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Dance Mission Theatre
San Francisco, CA
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SPALL FRAGMENTS explodes out of choreographer Joe Small's often surreal encounters with hypermasculine traits of 'power' (size, speed, strength, and aggression) surrounding the physically dynamic, pulse-pounding art of contemporary Japanese taiko drumming.

Through a bombastic mix of high-precision taiko drumming, dance, and serio-comic theatre, Small and the cast (Vivian Lee, Yeeman Mui, Kristy Oshiro, and David Wells) launch critical and self-conscious inquiries into the interconnectivity between hierarchical systems of aggression; medias influence on tradition and the reinforcing self-exoticizing Orientalist stereotypes; and the harrowing fall-out from masculine trauma-bonding, uncontrollable rage, and the existential lunacy of sacrificing ones body-mind-cultural identity to survive in Taiko's historically Japanese contexts and its globalized, transnational present.

Spall Fragments is co-sponsored by Asano Taiko US (, the American branch of Asano Taiko Company, Ltd., handcrafters of traditional Japanese drums and festival instruments since 1609.

About the Artists

JOE SMALL (Artistic Director, Performer) is a Los Angeles-based taiko drum artist whose creative approach incorporates postmodern choreography and performance art.  Career highlights have included studies at the Taiko Center of the Pacific (2002, 2003) and internships with San Jose Taiko and Portland Taiko (2004, 2005); a Fulbright Fellowship to Japan to research taiko drumming and festival culture (2005-2006); a two-year apprenticeship with the renowned taiko group, KODO (2007-2009); performing as a pick-up member of Marco Lienhards NYC-based Taikoza since 2009, the LA-based Prota since 2010; and as the sole non-Japanese member of the Tokyo-based Fu-un no Kai, the elite professional ensemble of pioneering solo taiko artist Eitetsu Hayashi.  Joe has performed and taught in numerous locations throughout the United States and Japan, as well as in Hong Kong, Australia, Spain, and Switzerland.  He is a 2005 graduate of Swarthmore College (BA, Dance) and a 2015 graduate of UCLA's Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance (MFA, Dance).

VIVIAN LEE began her taiko studies with UC Berkeley's Cal Raijin Taiko in 2009.  After graduating from university, Vivian spent time training under Dadadadan Tenko, a professional group in Osaka, Japan, and TaikOz, the premiere professional taiko group in Sydney, Australia.  She continues her studies as a student at the Los Angeles Taiko Institute in Torrance, CA.

YEEMAN MUI began her study of taiko drumming in 2010 with the all-womens taiko group Hong Kong ODAIKO.  Since 2012 she has been a Taiko Center of the Pacific Fellow under the tutelage of Master Kenny Endo, and became a full member of his professional ensemble in 2013.  Ms. Mui has graduated with degrees in musicology from Hong Kong University(BA, 2008; MPhil, 2010).  In addition to taiko drumming, she is an Orff-Schulwerk Certified Music Teacher and creative movement.

KRISTY OSHIRO is a professional taiko artist based in the Sacramento and San Francisco Bay Area. She started playing taiko at age 9 in Kona, Hawaii with Kona Daifukuji Taiko and was an instructor and touring ensemble member of Portland Taiko from 2001-2007 while getting her bachelors degree in Music Performance in Percussion at Portland State University. She was also an instructor and youth programs director at Sacramento Taiko Dan from 2007-2014.  Kristy is currently the Artistic Director of the Tsubaki Ensemble, Creative Director of Placer Ume Taiko, instructor for San Mateo Buddhist Temple Taiko, a touring member of Taikoza, and has performed and given taiko workshops across the US and in Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand. She is also a vendor for Visions In Education in Sacramento and specializes in educational assemblies and teaching youth.

DAVID WELLS has studied music since age 7, and began his taiko studies with Stanford Taiko in 2003, where he toured internationally and served as the group's Artistic Co-Director during his senior year.  Since then, he has continued his taiko journey by performing with the Kenny Endo Taiko Ensemble in Honolulu, HI before relocating to Los Angeles.  He now performs as a member of TAIKOPROJECT, On Ensemble, and Prota.



Dance Mission Theatre (View)
3316 24th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
United States

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Arts > Dance
Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre
Music > World

Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No


Owner: Joseph Small
On BPT Since: May 25, 2016
Joe Small

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