which marks 18 heart-pounding years of Mu Daiko’s unique brand of taiko drumming.
Performances of Inside the Beat, directed by Jennifer Weir, will be held Nov. 13–16, 2014 at Mixed Blood Theatre, 1501 South 4th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55454.
“For me, taiko is a visceral experience. For our return to Mixed Blood Theatre’s intimate auditorium, we aim to place the audience literally ‘Inside the Beat’, surrounded by drums and completely immersed,” Weir said. “We also have the special opportunity to collaborate with celebrated local director/choreographer Joe Chvala, resulting in the premiere of ‘Steppin’ Up’.
“Simply having Joe in the room expanded our vocabulary of how and why we move,” she added. “We have been especially ambitious for this year’s concert, so we hope putting our audience this close to the action allows them to fully experience and share our passion for taiko.”
One weekend only, Inside the Beat features classic pieces from the Mu Daiko repertoire as well as an astounding six world premiere songs featuring the collaboration with Joe Chvala, mask work by local artist Masanari Kawahara, and a heartfelt tribute to Mu Daiko family members. An innovative approach to this classic Asian American art form, the combination of taiko rhythms, movement, and music in this year’s concert promises to be nothing less than groundbreaking. Taiko lovers of all ages are encouraged to get tickets early as seating is limited for this unique concert experience.
Weir has been a member of Mu Daiko since its inception in 1997. Also a theater director and dramaturg with Mu Performing Arts, she has been a grant recipient from the Minnesota State Arts Board, Jerome Foundation, and the American Composer Forum’s Live Music for Dance Minnesota program in partnership with NewMusicUSA.
Choreographer Joe Chvala has worked as a director, choreographer, writer, composer, performer, and teacher for opera companies, experimental theatres, concert dance venues, performing arts academies, and universities. After moving to the Twin Cities in 1990, he developed his company of percussive dancers, the Flying Foot Forum, which has been presented in a variety of venues around the world from Paris to New York City, Jacob’s Pillow to England. Chvala has received numerous choreographic and interdisciplinary fellowships and grants. He is the recipient of both Ivey and Sage Awards for dance and theater.
Mu Daiko performers include Weir, Jeff Ellsworth, Heather Jeche, Chiaki O’Brien, Susan Tanabe, Arlene Teraoka, interns Michiko Todokoro Buchanan and Emma Valentine, Cathie VanDanacker. Also featured are Su-Yoon Ko of Mu Daiko alum, and Sam Mistry of Mu Training Institute (MTI).
Mu Daiko was founded in 1997 by founding Artistic Director Rick Shiomi, who began his taiko career with Katari Taiko in Vancouver, and with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo under Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka, New York’s Soh Daiko, and Wasabi Daiko of Toronto. His classes attracted students from both Mu actors and the general public, culminating in Mu Daiko’s first performance in August 1997 at the Lyn-Lake Festival and Mu Daiko’s first full-length concert in 1997.
The Production team includes Weir (Director), Susan Tanabe (Assistant Director), Chvala (Choreographer), Lisa M. Smith (Stage Manager), Tony Stoeri (Lighting Designer), Trevor Muller-Hegel (Scenic Designer), Forest Godfrey (Sound Designer), Masanari Kawahara (Mask Design), and Christine Richardson (Costume Designer).
General Admission is $10 Students, $25 Adults, and $15 Family Show (Nov. 15 at 2 p.m.). Performances will be held Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 15 at 2 p.m., a 45 min. Family Show on Saturday, Nov. 15 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 16 at 2 p.m.
Tickets at www.muperformingarts.org or by calling the Mu Box Office at 651-789-1012.