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ASIAN CANADIANS > Traditions & Storytelling

Picture of Noriko Yamamoto holding a ball of ribbonNoriko Yamamoto | A professional dancer, choreographer, mime, clown, Silent Storyteller and visual artist (sculpture and mixed-media painting), Noriko was born in Mito City and grew up in Tokyo, Japan.

Noriko studied ballet, jazz dance and modern dance from an early age, and later taught these dance forms for more than 20 years at a number of dance studios in Tokyo. She danced with Tokyo's Ballet Balloon as principal dancer for six years and choreographed works for a myriad of professional theatre and dance companies during her time in Japan. Among her other dance accomplishments, Noriko was commissioned by Toshiba to create a jazz dance instruction tape.

Under the tutelage of Japan's renowned mime artist, Mamako Yoneyama, Noriko flourished in her four-year mime apprenticeship. Later on, Noriko taught mime and dance at various theatre schools in Tokyo, and eventually ran her own mime and dance studio for eight years before moving to Toronto. Noriko founded Shamingu Theatre Company, a physical theatre company that showcased its works at theatres in Tokyo, including the venerable Jean Jean Theatre.

In Japan, Noriko did promotional work for both small and large corporations appearing in many television specials, commercials, concerts and at both public and private events. She even has the distinction of being captured on hologram and displayed in a Tokyo museum (Fukagawa Edo Shiryokan Museum).

She performed throughout Japan as a dancer, choreographer, mime, clown and actor (physical theatre). International credits include Aberdeen Youth Festival, Rome Drama Festival, Palermo Drama Festival and London's Covent Garden.

Picture of Noriko Yamamoto with head on cutout painting of monksUpon moving to Canada with little knowledge of the English language, Noriko developed a way to tell stories without the use of spoken words. Here the concept of Silent Storytelling emerged. Playing multiple roles and using a small and portable stage set and a few props, Noriko uses mime and dance, choreographed to music, to tell stories in a unique and beautiful way. There are no language barriers, so the magic of stories can be appreciated by all.

Her Silent Storytelling repertoire includes her own stories, but for the most part, well known tales and stories written both by Japanese and non-Japanese authors abound.

Her career as a Silent Storyteller has taken her into countless schools and libraries across Ontario, and to storytelling festivals and events across Canada and Japan. She can also be seen 'telling' at daycares, senior's homes, museums and universities.

Noriko has been a member of Storytelling Toronto since 1996 and is most appreciative of this professional storytelling group's receptiveness towards Silent Storytelling.

A few examples of her Toronto performance career as a Silent Storyteller, mime and clown include the CNE, Ontario Place, First Night Toronto, Children's Own Museum, Guelph Spring Festival, Lieutenant Governor's Levees at Queen's Park, Ed Mirvish's birthday party, National Ballet of Canada, City TV's Breakfast Television, Canadian Ethnic Journalists Awards Ceremony, McMichael Art Gallery, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo, Hospital for Sick Children, National Aboriginal Day, Le Petit Chaperone Rouge Daycare, Japan Foundation, Hiroshima Peace Day at Nathan Phillip Square and numerous other festivals, corporate and community events, private kids and adult parties.

For more information about Noriko Yamamoto, please visit her performance website or her visual arts website.

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