Guest Lecture: “Rewriting the Modernist Encounter: ‘At the Hawk’s Well’ and the Dance Poem Movement in Japan”

Wednesday, February 22 2017 3:30PM-4:30PM

Greene Hall 148

Please join us for a talk by Tara Rodman of Northwestern University.
Time and date: Feb 22 @ 3:30PM
Location: Greene Hall 148


In 1916, the modern dancer Itō Michio (伊藤道郎) collaborated with W.B. Yeats and Ezra Pound on the noh-inspired dance-drama At the Hawk’s Well. Scholarship on the production tends to portray Itō as a figure of inspiration to the poets, an almost accidental muse whose Japanese-ness authenticated their interest in nō drama. However, attending to the contemporaneous activities of Itō’s Japanese peers reveals his own artistic purposes in the project.

Prior to his time in London, Itō had spent a year at the Dalcroze Institute in Hellerau, Germany. His studies there were encouraged by his mentor, the composer Yamada Kosaku (山田耕筰), whose own trip to Hellerau inspired him to launch the Dance-Poem (舞踊詩) movement in Japan with the dancer Ishii Baku (石井漠) in 1916. Close examination of both Itō’s activities in London as well as the simultaneous efforts of Yamada and Ishii in Tokyo, reveal that Itō understood himself as contributing from afar to the Dance-Poem movement. Rather than being simply an accessory to British modernism, Itō was engaged in the nationalist project of developing Japanese modern dance, even as he lived and worked abroad. Itō’s dual effort thus not only reveals Yeats’ and Pound’s Japonisme and the Dance-Poem movement to be modernist inter-texts, but also suggests a new way of conceiving of the circulation of modernist techniques and ideas.

This program is made possible by support from UWM’s Center for International Education, Language Resource Center, and US Department of Education Title VI National Resource Centers grant.