Akemi Takeya

Article Bio Works Merits Projects www
ambivalence, boredom, conflict, emptiness, identity
Music (improvisation)
Performing Arts (dance / choreography, theatre)
Asia, Eastern
created on:
July 15, 2003
last changed on:
Please note: This page has not been updated since April 28, 2006. We decided to keep it online because we think the information is still valuable.
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Akemi Takeya
Akemi Takeya is a Japanese dancer, musician and poet, known for her shadow pieces. (PR photo).


Japanese shadows

As a dancer, poet and musician Akemi Takeya creates original art pieces. Akemi Takeya is a poetic dancer and performer, who constantly crosses frontiers between the real and the artistic world. For 10 years she has combined Japanese aesthetics with European performance art in an artificial proces. She develops characters and positions in the theatrically space from layers in her inner soul.
Takeya has set up her own voice and body performance method, interweaving the strategies of the internal formation of one´s own inner energy, thus developing a language of her own. And, as a prolific writer she incorporates the thoughts from her journals, dreams, diaries and essays into her performance pieces, ultimately producing an unexpected and visceral fusion of sensory encounters.

She thinks rationally and lyrically, with head and body, „Eastern“ and „Western“, in oppositions, combinations, entanglements, sounds, spaces, movements, words and colours.

She is a performer between cultures – no longer feeling attached to her Japanese origin, and not yet enough to Europe, her new abode. This tension field between cultures also is mirrored in the ambivalence between the disciplined Japanese philosophy of the Path, and an urban inner conflict. These Takeya tries to bridge in her art, which is shaped by a fascinating fusion of Eastern and Western influences, her inner world and her integration of the outer world. (copyright IMEKA 2005)

Akemi Takeya has worked together with artists in the fields of dance, theatre, film/video, photography and music. She has experimented with music composition and recording.

As a girl Akemi Takeya was inspired by modern poetry - highly motivated by poet Tadashi Tend; inspired by the works of poet Kazuko Shiroishi and Jean Coquette as well as the writer Jean Marie Gestate El Clézio.

Kinuko Nishina instructed her during her "En-Training" sessions, in a comprehensive technique for expression. Based on an independent breathing technique (embryonic breathing technique), physical improvisation, voice improvisation and singing (jazz and chansons) were at the focus of the four-year program.

The source of Akemi Takeya´s stories is her intense dreaming experiences.

"In my memory, dreams from different periods of my life cross. Thus I am able to combine and visualise very recent and very old dreams." This art even in its humorous moments is shaped by a philosophical seriousness, by aesthetic balance and creative multi-dimensionality, and quite as well by an enigma of strangeness irresistibly attracting us beholders from the Occident.

On the theatre festival Waves 2003 in Denmark Akemi Takeya perform three of her shadow pieces, which by their visual effects leads the public into Takeya´s surreal world.

With an artificial display of nonsense and irony she investigates the essential meaning of shadows, as memories, dreams, fantasies, mind, feeling, madness and lookalike.

The story follows a path playing with the shadow as the second "I" in dialogue with its own shadow. The performer is then put in the role as observer and bearer of its own shadow.
Author: Karin Bergquist


Akemi Takeya was born in Aomori prefecture in northern Japan, and was the pitcher in a baseball team as a child. She moved to Tokyo in 1981 and studied comprehensive technique for physical expression with Kinuko Nishina, shamisen (Japanese 3-stringed lute) with Sataya Kineya.

Since 1991 Takeya has been living and working in Vienna, where she has collaborated with artists in the fields of dance, theater, film/video, photography and music. She has created numerous dance, video and performance pieces in collaboration with such artists as Paul V. Weihs, Sam Auinger & Rupert Huber, Sam Auinger, Roberto Paci Daló, Dorfmeister, G.X. Jupitter Larsen, Sergio Messina, Bob Ostertag, Robin Rimbaud aka SCANNER, Jon Rose, Andrea Sodomka, Wolfgang Mitterer, Tom Cora, Werner Puntigam, Christian Fennesz, Tetsuo Furudate etc…

She has performed in various international venues including dietheater Wien, dietheater Künstlerhaus, ImPulsTanz Festival, Yokohama Red Brick and her U.S. debut at the Japan Society in the 2003 Annual Contemporary Dance Showcase. She also appeared in several productions by Butoh dancer Carlotta Ikeda’s Companie Ariadone.

Her own works include the duet Ato (1994); Örtemtschei with the singer Sainkho Namchylak (1995); and Imeka (1999). For her third solo performance Drowning Fish she was awarded the Austrian Dance Production Prize 1999. Other performances include Yuragi (2000), Terror by a blind stranger (2001) as work in progress of Black Honey Drops, Shadow Pieces (2002) and voice & body performance series multiple space (2001) & double space (2002).

She collaborated with electronic musician Christian Fennesz and the noise musician Tetsuo Furudate on Transart (2003).

She conceived and coordinated the AJ Project, the Austria X Japan Dance and Performance Exchange Programme which took place in Yokohama (2002), and Vienna, Budapest, and Prague (2003). Most recently, she created and premiered weathering, an audiovisual environment with musical collaborator Ulf Langheinrich at Tanzquartier Wien (2005).


So What

Production / Performance,
new creation / work in progress, premiere at the Impulstanz Festival 2006


Production / Performance,
Weathering performance (2005, collaboration with Ulf Langheinrich) Weathering body exhibition (2004, collaboration with Ulf Langheinrich)


Production / Performance,

Shadow pieces

Production / Performance,
Shadow Piece x8: Makes borders between the real and the unreal world transparent. Toyosaburo´s Fragment The piece is about a cracy guy, a strange creature, called Toyosaburo, who was Akemi Takeyas uncle. He was a man, who tried to be God, but failed. Dadadone A man and a woman in the usual state of dumb isolation. Every person in a never ended time in the same room. They just breathe, but then...

Black Honey Drops

Production / Performance,


Production / Performance,

Drowning Fish

Production / Performance,

Bodypoems - REFLECTION

Production / Performance,


Production / Performance,


Production / Performance,


Production / Performance,


In 1999 Akemi Takeya received the Austrian Dance Production Prize for her third solo performance "Drowning Fish".


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

Images of Asia

(08 August 03 - 26 September 03)



Akemi Takeya´s official website