Dance at Socrates: an interview with Take Ueyama / TAKE Dance

Norte Maar, Socrates Sculpture Park, Dance at Socrates, summer dance

Socrates Sculpture Park, internationally recognized for its large-scale sculpture and multi-media installations, partners with Norte Maar, renowned for their cross-disciplinary collaborative projects, in a new summer series that brings four New York based choreographers to the East River waterfront. Each choreographer will take to the stage with their dancers Monday through Friday, with the day’s rehearsal entirely within public view. Park visitors will have the chance to witness the evolution of each choreographer’s artistic practice as they watch the movements progress through the week. The “official” performances take place on the final day of each choreographer’s residency, on Saturday afternoons throughout August, at 3 p.m.

>>Click here for the complete performance schedule and full company bios<<

Continuing our interviews with the Dance at Socrates choreographers, this week we talk to Takehiro Ueyama who began his residency with his company, TAKE Dance (pronounced tahkeh) Monday, August 19th.

Norte Maar, Take Dance, Takehiro UeyamaBorn and raised in Tokyo, Japan, Takehiro “Take” Ueyama moved to the United States in 1991 to study dance at the Juilliard School in New York City. Upon graduation, he was invited to join the Paul Taylor Dance Company, touring the world with them for 8 years.

In 2003 Ueyama debuted his first choreographic work, Tsubasa, performed with fellow Taylor dancers at the McKenna Theatre at SUNY New Paltz, NY, and in 2005 founded TAKE Dance.  He has performed repeatedly as a guest artist with with Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theatre.  His television and film credits include PBS’s Dance in America series (with the Taylor Company), Acts of Ardor, and Dancemaker, a film by dancer/choreographer Matthew Diamond.

Having been a baseball player in Japan before fully committing to dance, Ueyama’s work blends both eastern and western sensibilities.  Containing both powerful athleticism, as well as traces of his Japanese heritage by employing delicate gestures, his repertoire has been inspired by the beauty in nature, the duality of darkness and light in the universal human condition and the humanity and compassion in day-to-day living.  These elements, combined with his various partnerships and collaborations with artists of other genres, lend diversity to movement, music and subject matter.  Described as both sensitive and exciting, Ueyama’s choreography ensures a place for the heart on any stage it appears, a feast for the eyes, mind and soul; it is uniquely,  “TAKE”.

NM: How long have you been dancing, and when did you start choreographing?

Take: I guess I’ve been dancing/moving since I was a child. My real dance training started when I enter Juilliard in 1991. I was doing break dance and imitating Michael Jackson before that.

NM: For the project at Socrates, you’ll be completing the week-long residency on an outdoor stage in a public park. What is it like to work outside in full view of the public?

Take: It’s very nice to be a part of nature and creating dance under the beautiful sky. I see people stop by watching our rehearsal. They don’t come to talk to me or anything. They might think we are doing some crazy stuff on stage with strange music.

NM: Is there anything specific you are thinking about in preparation for this performance?

Take: Not really. Just trying to visualize my ideas/stories the best I can.

NM: Will this be new work?

Take: Yes. We’ll be showing my new work Dark Mourning as work in progress.

NM: What is up next for you?

Take: My company TAKE Dance will have the NY Season at Symphony Space on September 27 & 28. Th company will premiere my new work Dark Mourning as well as a new work by my mentor Kazuko Hirabayashi. I am very excited about this. And also we are reviving a critically acclaimed work titled Flight in which the former Paul Taylor, José Limón dancer, Barry Wizoreck will joins us as a special guest.

NM: How do you know Norte Maar?

Take: Peff Modelski, a former teacher at Steps introduced me to Jason Andrew and later he invited us perform at Norte Maar’s Fête de Danse, Rouses Point, NY, in 2008.

Take Dance Company rehearsing at Socrates Sculpture Park (courtesy of TAKE Dance).

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