About Yayoi Hirano(古い)

Born and raised in Japan, Yayoi has lived in Vancouver since 2002. She is a graduate of Toho Gakuen College of drama (1972), and in 1975 co-founded Mime Theatre Pierrot-kan to popularize pantomime in Japan through modern works. Over the past 50 years she has continued her study of Japanese dance and movement such as Kagura, Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki-dance as well as western dance both classic ballet and modern dance. Her mime study has been in both Decroux and Lecoq system. Very early in her career she has had a passion for teaching mime, dance and movement. In 1989, she became the first mime artist to receive the Japanese Ministry of Education Fellowship, and spent a year collaborating with mime and dance artists in Germany and Canada. In 1990, she founded YAYOI THEATRE MOVEMENT Society. Her international performances include festival appearances in Germany, Slovakia and 7 other European countries numerous Asian tours as well as five North American tours.

Her collaboration work with international artists include work with Canadian photographer Courtny Milne(1995), Japanese Jazz musician Terumasa Hino(1996), Halina Witek (Holland 1997 ,1998). For her collaboration with Bulgarian actor Nikolai Sotirov in both Japan and Bulgaria, she was given the Bulgarian Experimental and Avant-garde Performance Art Award in 2001.
Yayoi’s career as a mask carver began 1996 under the mentorship of Noh-mask Master Fujio Fujimori. Since then she has created 15 unique Noh-style masks which have all been used in various performances.

In 2005 Yayoi created a new solo work “Four Seasons” which debuted in October at the Scotia Bank Dance Centre. In 2007 she collaborated with musician/composer Wendy Bross Stuart to create “Mothers” a dance/musical celebration of motherhood. 2008, she performed in Pangaea.Arts “Life of Paper”, and presented an original “Stories” in collaboration with pianist Sara Davis Buechner at the Powell Street Festival.

In the fall of 2008, she co-created and produced “Shinju” with fellow Japanese Canadian actor Manami Hara. Interpreting a traditional Kabuki theatre story Shinju used mime and dance, both traditional Japanese and modern western with Canadian actors on stage. In May 2011, she produced and performed a dance work “Identity-Ancestral Memory” in collaboration with Jay Hirabayashi (Kokoro Dance) at the Revue Stage on Granville Island in Vancouver.

A life long dream to present a Greek tragedy in Noh-theatre style let to Yayoi’s collaboration with director Peter Hall of Mortal Coil to produce Medea/Rokujo in Nov.2013 at the Orpheum Theatre Annex.

In September 2014, Yayoi received a Canada Council Grant for Dance Professionals to research Japanese dance forms and history pre Noh theatre and Kabuki from 800 to 1800. She spent October & November in Japan doing her research.

March 2017, produced and performed OKUNI-Mother of Kabuki at Studio 1398 Collaborate with the Gershwin’s music by Sara Davis Buechner.

Then in June 1st Yayoi was a guest performer at pianist Sara Davis Buechner’s concert at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Centre New York). Her program was 10 short movement pieces for Jacques Ibert’s Stories using her Noh style masks. A New York Times review was very positive. The same program was repeated in April 2018 at Freer Gallery of Art (Smithsonian Museum) Washington D.C, in May at Wentworth Villa Victoria BC and in July at the “Orford Music Festival” near Montreal.

Yayoi began work on “Comedia” with Marina Hasselberg in 2018. In November 2018 and in May 2019 work in progress performance were held at Visual Space in Vancouver. The final “Comedia 2020” was at The Dance Centre on Feb. 21 / 22 2020.

She has also worked as a movement coach for Vancouver Opera’s “Madama Butterfly”, Mortal Coil’s and Carousel Theatre.

Since 2011 Yayoi and her company have participated in the Canada Day Parade presenting a traditional Japanese festival dance “Vancouver Ondo” with over 200 dancers.


