French Embassy in Japan Award -

Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels

the stairs of a concrete building

In 2023, Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels is supporting the French Embassy in Japan Award - Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels for young choreographers, presented at the Yokohama Dance Collection Festival.

The Yokohama Dance Collection program was inaugurated in 1996 with a view to creating an international dance platform in Japan. Open to the public and organized mainly at the Yokohama Redbrick Warehouse Number 1, it consists of two competitions (I and II) bringing together young choreographers, along with a program of performances featuring prior winners and foreign dance troupes selected through international exchange initiatives.

As part of Competition I, in which nearly 100 young international choreographers perform before a jury of Japanese professionals, the French Embassy in Japan has recognized one young choreographer per year since 2000. The winner receives a scholarship for a residence in France, in collaboration with a national choreographic institute. Since 2018, the Embassy has partnered with the Centre National de la Danse in Pantin (“CND”), offering each annual award recipient the chance to participate in CND’s Camping program.

Photo : © Marc Domage

Group photo of the Yokohama Dance Collection december2023
01 / 05 — Yokohama Dance Collection December 2023 © Sugawara Kota
Yokohama Dance Collection group photo 2022
02 / 05 — Yokohama Dance Collection 2022 © Sugawara Kota
Yokohama Dance Collection group photo December 2021
03 / 05 — Yokohama Dance Collection December 2021 © Sugawara Kota
Yokohama Dance Collection group photo February2021
04 / 05 — Yokohama Dance Collection February 2021 © Sugawara Kota
Yokohama Dance Collection group photo 2019
05 / 05 — Yokohama Dance Collection 2019 ©Yoichi Tsukada

Laureate 2023

Portrait of Yoko Omori

Yoko Omori

Yoko Omori is a graduate of the Japan Women’s College of Physical Education. Trained in both classical and urban dance, Omori emphasizes originality in movement, choreography, and her own approach to sound. Whether in her solo projects or group pieces, she has developed a unique style that blends different genres. She has received awards such as Outstanding New Artist at Yokohama Dance Collection in 2019 and Best Dancer at its 2021 edition, as well as second prize at Danse élargie in Paris in 2022.

Her group piece Help was presented in five locations in Japan and around the world, and her solo piece PLAIN-chain was shown in Italy and France in 2023.


Photo: © Honoka Tamura

Laureates 2022

black and white portray of the duo

Ayaka Ono and Akira Nakazawa

Ayaka Ono and Akira Nakazawa constitute the performing arts collective entitled "Ayaka Ono Akira Nakazawa Spacenotblank", formed in 2012. They seek to develop new protocols and mechanisms for performing arts, attempting to break away from preconceived ideas about the performing arts.

They actively collaborate with different artists for each work, with a creative process that pays special attention to communicating with their environment.

They won the Grand Prix at the Senegawa Theater competition in 2017, and second place for best director at the Toga Theater competition in 2019. They are the 2020 winners of the Rohm Theatre Kyoto and Kyoto Art Center U35 creative support program "KIPPU" and 2021 winners of the “&21” call for projects at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa.

Photo : © Dan Åke Carlsson

Laureate December 2021

Portrait of Ayane Nakagawa, chest shot

Ayane Nakagawa

A director, choreographer, and dancer, Ayane Nakagawa has a diverse background in classical dance, including ballet and Japanese traditional dance, as well as street dance. She majored in theater at the J. F. Oberlin University, where she founded the <Suichu-megane∞> dance company in 2011 and began presenting choreographed works. Her work has drawn attention for its exploration of the relationship between the individual and society, historical perspectives that have settled deep in the body, and fearless expression of taboos. She was selected as a finalist in the 2017 YDC Competition II and the 2018 Competition I. In December 2021, she performed “my choice, my body,” which earned her both the Jury Prize and the Prize of the French Embassy in Japan – Dance Reflections by Van Cleef & Arpels, for young choreographers at the Competition I. Ayane Nakagawa is highly regarded for her choreography and direction which encompass a diverse array of dance and theatrical perspectives. 

Photo : © DR

Laureate February 2021

Portrait of Yu Okamoto with a red bomber jacket and black beret, cowboy shot

Yu Okamoto

Tokyo-based dancer and choreographer Yu Okamoto was born in 1988. She studied classical dance from her earliest childhood, alongside modern jazz, urban dance and tap dance. She has worked with a number of choreographers, including Akira Kasai, Kuniko Kisanuki, Ryohei Kondo and others, as well as directors such as Toshiki Okada. Ms. Okamoto heads the TABATHA dance troupe, which she founded in 2011. A recipient of many awards, she also stood out as a finalist for the 2012 Toyota Choreography Award.

Photo: ©Bozzo

Laureate 2019

Portrait of Miwa Shibata in a black blazer, cowboy shot

Miwa Shibata

Dancer and choreographer Miwa Shibata graduated from the University of Nihon College of Art in 2019. She worked with choreographer Saori Nishi, director of the Kuki dance troupe, as lead dancer from 2019 to 2021. Oblivion, a creation dealing with social issues such as parental negligence, has been reprised three times since its debut in 2019. The work also won the 2021 French Embassy in Japan Award in the context of the Yokohama Dance Collection. Miwa Shibata was selected as artist in residence at DaBY and Session House in 2021.

Photo: © DR