Shinichi Iova-Koga (CH/US)



Shinichi Iova-Koga serves as the Artistic Director of the physical theatre and dance company inkBoat, founded by Shinichi in 1998. He has toured in North America, Europe, South Korea and Japan, often collaborating with local artists in museums, theatres, studios and site-specific locations. He is the editor of the book 95 Rituals, a tribute to Anna Halprin, and a contributing writer to The Routledge Companion to Butoh Performance. He is featured in the book Butoh America. Shinichi teaches annually at ImPulsTanz in Vienna. He has served as a full-time core faculty member of the MFA Dance programme at Mills College in Oakland, California, from 2009 to 2017. He has taught Composition in the Arts for MFA students at UC Davis in 2014 and 2022. He has taught workshops at Bath University (UK), UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, SF State University, Stanford University, Experimental Theater Wing at NYU/Tisch, Texas Women’s University and others. He co-teaches the workshop Dance on Land and multi-month workshops with his wife Dana Iova-Koga.

Since 2015, Shinichi’s career as an international performer has merged with his Daoist Internal Arts study. Qi Gong, Dao Yin, Yang Sheng Gong and Nei Gong are part of his daily practice. He is credentialed to teach through Lotus Nei Gong International and is a San Feng Pai lineage holder with Wudang West. His approach to the negotiation between bodies continues to develop through Aikido (with teachers Jan Nevelius, Jorma Lily and Cornelius Jaeger-Herzog). Ruth Zaporah has been his continuing mentor since 2000. Her method of improvisational skill building is called Action Theater. Significant past mentors are Ralph Lemon, who instigated ideas about “anti-dance”, and Anna Halprin, who encouraged community building through the art-making process. Shinichi served as Anna’s associate director for numerous projects from 2009–2012 and co-taught dances for men with her until 2018. Shinichi danced with Butoh artists Hiroko and Koichi Tamano (1991–1995), Yumiko Yoshioka (1996–2004) and collaborated with Ko Murobushi (2008–2012). Another notable collaborator is Ann Carlson, who has worked with inkBoat from 2019 until the present. Additionally, he has co-created numerous performances with music groups Rova Saxophone Quartet and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. As a guest Director, he has created stage works with AXIS Dance Company and ODC Dance Company. As a dancer, he has been a member of the Russian Dance Theater company Do Theatre (2003–2005) and Larry Reed’s Shadowlight Theater (1993–1997).

inkBoat and Shinichi have been honoured by awards and grants, including 5 Bay Area Izzie awards and grants from NEA, MAP fund, New England Foundation for the Arts, California Arts Council, Rainin Foundation, Creative Work Fund, and Gerbode Foundation. Shinichi works primarily in San Francisco, New York and Lucerne, Switzerland. Shinichi’s work has been described as a mix of “humour, introspection, playfulness and memory with fearless gestures and thoughtfully crafted drama” (Mary Ellen Hunt, SF Chronicle) and has been said to “expertly mine the dark vein of absurdist humour that infiltrates Butoh” (Allen Ulrich, SF Chronicle).


        David Joshua Jennings
© David Joshua Jennings