Photographs © Beatriz Klewais, 2021. Courtesy of Kunstenfestivaldesarts. 

Freeway Dance

by Ayaka Nakama

What is our first memory of dancing? In Freeway Dance, the Japanese choreographer and performance artist Ayaka Nakama asked a number of people close to her – a neighbour, her father, her friends – to describe their first memory of themselves dancing. Based on these descriptions, she reconstructed these movements  with her own body. 

In Freeway Dance, Nakama welcomes us into a garden that contains multiple references, a place where the idea of mono-culture is abandoned; a garden in which to sit, to swing on the swing, or to eat something in one of the food stalls. She dances in this immense space with incredible care, her tiny figure owning the room. Although the choreography is predetermined, the music changes nightly. Before entering the performance space, you – the spectator – will receive an email requesting the name of a song associated with a particular moment in the past when you were dancing or listening to while driving. At once, as a form of contamination, the dances remembered by the others are danced inside the memories of the people present in the room. Freeway Dance is a four hour performance-hymn to dance as a meeting place, where memories, people, geographies, and forms of freedom flow. Coming to us at a time in which dancing is more of a memory than an activity. 

"I have worked on the stage with countless choreographers, believing that it is the dancer's job to launch choreography as a dance and let the choreographed body dance. My body cannot dance without choreography, and it has the property that it wants to dance a lot, so it needs much more choreography (like food). Choreography exists in various forms anytime and anywhere. I have long wanted to dance to all the choreography that exists in this world.

In this project, I asked people who are not specialists in dance or performing arts about "a memory of when they danced for the first time in their lives", and I treated those memories as choreography. I stack multiple choreographies in my body without replacing them. Let's dance with a plump and luxurious body that has stored many foods."

Ayaka Nakama


By and with
Ayaka Nakama

Shunsuke Manabe
Tomonori Fujisawa

Contributors of the memories (choreographies)
Tsubasa Ako, Chihiro Kanoh, Kimiaki Nakama, Tomonori Fujisawa, Tadasu Masuda and others 

Scenography Design
Moenaing Aung, Mikio Tazoe

Stage Manager
Aiko Harima

Asako Miura

Bunsho Nishikawa

Black Cat
Kasumi Harada

Cinema Bounce! Bounce!
Junya Suzuki

Dance Box (Kobe - JP) 

International Distribution
Something Great (Berlin - DE)
Materialise (Hong Kong - HK)