Ryutopia was recognized as a “creative cultural art facility contributing to the development of the local community through an all-encompassing operation promoting Niigata,” and received the 2006 “JAFRA Award (Internal Affairs Minister Award)” from the Japan Foundation for Regional Art Activities. It has also been designated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs as an “artistic hub” that reaches out not only to the local community but also to the entire country. (2004 — 2010, 2011 —)
Numerous performances can be enjoyed throughout the year, including those by overseas artists and Tokyo Symphony Orchestra's regular concerts, held 6 times annually in Niigata. Many residents visit Ryutopia to experience modern theater, traditional Noh and Kyogen plays.
“Noism” was established as a residential dance company in April 2004 when artist Jo Kanamori was invited to serve as Artistic Director of the Dance Division by Niigata City Performing Arts Center “RYUTOPIA”. As a professional dance company following the European theatrical tradition – the first of its kind in Japan – Noism has continuously led the contemporary dance scene in the country through its successive presentation of innovative and highly exploratory projects and performances. Since 2007 the company has performed in 11 cities in 8 countries overseas, and was honored the prestigious Asahi Performing Arts Award in 2008 for its brilliant presentation of “Nameless Hands – A Doll’s House.” In September 2009 the dance troupe was enlarged and founded “Noism1,” the core performing group and “Noism2,” the junior section for dancers in training.Noism has performed “Nameless Poison – The Black Monk” co-production with Chekhov International Theatre Festival in 2009. In August 2011, Noism was invited to the prestigious classical music festival, the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto 2011, directed by Seiji Ozawa, and took a part of Bartok double bill program, consists of opera “Bluebeard's Castle” and ballet “The Miraculous Mandarin”. Today, Noism continues to earn acclaim as Niigata’s own dance company, representing the artistic culture of the city.
Jo Kanamori serves as Artistic Director of RYUTOPIA’s Dance Division and Noism. After studying under Maurice Bejart at the L’ecole-Atelier Rudra Béjart School in Lausanne, he performed as a member of the Netherlands Dance Theatre II, the Lyon National Opera Ballet in France and the Gothenburg Ballet in Sweden. Kanamori returned to Japan in 2002. His first self-produced project “no·mad·ic project – 7 fragments in memory” was honored with the Third Asahi Performing Arts Awards in 2003. He established Japan’s first residential dance company “Noism” a year later. Based on his extensive experiences abroad, he has launched various innovative productions for the company and his caliber has been highly acclaimed. In August 2011, Kanamori was invited to the prestigious classical music festival, the Saito Kinen Festival Matsumoto 2011 where Seiji Ozawa has served the Music Director. Kanamori directed Bartok’s opera works, “Bluebeard’s Castle” and “The Miraculous Mandarin”. He has been presented numerous awards and in 2008 was the recipient of the prestigious Minister of Education, Culture, Sport, Science and Technology Award. (www.jokanamori.com)
Graduated from Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music, Yuka Ishimaru continued to study at the Royal Danish Academy of Music with the scholarship from the government of Denmark, and further at Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart as a member of Japanese Government Overseas Study Program for Artists. Won the Grand prix and Dane & Polly Bales prize at the 22nd International Organ Competition Grand prix de Chartres. She toured both in Europe and in Japan as well as performed with major orchestras and conductors around the globe. She also actively appears in Japanese television programmes. Yuka Ishimaru is highly acclaimed for her passionate and rich sound, performance technique and dense registration of the instrument. She released her 2nd CD “Organ Odyssey” in 2019 and “Organ Christmas” in October 2020. She is teaching at the Musashino Academia Musicae, and from April 2020, she is serving as residential organist at Niigata City Performing Arts Center “RYUTOPIA”.
(as of Nov.2020)
Ryutopia provides various creative opportunities for children. It is the only public facility in Japan that offers courses where children learn to play hogaku, or traditional Japanese music with instruments such as the koto, shamisen and shakuhachi. Other workshops include orchestra, choir and drama. Through these activities, “Ryutopia” aims to foster young children's creativity and artistic expression.
The series is an innovative experiment that recreates the timeless, creative inspiration of William Shakespeare and his theatrical legacy ― expressed within the context of the bare and austere space of the Noh theater, known as the Nohgakudo. Considered the ultimate expression of traditional Japanese drama, the classic Noh is one of the oldest existing forms of theater in Japan, performed in a space virtually stripped of ornamentation and props with minimal lighting and sound effects. Ryutopia's unique series adopts this classic Noh stage while incorporating a wide range of movements and technical elements from the theatrical art of Kabuki, Noh and Bunraku.
Production of the series began in 2004 under the direction of Yoshihiro Kurita, Associate Director at Ryutopia, and 7 Japanese adaptations of Shakespeare have been presented so far.
In addition to domestic performances, the adapted dramas have been shown overseas three times upon invitation; “Hamlet” and “The Winter's Tale” were performed at four International Shakespeare Festivals in Romania, Hungary, Poland and Germany.
“Macbeth,” created under the series and first performed in 2004, was restaged in 2006 and 2007 as a collaborative work with Kabuki actors Ukon Ichikawa and Emiya Ichikawa. “Hamlet” was shown at the International Gdansk Shakespeare Festival in 2010, successfully garnering high acclaim.