Tokunaga Dance Ko.

Emiko Tokunaga        

Emiko is Co-artistic Director of the NY-based Tokunaga Dance Ko. (TDK).  She resigned as Artistic Director of Summer Dance, academic advisor, and modern dance faculty instructor at The Boston Conservatory (TBC) in May 2011.  She was formerly the Radcliffe Dance Program Coordinator at Harvard and Radcliffe.  TDK recently published her authorized biography:  Yuriko—To Wash in the Rain and Polish with the Wind.

At The Boston Conservatory (TBC), after a 10 year hiatus, in 1998, she reinstituted the Summer Dance program, attracted students nationally and internationally, and employed a world-class faculty to teach ballet, modern, styles, and choreography, as well as established three lecture series Faculty Dance Traditions—we are what we were, Dance Dialoguesand Dance Forums, for students to learn about their faculty and other similarities/differences found in movement arts throughout the world.  TBC Dance Theater premiered her choreography:  The Bridge, Hanayagi, Gaman (based on the Japanese American women’s experience), and Narrow Interior Roads.  She also was the resident costume designer and collaborated with Seán Curran, Laszlo Berdo, Peter Anastos, Daniel Pelzig, Donald Byrd, Thang Dao, among others—as well as adapted the original design for José Limón’s Concerto Grosso and Psalm (staged by Jennifer Scanlon),  Martha Graham’s Night Journey (staged by Yuriko), Bournonville’s Napoli (staged by Laura Young), and Anna Sokolow’s Dream in Magritte, Magritte (staged by Jimmy May).  In 2003 and 2008, she received the Outstanding Faculty Award, by the Student Government Association.

At Harvard University, she was Resident Fellow in the Administrative Fellowship Program ’95-96, guest speaker at the Center for the Study of World Religions on Japanese Culture through Dance –history and comparison with Americaat Radcliffe College was the first speaker for the arts at the 10th Annual Women’s Leadership Project.  As Radcliffe Dance Program coordinator, she developed the student indices, directed the semi-annual Dance Summit to include all movement arts on campus (17 clubs), increased enrollment to over 300 students (not including club enrollments), interviewed potential students interested in dance for the Office of Admissions (including Chelsea Clinton), hosted dance guest artists on campus, and administered the dance office.   

Emiko published articles in Dance Magazine, Attitude, Dance Teacher, 
Radcliffe News, Career 
 (6th grade math textbook by Houghton
Mifflin), among others.  As a multi-cultural facilitator, produced 15  
Celebrate Asian Festivals for the NY and Queens Botanical 
As an educator, she taught and lectured in over 40 institutions.  As a cultural anthropologist, she is a protégé of the late doyenne of African dance, Pearl 
Primus.  As a choreographer, she created over 60 dances and a dozen

She apprenticed with her late mother, Utako Tokunaga, an haute couture
designer in the French tradition.  Together they designed and executed
costumes for the TDK, which includes a repertory of over 100 works, 2,000 performances, and more than a dozen productions.  She is a member of the
Couture Council at the Fashion Institute of Technology. 

She has written America-no-Itohan/Princess from America—an Haute            Couture’s Cinderella Story (a biography about Utako’s life), and is currently
writing a book on fashion.

Her lectures include Princeton University, Sarah Lawrence College,
Emerson College, MIT, NY Japan Society, and NYU-Gallatin Division. 
She designs formal wear for special clients and friends.  


Photo credit:  Liz Linder
Photo Credit:  James Reid Stephens