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AUDIENCE REVIEW: "About You" by Tsubasa Nishioka and Yu Fujiwara

"About You" by Tsubasa Nishioka and Yu Fujiwara

Tsubasa Nishioka and Yu Fujiwara

Performance Date:
June 19th, 2023

Freeform Review:

“About You” was an intricate, piercing duet created and danced by Tsubasa Nishioka and Yu Fujiwara for the 2023 KoDaFe international dance festival. The dance opened the festival on a riveting note.

The KoDaFe is an annual international dance festival in New York City hosted by iKADA Contemporary Dance Company (iKADA). KoDaFe was created by Mee Jung, artistic director and CEO of iKADA, or the “Korean American Dance Association.” Presented annually since 2013, the KoDaFe aims to bring various dance companies from across the globe together in a shared performance. This year, the festival was held at the Ailey Citigroup Theatre on June 19th.

2023’s KoDaFe theme was a quote by George Balanchine: “See the music, hear the dance.” “About You” explored this theme, sharing a duo’s first impressions of each other as “two strangers start their conversation, interacting with each other…”

Tsubasa and Yu’s opening moments were seated. The pair appeared curious about each another as they began to converse through meticulous hand gestures. Tsubasa and Yu were calm and poised, and deliberate with each gesture.

Kneeling next to Yu, Tsubasa created a memorable butterfly-like action with his hands. He intently watched his palms flutter, rising the shape above their heads. It was as if he were telling Yu a story about his life. Another striking visual occurred when Yu gaped outwards, her jaws wide open, while Tsubasa supported her from the back. Yu opened and closed her mouth repeatedly, as if Yu was attempting to grasp something far away.

Rising from the ground, the dancers revealed the flow of their clothes; clad in shades of gray, black, pink and blue, the floating nature of their costumes added to their movements, as they built their energy.

Tsubasa and Yu continued to create a striking world. As they propelled through the space in various series of lifts, turns, and jumps – often offering barrel jumps, cartwheels off of one another’s backs, and beautiful suspensions in the air – their bodies created shapes reminiscent of butterflies. It was evident in the way they bounded through the stage, their legs and arms creating star-like shapes with buoyant energy. Their dynamics left the audience to wonder where their energies would be redirected.

They danced to music by J.S. Bach, which offered a hopeful atmosphere. Bach’s score propelled the pair through their movements, their dancing illuminating the space.

Tsubasa and Yu’s interaction was an exciting conversation which contained many ups and downs, and never any lulls. As with spoken conversation, Tsubasa and Yu really listened to each other during their time together, offering a gentle balance between call and response.

“About You” by Tsubasa Nishoka and Yu Fujiwara was a beautiful opener for the 2023 KoDaFe, and will hopefully be presented again soon in the future.


Kristen Hedberg


Photo Credit:
Alexander Sargent

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