Mako Kawano

Article Bio Works Merits Projects
body, borderline experience, communication
Performing Arts (dance / choreography)
Asia, Eastern
created on:
July 15, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since September 23, 2003. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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Mako Kawano
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Burning legs

Mako Kawano is a succesful choreographer, performer and dancer from Japan.
Performer Mako Kawano, who began dancing as a child has become one of Japan´s pre-eminent modern dancers.

She studied modern dance under Mizuomi Ikeda, ballet under Emiko Suzuki, and received a domestic internship from the Agency for Cultural Affairs.

Since 1987 she has been a member of the Natural Dance Theatre, a company led by Shinji Nakamura, who is a backbone choreographer in Japan, and performs a vital role as a soloist for Nakamura´s work.

As soon as Kawano begins to move it is clear she is a rare performer. Her physical fragility, defined by her long slender limbs, and seemingly natural fluidity, contrast and accent the lexicon of fractured movement she articulates. A beautiful high extension of her leg ends in a flopping foot and spastic toes. Hands that seize into claws and snap back at her wrists shatter the graceful lines of her arms. Her torso teeters precariously on her pelvis as if her spine is about to collapse.

She looks like she is dancing with a body of broken bones. She writhes on the floor. She mumbles frantically under her breath in Japanese. Performed by another dancer, this role might descend into self-indulgence, but Kawano is so committed to the movement and so in control of her performance that she is utterly compelling.

"In this solo (Reclusive Conclusions and other duets) \she has passed from an enlightened form following the ordinary to the eternal. Slim, on her legs, looking poor, with an expression witnessing at the same time sadness and anger (...) \she has offered a fantastic performance ". (New York Times)

"The most brilliant and tragic dancer of our time. Legs of fire". (Melody Maker in London)

"Her movements are stronger than any words: When she touches you, she reaches the buttom of your soul, and you will never forget her". (Le Figaro in Paris)
Author: Karin Bergquist


Since 1987 Mako Kawano has worked for Natural Dance Theatre along with her solo career.

She has worked with artists such as Doug Baron (USA), Tedd Robinson (Canada), UNO MAN (Japan) og Kim Itoh (Japan).



Production / Performance,
In the piece Alice Mako Kawano is both performer, choreographer and dancer.


Mako Kawano´s performings has won rave reviews around the globe, and has been awarded numerous honours including Best Dancer of the Year 2000 by the Contemporary Dance Association of Japan.


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)