2002 Experimental and a Vanguard Art Award from Annual Prize of the Union of Bulgarian Actors for “The Daughter of the Snow”


NY Times June 3 edition
Review: Japan Meets France, Through a Pianist’s Sensitivity

As forms of wordless storytelling, mime and music are sister arts that rarely share a stage. Yet they came together on Thursday evening at Weill Recital Hall. There, the pianist Sara Davis Buechner was joined by the mime dancer Yayoi Hirano in a performance of Jacques Ibert’s “Histoires” in which the addition of spare, precise movements and Noh-style masks deepened the music’s mystery and whimsy.
Ibert’s 10 “Histoires” (“Stories”) for solo piano were written between 1912 and 1922. They are like pages from an artist’s sketchbook, with movement titles like “The Old Beggar,” “The Crystal Cage” and “Little White Donkey.” The music reflects both the influence of Impressionism and Ibert’s background as a silent-movie pianist.
Using a different sculpted mask for each of the miniatures, Ms. Hirano accompanied Ms. Buechner with gracefully stylized pantomimes. While her fluid gestures brought to life the tableaus evoked by Ibert, she also seemed to trap them in a point midway between playful revelation and cool enigma, seeming even to comment on the limits of music’s representational powers.

Major Original Work

  • Yayoi Dojoji
  • Divine Commedia
  • Bolero
  • Earth celebration
  • Mask
  • Shinju
  • Scene Z
  • Mothers
  • Medea-Rokujo
  • OKUNI-Mother of Kabuki

