Yayoi Hirano

Born and raised in Japan, Yayoi has lived in Vancouver since 2002. She is a graduate of Toho Gakuen College of drama (1972), and in 1975 co-founded Mime Theatre Pierrot-kan to popularize pantomime in Japan through modern works. Over the past 30 years she has continued her study of Japanese dance and movement such as Kagura, Noh, Kyogen, Kabuki-dance as well as western dance both classic ballet and modern dance. Her mime study has been in both Decroux and Lecoq system. Very early in her career she has had a passion for teaching mime, dance and movement. In 1989, she became the first mime artist to receive the Japanese Ministry of Education Fellowship, and spent a year studying with mime by Milan Sladek in Germany and dance with Maria Formolo and clowning Jan Henderson in Canada. In 1990, she founded YAYOI Theatre Movement.

Her international performances include festival appearances in Germany, Slovakia and 7 other European countries numerous Asian tours as well as five North American (US and Canada) tours. Her collaboration work with international artists include work with Canadian photographer Courtny Milne(1995), Japanese Jazz musician Terumasa Hino(1996), Halina Witek ( Holland 1997 ,1998). For her collaboration with Bulgarian actor Nikolai Sotirov in both Japan and Bulgaria, she was given the Bulgarian Experimental and Avant-garde Performance Art Award in 2001. Yayoi’s career as a mask carver began 1996 under the mentorship of Noh-mask Master  Fujimori. Since then she has created 17 unique Noh-style masks which have all been used in various performances. Yayoi relocated to Vancouver from Tokyo in 2002. In 2005 Yayoi created a new solo work Four Seasons debuted in October at the Scotia Bank Dance Centre. In 2007 she collaborated with musician/composer Wendy Bross Stuart to create Mothers. 2008, she performed in Pangaea.Arts “Life of Paper”, presented an original Stories with pianist Sara Davis Buechner. Also she co-created and produced Shinju with fellow Japanese Canadian actor Manami Hara. Interpreting a traditional Kabuki theatre story used mime and dance.

May 2011, she produced and performed a dance work Identity-Ancestral Memory in collaboration with Jay Hirabayashi (Kokoro Dance) at the Revue Stage on Granville Island in Vancouver. 2013, YTM produced Medea-Rokujo, combining Noh-style wooden masks, Noh-theatre chant, classic piano, two puppeteers, mime, dance and theatre in November at Vancouver Orpheum Annex Theatre. 2014, she received Research grant from Canada Council to study traditional Japanese dance forms Gagaku and Miko-mai for 2month. March 2017, produced and performed OKUNI-Mother of Kabuki at Studio 1398. Then in June 1st Yayoi was a guest performer at pianist Sara Davis Buechner’s concert at Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Centre New York). Her program was 10 short movement pieces for Jacques Ibert’s Stories using her Noh style masks.

A New York Times review was very positive. The same program was repeated in April 2018 at Freer Gallery of Art (Smithsonian Museum) Washington D.C, in May at Wentworth Villa Victoria BC and in July at the  “Orford Music Festival” near Montreal. From 2018 November Yayoi worked with Cellist Marina Hasselberg to create “Comedia’ and 2020 Feb. at the Scotia Bank Dance Centre, Yayoi and Marina performed final work “Commedia 2020”. She has also worked as a movement coach for Vancouver Opera, Mortal Coil’s and Carousel Theatre. A review in the New York Times on June 3rd 2017 of a performance with pianist Sara Davis Buechner, Jacques Ibert’s “Stories” Using a different sculpted mask for each of the miniatures, Ms. Hirano accompanied Ms. Buechner with gracefully stylized pantomimes. While her fluid gestures brought to life the tableaus evoked by Ibert, she also seemed to trap them in a point midway between playful revelation and cool enigma, seeming even to comment on the limits of music’s representational powers.