Amsterdam-based Japanese choreographer / dancer Kenzo Kusuda is a unique phenomenon in the world of dance. He reveals the poetry of the dancing body in a personal and often breathtakingly intense manner. Kusuda takes the audience to a world filled with imagination. His work is possessed of a mystic beauty that lies beyond the perception of our physical senses. Simply with the body's movement on an almost empty stage, he is able to reveal that which is the invisible.
In the days he was studying economics and business management and working part-time at the world’s biggest fish market in Tokyo, Kusuda discovered dance as his form of expression and gained almost immediate recognition with his very personal and intense movement language. Kusuda's work stems from a highly original imagination and aims for a communication with his audience precisely by finding a connection with their imaginative powers.
Since moving to The Netherlands in 1999, Kusuda has worked with various choreographers, artists, theater groups such as: Royal Opera theatre de La Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels and Kirsten Delholm ( Hotel Pro Forma from Copenhagen ), Spinvis, Oene van Geel, Maria Blaisse, Cocky Eek, Boukje Schweigman ( Schweigman& ), Emio Greco / PC, Ulrike Quade Company, Shusaku Takeuchi, DOGTROEP, Cora Bos-Kroes & Joris Jan Bos, Michael Schumacher, Elshout / Handeler, Paul Selwyn Norton, Katie Duck / MAGPIE, Dylan Newcomb, Jack Gallagher, Karina Holla, Shintaro Oue, Ema Yuasa, Kirstie Simson, Adam Benjamin, Laura Vink, Roel Goudsmit, Sato Endo & Nicola Unger, Joost Vrouenraets, New European Ensemble, Ricciotti Ensemble, Holland Opera & Opera Leusden, Raymond Honing, Un Yamada, Jon R. Skulburg / Convoi Exceptionnel in Copenhagen Denmark, NorrlandsOperan in Umea in Sweden, Krystian Lada ( The Airport Society ) & Wroclaw Opera Ballet in Poland, AURA Dance Company in Lithuania, Agnija Seiko Dance Company in Lithuania, filmmaker Jellie Dekker, Jaap Flier, Machine Wilderness ( Theun Karelse / Foam Lab / Zone2Source / ARTIS Royal Zoo in Amsterdam ), to name a few, who were all fascinated by seemingly inexhaustible creativity and imagination with which this self-taught dancer makes movement into dance and beyond.
As a freelance choreographer, Kusuda has been creating a vast series of unique and personal choreographies, very often working in close collaboration with Korzo Production in The Hague, profiling him as one of the most poetic choreographers in Dutch dance. Kusuda has created pieces including:
Moisture Rocket (duet - 2001), Muse on Screw (duet - 2002), Hypnos Loco Loco Locomotion (trio - 2003), Invisitors' Vista (5 dancers - 2005), Fever in my Shadow (7 dancers - 2006), Honey Crypto (4 dancers - 2008), Abyss in Wonderland (11 dancers - 2009), Flora, Lucifer, Nebula, Dew (4 different soloists from Senegal, India, Bolivia and China - 2011), Everporapture (solo - 2013), BARE (choreography for 6 musicians of New European Ensemble - 2014), Beforeiforget (quintet with Balinese Legon dance legend Bulantrisna Djelantik - 2015), Braille (solo for Indian classical dancer Indu Panday with artist Cocky Eek - 2015), Something Pneu (solo - 2016), Pneu Pneu Pneu (9 dancers - 2016, for AURA Dance Company in Lithuania), ONEIRO ( duo - 2019, collaboration with Agnija Seiko / Seiko Dance Company in Klaipeda, Lithuania, together with Mindaugas Backus - cellist and artistic director of Klaipeda Chamber Orchestra ).
In 2016~2017, Kusuda has been invited as a guest choreographer for Royal Opera Theatre de La Monnaie / De Munt in Brussels ( Belguim ) to choreograph 12 dancers for Puccini’s classic and beloved opera “ Madama Butterfly “ directed by the prominent Danish theater director Kirsten Delholm ( who is the founder and the artistic director of renowned transdisciplinery visual performance collective “ Hotel Pro Forma “ based in Copenhagen since 1985~ ).
In 2018, Kusuda was invited by the opera director Krystian Lada ( The Airport Society ) to take part as a guest choreographer for his full scale new creation of Guiseppe Verdi’s beloved opera “ NABUCCO “ by Wroclaw Opera Ballet in Poland, with more than 200 performers on stage including 28 classical ballet dancers of Wroclaw Opera Ballet.
As a solo dance artist, Kusuda has been invited by the renowned Dutch musician / producer / singer-songwriter Spinvis to join his concert in 2016 to perform on stage with him as a solo dancer. Later in 2019, Kusuda was again invited by Spinvis to join his new concert as a solo dancer, this time together with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra ( conducted by Jurjen Hempel ), performing " De Staat " by legendary Dutch composer Louis Andriessen, combined together with the premiere of " Amusement " composed by Spinvis, both played live by The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at Paradiso Amsterdam. Kusuda was especially invited to perform in this special concert evening as the only solo dance artist on stage at Paradiso Amsterdam in June 2019.
Artistic Collaboration :
Besides his own choreographic works, Kusuda has been extensively involved in Live-Improvisation performance on stage with both classical and (electro-) jazz musicians at venues such as North Sea Jazz Festival, BIMHUIS, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, Splendor, OT301, as well as curating the music-dance improvisation events and leading workshops, bridging across the different art disciplines and different people who are passionate about the art of improvisation.