Recent Works

March 2016 Performed Hiku-mime for Cherry Jam at Burrard Station Stage
March 2016 Voice Over in “Bon Bon Fire”
Nov 2016 Performed at Vancouver Art Gallery for Between Object and Action/ Family Fuse
Nov 2015 Danced in the short film “Aiko”
Aug 2015 Performed for Benefit Concert at at VGH and Ladner
July 2015 Performed “Poemime” at VisualSpace in Vancouver
July 2015 Performed “Vancouver Ondo” for Canada day Parade in Downtown
June 2015 Performed “Asobi-wo-sentoya” at VisualSpace in Vancouver
April 2014 Participated in The 24 hours Shakespeare project
April 2014 Performed at the Cherry Blossom Festival Cherry Jam Downtown at Burrard Station
Mar – April 2014 Movement consultant/Production Dramaturg for the Carousel Theatre “Wondrous Tales of Old Japan”
Nov 2013 Co-directed and performed “Medea –Rokujo” at Orpheum Annex Theatre Vancouver
July 2013 Directed and Performed “ The Restaurant of Many Orders for YOUR CONTINENT Fes in
July 2013 Pechakucha Night at Richmond Cultural Centre
July 2013 Performed “Vancouver Ondo” for Canada day Parade in Downtown
June 2013 Performed “Rokujo” “Multicultural Heritage Music & Movement”
April 2013 Performed “Vancouver Ondo” at Sakura days VanDusen Garden
March 2013 Performed “ Wild Woman” at Anime Evolution in Douglas College
Aug 2012 Performed “Kenji Miyazawa-Music and Movement” for Powell Street Festival
June 2012 Performed “Rokujo” for “Multicultural Heritage Music & Movement”
March 2012 Performed “March 11, 2011” with flutist Chieko Konishi for Fundraiser “One Year Later”
Feb 2012 Performed “March 11, 2011” with flutist Chieko Konishi for Fund Raiser “Changing Tides”
Jan 2012 Performed “Bolero” with Pianist Sara Davis Buechner at Living with Hiroshima
Sep 2011 Performed “Izutsu” for We Love Vancouver Festival
Aug 2011 Worked as a movement coach for “Salmon Row” Mortal Coil Performance Society
July 2011 Performed “The restaurant of Many Orders” for Powell Street Festival
May 2011 Produced and Performed “Identity- Ancestral Memory” at Revue Stage on Granville Island
April 2011 Performed “Requiem” with Sara Davis Buechner for Gala Fund-Raising Concert
March 2011 Performed “Izutsu” for Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
Nov 2010 Performed “Izustu” for Canada-Japan Society of BC
Nov 2010 Performed “Butterfly Magic” for Burnaby Gogos
Oct 2010 Performed “Commercial Songs from Around the World” in Qualicum Beach
Sep 2010 Performed “Izustu” at Pendulum Gallery Vancouver for “Yukiko Onley exhibition”
May 2010 Worked as a Movement Coach for “Madama Butterfly”, Vancouver Opera
April 2010 Produced and Performed “Identity-Ancestral Memory” Working on Progress at Centre A
April 2010 Performed “Butterfly Magic”for the Art Auction National Nikkei Museum & Heritage centre
Feb-March 2010 Performed at Olympic and Paralympic Event
Oct 2009 Performed in “Gauche the Cellist” in Qualicum Beach Vancouver Island
Sep 2009 Performed “Butterfly Magic” for Chamber Choir Fundraiser
Sep 2009 Performed in “Alms” at the Vancouver International Fringe Festival
June 2009 Performed “Butterfly Magic” for Choir Leoni Men’s Choir at Bard on the Beach
Oct-Nov 2008 New Work “Shinju” at the Performance Works
Aug 2008 Performed for the Powell Festival “Stories” with Sara Davis Buechner at Firehall Arts Centre
July 2008 Performed at the Chinatown Arts & Cultural Festival 2008 in Vancouver
May-June 2008 Performed in “The Life of Paper” at Roundhouse Performance Centre Vancouver
Dec 2007 “Departure” for “!2Min. Max XXXIV” at the Firehall Arts Centre Vancouver
Sep 2007 “Stories” with Sara Davis Buechner in Qualicum Beach BC
Sep 2007 “Four Seasons” at “InFringing Dance Festival” in Nanaimo
May 2007 Role of “a Mother & Grandmother” in ” Okazu” Sea of stories at Gateway Theatre
Mar-April 2007 “Mothers” at the Waterfront theatre as a part of VIDF
Sep 2006 “Sumida-river” at VECC for Mosaic Festival
July 2006 Koken for Canadian Noh Play “The Gull” produced by Pangaea Arts
Jan 2006 Solo show “Four Seasons” in Grande Prairie AB for 2006 G P LT
Oct 2005 Solo Show ” Celebration of Life – Four Seasons” at the Scotia Bank Dance Centre
June 2005 Solo show “UZUME” at Red Strap Market for The Works Fe in Edmonton
May 2005 Solo show “UZUME” at UBC for Asian Library Open House
April 2005 Solo show ” Snow Woman” for Cherry Blossom Fes. at Sunrise Pavilion
Jan 2005 Solo mime “Mime for the Kids” Children’s Festival in Whitehorse
April 2004 Solo show “Rondo” at UBC for Asian Library Open House
May 2004 Solo show “Rondo” at Roundhouse Theatre for Explor Asian
Nov 2003 Solo show “Mask” at Round House Theatre for Dance All Sorts in Van.
June 2003 Participated in the Charity Concert at UBC Recital Hall with “Bolero”
May 2003 Solo show “Rondo” for Vancouver International Children’s Festival
Mar 2003 Solo show ” Mask” at UBC Robson Square theatre in Vancouver
Feb 2003 Solo show “Rondo” for Pre Olympic Cultural Celebration Event
Jan 2003 Participated in “UBC Year of Japan” Art Exhibition
Nov-Dec 2002 Mask exhibition at Centre A in Vancouver
Oct 2002 Solo show ” Mask” at Centre A in Vancouver
July-Aug 2002 Directed & performed ensemble show “Wind’s Traveler” at Winnipeg, Saskatoon Swift Current, Edmonton Fringe Festivals
June 2002 Solo show “Mask” in Tokyo Japan at Umewaka-Noh-theatre
Jan 2002 “Wind’s Traveler” ensemble movement performance in Tokyo
Feb 2002 Solo show “Sumida-river” in Tokyo
Mar 2001 Nana Bush in “Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing” at Theatre X in Tokyo
July 2001 Collaboration work with RAKUDO dance company in Tokyo
July-Aug 2001 Collaboration work with N. Sotirov “Daughter of Snow”at Military Club in Sofia Bulgaria, Kyoto and Tokyo in Japan
Aug-Nov 2001 “A Human Nature” Collaboration work with RAKUDO at the Fringe Festival in Edmonton, Victoria, Vancouver and in Tokyo.
June 2000 “Happy Days” by S. Beckett at Ginza Miyukikan-Theatre
July 2000 “Opera Gala – mime & tenor” with Jin Young Zhe in Tokyo
Sept 2000 “UZUME” at Ebina-City Culture Center in Japan
June-July 1999 “KUROZUKA” at Drama Theatre for European Culture Month 1999 in Plovdiv Bulgaria and Tokyo
Mar 1998 Exhibition and performance of Masks in New York, USA
April 1998 Collaboration work “La Commedia Devine” with Hlina Witek at Theatre Het Klein in Eindhoven, Holland
May 1998 Solo show “Bolero” at Theatre Het Klein in Eindhoven, Holland, Muzeum Historyczne in Wroclaw, Poland, House of Culture Sredezm, in Sofia, Bulgaria
May 1998 Solo show “UZUME” at Chunchon International Mime Festival, in South Korea
June 1998 Solo show “Bolero” at Singapore Festival of Arts
Nov 1998 Solo show “UZUME” at UPS studio in Tokyo
April 1997 Collaboration work “Blaubarrd” with Halina Witek at Theatre Het Klein
Nov 1997 Solo show “Bolero” with full orchestra in Tokyo
Sept-Oct 1996 Solo show “UZUME” at Theater Het Klein in Eindhoven, Hollandat at Hackesches Hof-Theatre in Berlin, at Japanese Culture Center in Koln, Germany, at international mime festival in Blatislava Slovakia, Millennium Festival at Theater Brett in Wien, Austria Hungary 1102 Festival at Mu-theatre in Budapest, Japanese Culture Week at Ivan Bazov National Theater in Sofia
Oct 1996 Solo show “UZUME” at Umewaka Noh-theatre in Tokyo
June 1995 Collaboration work with Courtney Milne “The Sacred Earth” in Tokyo, Japan
Oct 1995 “Divine Commedia” at Sogetsu-theatre in Tokyo, Japan
Feb 1994 Solo show “Dojoji” at Kokubunnji-City Culture Center in Tokyo, Japan
May 1994 Solo show “Scene Z” at Off Festival in New York, USA
June 1994 Solo show “Scene Z” at the Fringe Festival in Montreal, Canada
June 1994 Solo show “Scene Z” at Minnesota Fringe Festival in Minneapolis, USA
July 1994 Solo show “Scene Z” at the Fringe Festival in Toronto and Saskatoon, Canada
Aug 1994 Solo show “Scene Z” at the Fringe Festival in Edmonton, Canada
Dec 1995 “The Little Match Girl” in Tokyo, Japan
July 1993 Solo show “Dojoji” at the Fringe Festival in Winnipeg and Saskatoon, Canada
Aug 1993 Solo show “Dojoji” at the Fringe Festival in Edmonton, Canada
Aug 1993 Solo show “Dojoji” at the Fringe Festival in Victoria, Canada
Oct 1993 Solo show “Dojoji” at the National Culture Festival in Tokyo, Japan
Feb 1992 Solo show “Fire” at studio ams in Tokyo, Japan
June 1992 “Magical Imagination” at Sogetsu-theater in Tokyo, Japan
July 1992 Solo show “Earth Celebration” at the Fringe Festival in Winnipeg and Saskatoon, Canada
Aug 1992 Solo show “Earth Celebration” at the Fringe Festival in Edmonton, Canada
Aug 1992 Solo show “Earth Celebration” at Carlton University in Ottawa/Vancouver/Victoria, Canada

