Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks in “Hey Women”

On Saturday, October 9, toward evening, in La Plaza Cultural, near the southwest corner of 9th Street and Avenue C, Yoshiko Chuma and The School of Hard Knocks performed a dance piece called “Hey Women” that used the ensemble in solos, duets, trios as well as a group. The piece was intricate, but brought me along in its footsteps. In an open space like La Plaza, the passersby and street sounds become part of the piece. And the audience too does its own pas de deux.

I have been watching Yoshiko Chuma perform in the East Village, often at Saint Mark’s Church, since the late 1970s, around the time I arrived to make my home here. La Plaza Cultural, it occurs to me, has been here since the 1970s too, created out of rubble strewn abandoned city lots in 1976 by some of the Latino youth in the community. The seats in the amphitheater back then were made of railroad ties. Those ties rotted by the early 90s, and were replaced by stone. Of course, strong ties remain.

I planted myself on the second tier of the amphitheater and, once the audience was settled, did not move. The Vimeo below is from my point of view. I wish my camera work were smoother, but I am pleased to bring you this engaging piece in one piece from beginning to end. Enjoy.





Yoshiko Chuma. Photo by Ijima Takeshi, 2017



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