ABOUT MANA HASHIMOTO
Mana Hashimoto is a blind choreographer and contemporary dancer based in New York City. Her 14-year career has taken her from her native Tokyo to stages in New York City, Chicago, California, Edinburgh in Scotland, Paris, Helsinki in Finland, Warsaw in Poland, Brussels in Belgium, Luxembourg, Vilnius in Lithuania, Yokohama in Japan and other places in Europe, North America and Asia.
In 2015, Mana was one of 6 artists selected to perform at FLICfest in Brooklyn, New York where she performed her original choreographed solo dance piece "Stories of the Blind - Light, Shadow and Wind" for which Dance Enthusiast declared Mana was creating "a new vision for dance". In 2014, her dance piece was presented by Pan Asian Repertory Theatre as one of their New Works. Mana has also performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Avignon Fringe Festival, Paris Butoh Festival, Jacobs Pillow Festival where she was Artist in Residence, as well as other dance and arts events around the world.
Mana's professional dance performance career began in 2001, when she cofounded the dance company Treaders in the Snow and performed as principal dancer. Immediately dance critics took notice and The New York Times positively described Mana as the "serene imposing center of the storm". Since then, Mana has continued to leave a mark with her artistry. Her recent solo original choreographed dance pieces include Presley (2012 - present), Enunciation (2009 - present), Boxer (2012), Iki (2010 - 2011), Yumema (2010 - 2011) and 20 other original solo pieces.
Besides the New York Times, Mana has also received rave reviews from the Village Voice, Time Out, Dance Critics, Yomiuri and other major publications. Joanne Tucker of the Avodah Ensemble wrote “[Mana Hashimoto] has made a significant impact on the arts scene and has a critical role to play in the evolution of modern dance in the United States.”. Documentary filmmaker Nancy Stevens described Mana as “…a uniquely gifted individual whose influence has been deeply felt in the international dance world.".
In 2010, Mana's work was recognized by Asian American Arts Alliance as one of four honorees that year. The same year, Mana received an award from the Queens Council of the Arts. She is also grateful to Ella Ryman Cabott Trust, Puffin Foundation, Sasakawa Foundation for their generous support and recognitions over the years.
Mana began her classic ballet training at the Tachibana Ballet School in Tokyo. This was followed by jazz studies at the New England Conservatory of Music and Berklee College of Music, and then return to studying dance at Martha Graham School.
During her time at Martha Graham School, Mana lost her eyesight completely due to undiagnosed optic nerve atrophy in her eyes. Since then her life work is devoted to merging blindness and dance. In her choreography she seeks to explore the experience of a visually impaired person who desires to create artistically by using her remaining senses. She is the founder of Dance without Sight, a dance workshop that explores movement using rich senses of touch, sound and smell. She is deeply committed to bringing dance education to all, including people with full sight, with blindness and all physical forms. She has worked with Lighthouse International NYC, Visions NYC, Brooklyn Center for the Independence of the Disabled, Lighthouse Yokohama among other organizations, and she performed at the closing ceremony of the 2nd Annual International Piano Competition of People with Disabilities in Vancouver, Canada.
Mana is also active in using her arts to promote peace and humanity. She was a Peace Ambassador for Vigil for International Peace which celebrates United Nations International Day of Peace in September every year. In 2015, Mana's humanity performances include the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bombings, September 11th memorial event at Lincoln Center Plaza, Vigil for International Peace at New York City's Central Park among other events.