Yoshiko Chuma

YOSHIKO CHUMA (artistic director & choreographer of The School of Hard Knocks, USA and of Daghdha Dance Company, Ireland) was born in Osaka, Japan and has lived in the United States since 1978. Chuma has created more than 45 full-length company works, commissions and site-specific events for venues across the world, constantly challenging the notion of performing for both audience and participant. Her work has been presented in New York in venues ranging from the Joyce Theater to the legendary annual Halloween Parade; and abroad in such locations as the former National Theater of Sarajevo, the perimeter of the Hong Kong harbor and at an ancient ruin in Macedonia. Yoshiko Chuma is the recipient of several fellowships and awards, including those from the Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, Japan Foundation, Meet the Composer Choreographer/Composer Commission and Philip Morris New Works. She received a New York Dance & Performance Award ("Bessie") in 1984 and has led workshops and master classes throughout Eastern and Western Europe, Asia, Russia and the U.S.

The School of Hard Knocks Logo

THE SCHOOL OF HARD KNOCKS [SOHK] (Founded in 1984) is an award-winning collaborative effort of choreographers, dancers, actors, singers, musicians, designers, and visual artists working under the artistic direction of Yoshiko Chuma. The School of Hard Knocks, which takes its name from the American idiom meaning to learn things the hard way, was the title of the company's first production, a collaboration between Yoshiko Chuma, Jacob Burckhardt (filmmaker) and Alvin Curran (musician) presented at the 1980 Venice Biennale. Over the course of the company's history, more than 1,000 people have performed under Chuma's direction in situations ranging from theatrical dance concerts to street performances, parades, large-scale spectacles and intimate Living Room Projects, Chuma's signature program which brings post modern music and dance performance to homes, businesses and community centers. Living Room Projects have been performed in homes in Budapest, a car show room in Nagoya, and gardens in the East Village of New York City. Since its foundation in 1984, the company has created and performed original works in the U.S., Europe and in Asia and has welcomed over 1,000 performers to participate in theatrical dance concerts, street performances, parades, and large-scale spectacles.

The School of Hard Knocks has created and performed original works in their annual New York season, and on tour in the United States, Asia, and Europe, with a particular focus on Eastern European countries, including Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, the Baltic Republics, and Bosnia. In the last five years, The School of Hard Knocks has made a commitment to offering young dancers from Japan international exposure and opportunity.

SOHK collaborations include: Tan Dun (Nine Songs, Jo Ha Kyu), Lenny Pickett (Human Voice), Alex Katz (Eager Witness), Christian Marclay (Five Car Pile-Up),Elizabeth Murray (A boy, a beer, and a blonde), Yvonne Jacquette and Nona Hendryx (The Big Picture), Mark Bennett, Robert Een, Aska Kaneko (Unfinished Symphony), and most recently, (Nagoya Suite) in Japan.

The School of Hard Knocks has been supported by: National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts,
Mary Cary Flagler Charitable Trust Live Music for Dance, Philip Morris,Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, The Jerome Foundation, AT&T Foundation, ArtsLink /CEC International Partners, Arts International FUND for US Artists at International Festivals and Exhibitions, Saison Foundation, he Japan Foundation/Japan US Performing Arts Program,Asian Cultural Council,Soros Open Society Institute,The Trust for Mutual Understanding,The Japan/US Friendship Commission,Lila Wallace Funds/Arts Partners Grant through Danspace Project at St. Mark's Church for the Living Room Project.

The School of Hard Knocks received BESSIE AWARDS (New York Dance and Performance Awards) in 1984, 1995 and 1998.