New at The School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, a showing as part of Vermont Performance Lab’s SEED residency on April 29, 2016. With dancers Deborah Goffe and Shaina Cantino. Sound and visual design by Ryan MacDonald.

photos © Peter Raper

New was made possible in part with a research and development residency and support by Vermont Performance Lab and Studio 303 with support from New England Foundation for the Arts. New was funded in part by New England Foundation for the Arts’ New England Dance Fund, with generous support from the Aliad Fund at the Boston Foundation.





ZERO by Aretha Aoki
at A.P.E. Gallery Ltd. (Northampton, MA)
May 21-23, 2015

Performance by Aretha Aoki
Animation and Sound design by Ryan MacDonald
Lighting by Reilly Horan


Photos ©Jim Coleman

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Photos ©Henry Amistadi

The Multiple

Full version:

The Multiple by Aretha Aoki
at A.P.E. Ltd. Gallery (Northampton, MA)
May 31, 2014

Performance by Aretha Aoki and Julia Gladstone
with movement based on improvisation by Julia Gladstone
Sound design and video by Ryan MacDonald
Created in collaboration with Ryan MacDonald

Starting with the assumption that the dancer is a medium for the unknown, The Multiple explores the ghostly presence of actual and imagined beings, and invites the murmurings of past, present and future into the space of performance. A solo edges into a duet, into what is seen and unseen, and into the estrangements and intimacies within and between people and place.

The Multiple photo by Glynnis Eldridge
Photo ©Glynnis Eldridge

The Multiple was supported in part by a grant from the Northampton Arts Council, Inc.


Las Gravitas

Full Version:

Las Gravitas (2013) by Aretha Aoki
at Danspace Project (NY, NY)
Performance: Aretha Aoki
Critic (voice and text): Cassie Peterson
Additional text: Ryan MacDonald, with Aretha Aoki
Sound design: Ryan MacDonald
Created in collaboration with Ryan MacDonald

Las Gravitas is a solo. I wanted to make a solo that turns out to be the opposite of a solo, a solo about everything but me. No matter what I tried, I always came back to myself, my movement, and my body’s limitations and anxieties. While making this piece, I fluctuated between being a dancer who maybe took herself too seriously, a self-critical critic, and a choreographer who was unpredictable, kind of funny, and a little crazy, at least within the expectations she had for a solo. Through a collage way of making and working directly with collaborators, I hope to access and grab a hold of, at least a moment, in the ever-shifting, always changing solo. I read somewhere that a fingernail clipping contains the genetic blueprint of a whole person as well as an entire galaxy. The choreographer in me wants this as well. Wants the piece to expand outward and contract inward. Wants the dancer to do the same. Wants the viewer to lean forward into the space and peek into a hole seeing another galaxy that is strikingly like her own but strangely unfamiliar.

Photos © Alex Escalante, from an early showing of the work at the Movement Research Festival Fall 2012 at Danspace Project, curated by Juliette Mapp and Jen Rosenblit


Photos © Noah’s Photography
From a performance of Las Gravitas at the 2013 Powell Street Festival (Vancouver, B.C.)


The Turning of Events

The Turning of Events (2011)

Full Version:

at New York Live Arts (NY, NY)
Choreography by Aretha Aoki in collaboration with the performers
Performance by Aretha Aoki, Vanessa Anspaugh, Kristina Dobosz, and Line Haddad
Sound, Video, and Story by Ryan MacDonald
Lighting by Vincent Vigilante
All photos below © Ian Douglas


In the Woods

Below is an excerpt from In the Woods (2010) by Aretha Aoki, in collaboration with Vanessa Anspaugh
at the Chen Dance Center (NY, NY)
Performed by Aretha Aoki and Vanessa Anspaugh
Sound by Ryan MacDonald

All photos below © Julie Lemberger, from a performance of In the Woods
at the 92nd St. Y (NY, NY)