Kaori Ito

Kaori Ito

Kaori Ito

Steeped in Japanese culture and trained as a dancer in the West, Kaori Ito developed a hybrid and unique vocabulary that’s very much like her. At the junction of cultures and languages, she’s interested in the unsaid and the invisible. Close to Tanztheater, she grounds her work in her life story and that of the performers to prompt an intimate need to be on stage. Relying on the intelligence of the body, she seeks immediacy and instinct as the mainspring of action. From essential themes such as taboos, the end of the world, death, love, loneliness, she generates raw and spontaneous texts. These blunt, sharp words trigger the necessary, swift and wild movement she’s looking for. She shapes a body that gets empty to receive the emotions of the audience. This allows her to access a textual and choreographic vocabulary emerging from the inside and questioning us about our animality and our humanity.


“What I strive for in my work is to animate space. I try to give life to the empty space around me. It is somehow like the approach of a puppeteer. There is something interesting in the idea of manipulation. I try to discover who is pulling the strings, which element attracts the other… There is a sort of continuous spiral in which we don’t know who does what, and that’s what is interesting. I try to totally empty myself, so that people can project things. I’m not trying to guide them. I believe that it’s not my brain thinking when I dance, it’s my body expressing itself. So I’ll try not to convey a message that’s too intellectual.”


“Theatre is a confession, every night it is life that begins and ends.”


2020 Dears
with Marvin Clech, Jon Debande, Nicolas Garsault, Louis Gillard, Delphine Lanson, Leonore Zurfluh
Creation at KLAP Maison pour la danse in Marseille
in October 2020

2020 The Silk Drum
With Yoshi Oïda and Makoto Yabuki / Text by Jean-Claude Carrière
Executive production by the Maison de la Culture d’Amiens
Creation for the 2020 Avignon Festival

2019 Wachtraum (Daydream)
Commission from the Chemnitz Ballet as part of France Dance Germany

2018 Is it worth to save us?
Duet with Miraï Moriyama
Creation at KAAT in Kanagawa Japan as part of Japonismes 2018

2018 Robot, eternal love
Solo by Kaori Ito
Creation at KLAP Maison pour la danse in Marseille

2017 Fire me up
Spoken and danced confidences by Kaori Ito and Théo Touvet
Creation for the Antigel festival in Geneva

2016 ¿Puedo Flotar?
Commission from the BANCH Chilean National Ballet

2015 Je danse parce que je me méfie des mots
Duet with her father

2013 Asobi
Commission from the Ballets C de la B – Alain Platel

2010 Island of no memories
Creation for the (Re)connaissance contest, first place.
This show was chosen for the Modul-Dance program by the EDN (European Dance Network)

2009 Solos
Creation at the Théâtre Le Merlan – scène nationale de Marseille
Recreation at the Lyon 2012 biennial

2008 Noctiluque
Creation at the Théâtre de Vidy- Lausanne


2014 La religieuse à la fraise
with Olivier Martin-Salvan
as part of Sujets à vif of the Avignon Festival

2012 Plexus
by Aurélien Bory for Kaori Ito


2004 Carbon Monoxide
This film was screened at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and at several festivals in the US.

2006  Niccolini
With James Thiérée, Damien Jalet and Niklas Ek

2006 The sea is calm
with Zaratiana Randriananatenalina

From the age of five, Kaori studied classical ballet under Takagi Syuntoku in Tokyo. At eighteen years old, she launched her professional career as a dancer and choreographer and was declared by Ryouichi Enomoto to be “the best young dancer and choreographer” at the ST spot, Yokohama (1998).  At the age of twenty, she moved to New York to integrate the dance department of the Purchase College where she studied the Graham, Cunningham, Limon, and Horton techniques. After returning to Tokyo she graduated in sociology in 2003. The same year she got a grant to go back to New York as part of the Japanese Government’s Program of Overseas Studies for Artists and studied at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.

Kaori Ito worked with Philippe Decouflé, Angelin Preljocaj, Alain Platel, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and James Thierrée before embarking on her own choreographic adventure in collaboration with Aurélien Bory, Olivier Martin-Salvan, and also with her own company. As a polymorphic artist she produces videos, paintings and regularly collaborates in theatre and cinema with Edouard Baer, Denis Podalydès and Alejandro Jodorowsky. In 2015, She received the SACD prize Nouveau talent chorégraphie and was named chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres.



2012 Out of context for Pina
by Alain Platel

2009 House of the sleeping beauties
Opera by Guy Cassiers, Kris Defoort, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

2007 Au revoir Parapluie
by James Thierrée – collaboration with him on Raoul and Tabac Rouge

2005 The four Seasons
by Angelin Preljocaj – joins the Preljocaj Ballet (Centre Chorégraphique National d’Aix-en-Provence)

2003 – 2005  Iris
by Philippe Découflé – leading role



2018 Luz by Flora Lau
with Isabelle Huppert

2015 Ouvert la nuit by Edouard Baer
Released in January 2017

2015 La Poesia sin fin by Alejandro Jodorowsky
Realeased for the Directors’ Fortnight (la Quinzaine des réalisateurs) in Cannes 2016

2015 Douanier Rousseau ou l’éclosion moderne by Nicolas Autheman
Documentary for the Orsay Museum



2014 choreography and performance for Yumé by Yoshi Oïda

2014 choreography Lucrèce Borgia from Victor Hugo by Denis Podalydès for the Comédie Française

2012 choreography and performance for L’homme qui se hait from Emmanuel Bourdieu by Denis Podalydès for the Comédie Française

2011 choreography for Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme from Molière with Denis Podalydès

2011 Le Cas Jekyll (The Jekyll Case) from Christine Montalbetti by Denis Podalydès

2008 choreography for Looking for Mister Castang by Edouard Baer