2018 Premiere


IKKAI:Once offers audiences an artistic statement about the meaning of democracy, juxtaposed with representations of the discrimination and injustice incurred by Japanese Americans resulting from the induction of Executive Order 9066. 

My research into this question began with interviewing friends’ parents, interned as children. Not surprisingly, many are acutely interested in sharing their stories, highly topical today, as they do not wish to see the injustices of history repeated.

IKKAI:Once involves 8 dancers and is about 25 minutes in length. The sound score uses interviews I've collected from Japanese Americans who were interned as children as well as 4th generation Japanese Americans - the children of children who were interned. Not surprisingly, many are acutely interested in sharing their stories, highly topical today, as they do not wish to see the injustices of history repeated. I am also including some recorded interviews from the Densho's digital archives into the sound score.

We will collaborate with Dana Kawano and Denise Ikeda, Japanese-American Artists whose parents were interned, to support the dance in visual and sound design.

IKKAI:Once is made possible by support from CA$H Grant and generous individuals.


Article on IKKAI:Once from KQED

 Photo by RJ Muna

Photo by RJ Muna


Near and Dear



I am interested in creating choreography for non-traditional performances spaces, where the boundaries between stage and audience can disappear. Dance set in a proscenium promotes distance between the dancers and the audience and can create a feeling of disconnect. Near and Dear allows the audience the freedom to participate in the performance, thus creating shared intimacy. It also inspires the audience to question what they value most, their experience, while inviting them to become active participants in the work.

Near and Dear is inspired by living in a time when we mass communicate via social media or text messages, as opposed to phone calls or in-person chats. We sit in front of our technological devices, order goods online for delivery, and then race from one commitment to another. This has created a lack of personal interaction and suppresses the conscious empathy that comes from actually spending time with people. In Near and Dear, dancers intertwine and connect with audience members in the closeness only an installation piece can offer. Each dancer has a movement identity and through their interactions with other dancers, individual movement motifs are exchanged and imprinted on each other. Duets, trios and quartets surface in the intimate venue. A dancer might also hold an audience member’s hand while watching another dancer together to enrich the viewing experience and create an intimate feeling of shared experience.

Installation performances fascinate me, as they allow audience members and dancers alike to participate in the moment without the distance and anonymity of the dark theater. We spend time together, share a movement experience, and hopefully become validated because of it.

The music for Near and Dear is Dancing Through Time, by composer Nancy Galbraith and recorded with the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble. 

Daniel Nesta Curtis, conductor

Stephen Schultz, Baroque flute

David Harding, viola


on Trust



On Trust seeks to challenge viewers to respond to the following questions: Why do people trust you? Whom do you trust? What happens when trust is lost?

The audience is a witness, participant, or even a voyeur in this installation piece where dance arrives at an unexpected time and place. Performance docents stand with audience members, so they don’t feel like they have to back away. The docents help the audience ‘trust’ the dancers with simple gestures, such as holding an audience member’s hand or putting their arms on their shoulder. The intent is for the audience to stay in close proximity to the performance.

When presented in a proscenium, dance can be formal and distant, or at least feel that way. In this case, the audience can listen to interviews, hear others’ perspectives on trust, and see partnering movements articulating trust. All this occurs in the the lobby and spaces where theater goers don’t usually expect a live performance. My goal is to create a unique experience for the audience before they take their seats in the proscenium hopefully priming them for more art. I challenge the audience to meditate on the meaning of trust and art in their lives while hopefully surprising and delighting them.


Review of On Trust by The Daily Serving


Film by David and Hi-jin Hodge


Performers:  Lani Dickinson, Amy Foley, Sharon Kung, Dalmacio Payamo, and Leesha Zieber
Music: Joan Jeanrennaud


The Bridge Part 1 & Part 2



Homelessness is the most pressing issue in the city of San Francisco.  How we do help?  How can I bridge the gap between me and someone who is living on the streets?  The Bridge Part 1 & Part 2 strives to connect people with different life experiences.

Created by: Yayoi Kambara and Jeremy Smith in collaboration with Matthew Francis

Commissioned by Dance Mission Theater for their 2016 Dance in Revolting Times Festival


Performers: Yayoi Kambara and Matthew Francis


Performers: Matthew Francis, Lani Dickinson, Amy Foley, Sharon Kung, Dalmacio Payamo, Sharon Kung, Leesha Zieber Music: Ben Juodvalkis





Work.Place.Hazard was originally created with Matt Linzer, Jeremy Smith, Delvis Savigne, José Carlos Alarcón Chacón, and Adonis Damian Martin. The dancers really threw themselves into this creative process when I was having a tough time navigating my life, and I found it was a spiritual respite to come to rehearsals to work with these incredibly talented dancers.

This piece was made possible by the generosity of Krissy Keefer and Dance Mission Theater.

Created by: Yayoi Kambara with Jeremy Smith


Performers: José Carlos Alarcón Chacón, Adonis Damian Martin, and Jeremy Smith


Beanie and a Dress



Created by: Yayoi Kambara with Jeremy Smith


Performers: Sharon Kung and Leesha Zieber
Music: Musette Explosion