Major Recent Choreographs and/or Movement coaches

2014 “Wondrous Tales of Old Japan” for the Carousel Theatre as Movement Consultant/Production Dramaturg
2013 “Medea-Rokujo” (YTM)
2012 “Vancouver Ondo” for Downtown Canada Day Parade
2011 “Salmon Row” for Mortal Coil Performance Society
2011 “Identity-Ancestral memory”(YTM)
2010 “Madama Butterfly” for Vancouver Opera
2009 “Alms” for Airplank Theatre
2008 “Shinju” (YTM)
2007 “Mothers”(YTM)

Teaching, Workshop, Lecture Experience

2015 April     Lecture at VisualSpace for “ Noh-theatre and Kabuki”

2015 March   Lecture at VisualSpace for “ Gagaku, Kagura”

2015 Feb       Lecture at Nikkei Place for “Japanese Performing Arts before Kabuki”

2015 Feb       Lecture at VisualSpace for Japanese Performing Arts before Kabuki

April 2014 Workshop presentation for West Vancouver Secondary School, Sentinel Secondary School
April 2014 Lecture and demonstration for AIR Series 67 at Salon Keiko’s
2014 “Wondrous Tales of Old Japan” for the Carousel Theatre as Movement Consultant/ Production Dramaturg

Education and Grants

2014        Grant from Canada Council for “Research Japanese performing arts from 800 to 1800 in Japan” in Oct. to Dec 2014, studied Gagaku music and Dance, Kagura, and history.