Kusuda has long been collaborating and performing multiple times together with virtuoso viola player and respected music composer Oene van Geel ( the winner of VPRO Boy Edger Prize 2013 ) and also sometimes with Oene's string quartet Zapp 4, often creating very spontaneous and wild improvisational music-dance spectacles at various festivals, venues and occasions. Oene & Kenzo’s most recent collaboration “ Unknown Home “ ( at Bach Festival Dordrecht ) was performed as a live-stream event and broadcasted in June 2020 during the corona lockdown period, and later performed live in June 2021.
Kusuda has long been in close collaboration with Dutch designer / visual artist Maria Blaisse, with whom he has been working in depth as a dancer in many of her art projects, films and museum exhibitions. Amongst other prominent artists such as; Issay Miyake, Oek de Jong, Frances-Marie Uitti and Joost Swarte, Kusuda also contributed his own writing essay about body and nature’s energy form, design and movement dynamics in Maria Blaisse's latest art book " The Emergence of Form " that was later selected by FILAF " Festival International de Livre 'd Art et du Film " as one of the 9 best International Art Books 2014.
Kusuda's interactive dance has been featured in Maria Blaisse's art films ( such as “ Moving Mesh “ and “ Bamboo Beach Ball “ directed by renowned filmmaker Jellie Dekker ), these 2 films have been presented at Isamu Noguchi Museum and Pratt Manhattan Gallery, both in New York City in early spring 2015.
Kusuda was also invited to participate and make an appearance in the film “ Jaap Flier - Solist “, a documentary film about the life of the legendary Dutch dancer Jaap Flier ( 1934-2022 ), who was a legendary classical ballet dancer in the 1950’s, often mentioned as the first Dutch “ prince “ in classical ballet world in The Netherlands after the World War 2, he was also well known as one of the founding members of NDT ( Nederlands Dans Theater ) in 1959, then later on he became the leading creative force at the beginning phase of SNDO ( School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam ) in 1980's, then later working with theatermaker Boukje Schweigman, and he has also been a mentor and artistic advisor to Kenzo Kusuda's choreographic works since 2008~, and also became a very good dear friend and a life mentor and a admirable teacher to Kusuda ever since.. ), this special documentary film " Jaap Flier - Solist " was directed by filmmaker Jellie Dekker. The film “Jaap Flier - Solist “ was premiered at Cinedans Festival 2016, and touring all over the world since then. Now the film " Jaap Flier - Solist " is also available to watched on Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/155052409
The film director Jellie Dekker & Kenzo Kusuda have been also further collaborating together to create their most recent dance film ” DUÆL “ ( 2021 ), in which Kusuda appears as a main character meandering through the different dimensions of the world(s) we all experience in our life's journey; dual - duel, both so mistakingly similar and seemingly almost identical at first sight yet very distinctively different and mysteriously peculiar, an unknown layers of our perceived realities both around us and inside us, to go breaking through it and see what awaits us over the other end of this dark and long tunnel in between. The film ” DUÆL “ was premiered at Cinedans Festival 2021.
In the recent years, Kusuda has been working intensively together with the Copenhagen-based Norwegian theater director / choreographer Jon R.Skulburg / Convoi Exceptionnel. Based on the mutual artistic fascination and respect, Kusuda and Jon R.Skulberg / Convoi Exceptionnel have started to exchange inspirations and ideas, giving space to the experimentation in the studio research sessions and deepening the artistic dialogue and exchange since 2017 onward. In collaboration with Jon R.Skulburg / Convoi Exceptionnel, Kusuda has appeared as a dancer / performer in Skulberg’s important works such as: “ WE - AN UNKNOWN OPERA BY BACH? “ ( 2019 ) at NOORLANDSOPERAN in Umea, Sweden, and also Kusuda has appeared as one of the two main performers in “ FOR EVER FOUR SEASONS “ ( 2019 ) that has premiered at Bora Bora in Aarhus, Denmark, and have started to tour / travel with this highly acclaimed production. Kusuda has been also invited to work as a movement coach for Jon R.Skulberg / Convoi Exceptionnel’s recent production “ Crawl, Crawl, Crawl “ ( 2022 ) in collaboration with 12 choir singer of Ensemble Edge & composer Lil Lacy * conductor Matthias Skaarup Sorensen, premiered in Aarhus, Denmark in June 2022. Convoi Exceptionnel’s production “ For Ever Four Season “ was successfully presented and performed live on stage at ICE HOT Nordic Dance Platform in Helsinki on 1st July 2022.
Recently Kusuda has been frequently invited to work as a guest lecturer / guest performer / guest teacher to guide the workshops for the group of master students of KABK ArtScience Interfaculty Department at Dutch Royal Academy of Arts ( Koninkelijke Academie van Beeldende Kunst ) in Den Haag, in an intensive collaboration with prominent artists such as Cocky Eek & Theun Karelse, and also being an active guest participant for the Machine Wilderness Project since 2016~, that often takes places at ARTIS Dutch Royal Zoo in Amsterdam & Zone2Source at Amstelpark, generating and deepening new perspectives and artistic practices to research, share and connect with one another in the revolving themes around nature, science, art, robotics, artificial intelligence, machines, wildness, instinct, landscapes, flora, fauna, humanity, microbes, organisms, technologies, art of listening, actively contemplating on being human beings in this world today.. together finding ways to generating compassionate relationships to nature and sustainability.