Noism is Japan’s first dance company with a permanent residency at a theatre, basing its activities at the RYUTOPIA Niigata City Performing Arts Center. The company was founded in 2004, after the director, choreographer, and dancer Jo Kanamori was appointed artistic director of RYUTOPIA’s Dance Division. It is split into three divisions: Noism0, comprising selected professional dancers; Noism1, consisting of professional dancers; and Noism2, for trainees. Based in Niigata, Noism1 has been active widely both in Japan and abroad, working with Moscow’s Chekhov International Theatre Festival and performing at the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto, among others. Noism2 participates in many events held in the prefecture and is increasingly active in the region. Based in Niigata yet actively internationally, Noism0 strives to convey the expression that only artists can create, not only through dance techniques but also accumulated age and experience. With its global outlook and the dancers’ overpowering bodies and sharp critical minds behind it, the company’s work has been attracting prominence from all quarters as a new model for Japanese theatre culture in the twenty-first century.
Noism = no-ism
The twentieth century was a century of experimentation: research and study were undertaken in all art forms, giving birth to ism after ism. But in the twenty-first century, Noism’s aim is not to find yet another new ism of its own that would deny the possibilities of other isms. Instead, the company aims for “no-ism.” By choosing to have no specific ism, we accept and re-study those different isms that have appeared in the past from our predecessors, and seek out whatever tools are needed in order to create something that emphasizes quality over “originality.”