2012 Grant from Canada Council, BC Arts Council, City of Vancouver, Vancouver Foundation, The Hamber foundation, NAJC for “Medea- 六条”
2011 Grant from City of Vancouver 125 years anniversary for “Identity-Ancestral Memory”
2009-2013 Lecture demonstration at Colombia Collage
2010 Grant from BC Arts Council for “Identity-Ancestral Memory”
2010 Grant from City of Vancouver for “Identity-Ancestral Memory”
2009 Grant from Canada Council for “Identity-Ancestral Memory”
2009 Grant from BC Arts Council for “Identity-Ancestral Memory”
2009 Grant from NAJC for “Identity-Ancestral Memory”
2007 Grant from BC Arts Council for “Shinju”
2007 Grant from City of Vancouver for “Shinju”
2007 Grant from Granville Island Cultural Society for “Shinju”
2007 Grant from NAJC for “Shinju”
2006 Grant from City of Vancouver for “Mothers”
2006 Grant from Granville Island Cultural Society for “Mothers”
1998 Grant from Japan Foundation for the world tour of solo show “Bolero”
1996 Grant from Japan Foundation for the European tour of solo show “Uzume”
1994 Grant from Japan Foundation for the Canadian tour of solo show “Scene Z”
1994 Jacques Lecoq (Movement Mime)
1993 Grant from Ministry of Education for the show – “Dojoji”
1993 Kazuo Ohno (Butoh), Hideo Kanze (Noh- Theatre Dance)
1990 Jane Henderson (Clown) in Edmonton Canada
1990 Peter Baumgart (Ensemble Mime) in Berlin Germany
1989 – 1990 Gizela Peters (dance technique of Kurt Joorss) in Koln Germany
1989 – 1990 Milan Sladek (Mime) in Koln Germany
1989 – 1990 A Member of Japanese Governmental Grant for Artists
1988 Rubi Shang, Betty Jones modern dance of summer class
1987 Yuriko Kimura (Graham technique) summer class
1986 Grant from Japan Foundation for the North American tour of Pierrot-kan
1986 – 1993 Takeko Sudo Japanese Ancient Dance, Classic Ballet from Michel Decamp
1982 – 1988 Hiroko-Izumida Ballet School (Modern dance)
1972 – 1973 Hanayagi Japanese Kabuki dance
1972 Graduated from Toho Gakuen College of Drama


2013 “Medea Rokujo” with Peter Hall, Sara Davis Buechner and Paraskevas Terezakis
2010-2011 “Identity- Ancestral Memory” with Jay Hirabayashi
2008 “Shinju” with Sara Davis Buechner and Manami Hara
2008 “Life of Paper” with Pangaea Arts
2007 “Stories” with Pianist Sara Davis Buechner
2001 “Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing” with Jocelyne Montpetit
2001 “Daughter of Snow” with Bulgarian artist, Nicky Sotirov
2001 “A Human Nature” with dance troop, Rakudo
2000 “Happy Days” with Bulgarian Director, Dimiter Stefanov
2000 “Carmen” with Chinese Opera Tenor, Jin Young Zhe
1998 “Divine Commedia” with Halina Witek
1997 “Blaubaad” with Artistic Director Halina Witek in Holland,
1997 “Bolero” with Fuchu City Orchestra
1996 “UZUME” with Japanese Jazz Trumpet player, Terumasa Hino
1995 “The Sacred Earth” Canadian Photographer, Courtney Milne
1994 “Scene Z ” with Artistic Director of Fools Company in NY, M. Russell
1993 “Dojoji” with Taiko troop “Musashikokufu-taiko”
1992 “Magical Imagination” with Asuka Strings

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