Work-in-progress performance project
Written, choreographed, and performed by George de la Peña and Michael Sakamoto
directing consultant – Asher Hartman
Music – Hyeyung Yoon
George/Michael explores the legacies of ballet and butoh in the real and imagined lives of its lead performers. Blending memoir, history and fiction, the project traces connections between diverse inspirations, such as Vaslav Nijinsky (played by de la Peña in the Hollywood biopic), butoh creator Hijikata Tatsumi, orientalism in ballet, and body fetishism in butoh. The artists reflect on male privilege, white patriarchy, and how to maintain dance’s transformative potential in the midst of exotification, oppression, and marginalization.
George de la Peña is a performer, director, choreographer, and educator researching movement, cognition and emotion to critically examine the human condition. Hailed by Arlene Croce as one of “the finest Petrushkas I’ve seen,” he was soloist with American Ballet Theatre, performed the lead in the Hollywood film, Nijinsky, and has worked with George Balanchine, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Martha Clarke, Peter Sellars, Alonzo King, Kenneth MacMillan, Dwight Rhoden, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp and many others. George has worked on Broadway and in film/television for 40 years, winning a Drama League Award-Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical.
Hyeyung Yoon (composer-musician) was a member of the acclaimed Chiara Quartet for 18 years, collaborates with leading classical new music artists and co-founded Asian Musical Voices of America.
Asher Hartman (co-director) is contemporary theatre artist and filmmaker whose work explores identity through Western histories and ideologies. His work has been presented nationwide and in seven countries, including at Walker Art Center, Hammer Museum, USC, LACMA, LACE, Rencontres International, and Beijing Open Performance.