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Shinichi Iova-Koga

San Francisco, CA            

Shinichi is the Artistic Director of the physical theater and dance company inkBoat, founded by Shinichi in 1998.  He has toured in North America, Europe, South Korea and Japan, often collaborating with local artists in museums, theaters, studios and site-specific locations. 

He has co-directed works with Anna Halprin, Ko Murobushi, Sten Rudstrøm, Yuko Kaseki, Takuya Ishide and KT Nelson (ODC).

Shinichi is the editor of the book “95 Rituals,” a tribute to Anna Halprin and contributor to “The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance.”

He has co-created performances with with music groups Rova Saxophone Quartet and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum.  As a guest Director, he has worked with AXIS Dance Company.  As a dancer, he has been a member of the Russian Dance Theater company Do Theatre (2003-2005) Butoh/installation art based TEN PEN CHii (1996-2002) in Germany with Yumiko Yoshioka, Hiroko and Koichi Tamano’s Harupin Ha (1993-1996), and Larry Reed’s Shadowlight Theater (1993-1997).


Shinichi has been teaching body flow and composition in workshops and Universities since 1994. In 2007, he and his wife Dana Iova-Koga built and founded the dance studio inkGround in Northern California, running the annual summer workshop “Dance on Land,” utilizing the surrounding forests, rivers and ocean-side as new media for the life/dance investigation.  

Shinichi has taught dance composition and technique at Mills College (MFA program, core faculty) from 2009-2017, UC Davis (MFA program) in 2014 and has taught workshops or lectured at UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, SF State University, Stanford University, Experimental Theater Wing at NYU/Tisch and more.

His mentors include Anna Halprin (score-based, site specific performance), Yumiko Yoshioka (Butoh Dance), Ruth Zaporah (Action Theater), Ko Murobushi, and Ralph Lemon (anti-dance maker). He practices Shakuhachi (bamboo flute) with Masayuki Koga; Aikido with Jan Nevelius, Jorma Lily and Cornelius Jaeger-Herzog; Qi Gong with David Wei; Nei Gong with Damo Mitchell; and Noh theater with teachers of the Kita School (Jubilith Moore, Kinue Oshima, Akira Matsui) and Hosho school (Masayuki Fujii). 

Shinichi is a certified teacher of Action Theater, certified Qi Gong instructor with Lotus Nei Gong and operates the Swiss satellite branch of Wudang West, offering instruction in classical wellness arts (yang sheng gong) from Wudang.


Under Shinichi’s direction, inkBoat has has been recognized numerous times by the Isadora Duncan Awards Committee, receiving 12 nominations and 5 Izzie awards: “Special Achievement Award” for the 2015 performance of “95 Rituals;” “Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design” for the 2011 performance “Line Between;” “Outstanding Achievement in Company Performance” for the 2008 production of “c(H)ord;” “Outstanding Achievement in Company Performance” for 2004’s “Ame to Ame;” “Outstanding Achievement in Visual Design” for 2003’s “Heavens’ Radio.”  Shinichi was named one of the “25 to watch” in 2008 by Dance Magazine and awarded a “Goldie” award by the SF Bay Guardian in 2007.  

Funders include National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, San Francisco Arts Commission, Zellerbach Family Fund, Creative Work Fund, James Irvine Foundation, Rainin Foundation, New Music USA , Bernard Osher Foundation, MAP Fund “Creative Exploration Fund Grant”, US/Japan Friendship Commission, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Andrew, W. Mellon Foundation’s MAP fund and Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation.

Line Between

Izzie Award (2013) winning “Line Between” was created collaboratively, initially by Shinichi Iova-Koga and Dohee Lee as a theatrical dance duet, which expanded to include Dana Iova-Koga as Director, Amy Rathbone (installation), Allen Willner (lighting), Frank Lee (set pieces) and Alice Wu (costumes) as visual collaborators (all recepients of the Izzie “Outstanding Achievement in VISUAL DESIGN), Suki O’Kane and Jason Ditzian as composer/performers and Peiling Kao as an invisible person.

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ODD was conceived as a merging of AXIS dance company and inkBoat, companies with very different ways of making work. Utilizing the paintings of Odd Nerdrum, we created our responses and reflections of the paintings. To increase the sense of reflection, one of Nerdrum’s apprentices was present at each performance, painting the dance of the paintings.
ODD created by AXIS Dance Company & inkBoat
Directed by: Shinichi Iova-Koga
Music Composed by: Joan Jeanrenaud
Live Music by: Joan Jeanrenaud (cellist) and Dohee Lee (vocals & percussion)

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Ame to Ame

Episodes of silence follow volleys of percussive music; throughout Ame to Ame, the choice of music (composer Sheila McCarthy intersperses bits by Nils Frykdahl, Dawn McCarthy, Carla Kilstedt and Matthias Bossi with her own compositions) is eminently apt; while Ates’ unerring lighting scheme keeps us dazzled.
The choreography grows ever less studied and more physical. Koga and Kaseki mount each other’s back. He beetles across the stage in a squatty walk that Chaplin might have envied.

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