Ayako Kato is an award winning Chicago-based dancer and choreographer, originally from Yokohama, Japan. For Ayako, dance creation and performance are not separate. As a choreographer, she utilizes composition, improvisation, and everything-in-between by following the nature of the work. Influenced by a Japanese view of nature and the philosophy of Tao, Ayako makes dance that enhances the audience’s sensibility of “the beauty of being as it is,” inspired by the traditional Japanese aesthetic of “furyu," or literally, wind flow.
Since 1998, Ayako has been artistic director of Ayako Kato/Art Union Humanscape (AUH) and has presented her works extensively in the United States, Japan, and Europe. Recent venues/festivals include 3Klang Tage, Zug, Switzerland; DOEK International Festival 2016: Amsterdam - Berlin - Chicago; the International Festival of Arts and Ideas, New Haven; Tabito Art Meeting Festival, Fukushima; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; SpinOff Festival (DCASE); Pivot Arts Festival; and Links Hall/Constellation. In Summer 2016, Ayako participated in the Regional Dance Development Initiative of the National Dance Project, supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts and Chicago Dancemakers Forum. Her group work The Incidents was selected as the Best of Dance 2014 in the Chicago Tribune. She is a recipient of the Sponsored Artist Program at High Concept Laboratories (2016); Chicago-Lucerne Artist Exchange (2014); LinkUP Artist Residency at Links Hall (2014); Chicago Moving Company at Artist-in-Residence (since 2010), and Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist (2007).
Ayako’s dance elevates the audience’s awareness to recognize the glowing, ephemeral beauty of being and gravity in themselves and others. It encourages perception of the intangible, or furyu. It affirms and nurtures the dignity of life.
On April 21-22, 2017 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago's Millennium Park, Ayako presents the world premiere of blue fish, a new solo contemporary dance performance coinciding with the worldwide celebration of Earth Day. Evoking a sense of hope, blue fish explores the possibility for equilibrium, embracing both stillness and chaos as the paths for transformation when we recognize that we are nature itself.