Ayako Kato is a Japanese-native and Chicago-based dancer, choreographer, and improviser. She has been an artistic director of Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape since 1998 and presented her work in Europe, Japan, and the United States. In 2017, she was selected for a Links Hall Co-MISSION Fellowship and a 3Arts Residency Fellowship to work at Camargo Foundation in the summer of 2018. In 2016, she received a 3Arts Award in Dance, Meier Achievement Award, and was named Top 5 Choreographers of Chicago by Newcity Stage. In January 2016, the New England Foundation for the Arts, together with the Chicago Dancemakers Forum (CDF), selected Ayako as one of 12 artists for the Regional Dance Development Initiative (RDDI) of its National Dance Project (NDP).
Influenced by a Japanese view of nature and the philosophy of Tao, Ayako's ongoing practice is to embody the intangible, the beauty of being as it is, as “The Way” of nature through movement. She performed her works recently at venues/festivals such as 3Klang Tage, Switzerland; DOEK Festival, Amsterdam; Tabito Arts Meeting Festival in Fukushima, Japan; the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven, CT; the Art Institute of Chicago; DeBArtolo Performing Arts Center, University of Notre Dame; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; SpinOff Festival; Pivot Arts Festival; Jay Pritzker Pavilion; Links Hall; and Constellation in Chicago. Her group work The Incidents was selected for the Best of Dance 2014 by the Chicago Tribune.