Chisa Hidaka, photo by Brett Le Master
Described by the NY Times as ‘dancing as if possessed,’ Hidaka began her career in modern dance while attending Barnard College, where she received her BA in Dance in 1986. As a choreographer, Chisa has presented work in a number of NYC venues, most recently through the collective Metro Movement Project in collaboration with colleagues Mark Lamb, Deborah Gladstein, Sarah Pope and Marianne Giosa. Her work is largely improvisational, using structures to organize spontaneous choreography in performance. In her approach she is influenced by the work of teachers such as (the late) Cynthia Novack, Nina Martin and Nancy Stark Smith, amongst others in dance, as well as music/jazz teachers Kirk Nurock (an inter-species specialist) and Jay Clayton. She is very active in the NYC contact improvisation community, regularly attending jams and other events. She recently joined the board of Earthdance, a retreat in Massachusetts dedicated to improvisation. As a performer, Hidaka has appeared as a singer in the bands Stuck and Poetic LieSense, as well as in her own dance work and in the choreography of long-time friend and mentor Marta Renzi, Doug Elkins, Bill Young, Mark Dendy and others. Holding firm the belief that art can be an engine for social change, Chisa serves on the board of Artist as Citizen. With an MD from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, Hidaka has been on the research faculty of the Tissue Engineering, Regeneration and Repair program of the Hospital for Special Surgery since 2001, directing research in the areas of cartilage and bone healing and regeneration, particularly through the use of gene therapy. Bringing together her medical/science and dance training, Hidaka conceived a course in experiential anatomy with dancer Mariah Maloney. For the past 3 years, she has taught the course at Barnard College and will be offering it this year at Manhattanville College as well.
Through the Dolphin Dance project, Hidaka also brings together her dance and science expertise. She will bring to bear her extensive training in improvised dance to interact with wild dolphins in a manner that is informed by aesthetic choices that are respectful of the dolphins as equal partners in the process. She will use her knowledge of jazz improvisation to work with composers who will score the dance film. She will use her scientific background to collaborate with dolphin scientists to investigate whether dance can be used as a model to study inter-species communication.
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