May 20, 2022

New taiko and dance performance by Portland group Unit Souzou.

May 20-21, 2022 |


| Portland Opera, 211 SE Caruthers St, Portland, OR 97214
Constant State of Otherness
Friday, May 20 at 7:30pm
Saturday, May 21 at 2:00pm* and 7:30pm
90 minutes with (1) 15 minute intermission


*In solidarity with AAPI Heritage month, audience members of Asian & Pacific Islander descent are invited for a one-hour facilitated gathering following the May 21st 2:00 pm matinee performance to share, reflect, process and acknowledge personal stories of otherness and its impact on our identities and lives. 

Constant State of Otherness is a multi-layered performance exploring the impacts of the universal experiences of othering and alienation. Through taiko, Japanese folk dance, song, and personal story, six performers guide the audience through a four-part journey inspired by experiences of isolation and displacement that come from not having an easy sense of home.

Rooted in ancestral wisdom and survival, Constant State of Otherness resists simplistic translations of language, cultural ways and the complicated emotions that otherness evokes. By allowing their stories to fractally unfold through the resonance of drum, voice and movement, Unit Souzou offers an invitation to locate our shared longing to belong.

Constant State of Otherness is a National Performance Network/Visual Artist Network (NPN/VAN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by The Myrna Loy in partnership with Caldera Arts, Asian Arts Initiative, Dance Place, Risk Reward and NPN/VAN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information: Constant State of Otherness has received funding from Puffin Foundation, The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and New England Foundation for the Arts, National Theater Project Award.

Unit Souzou was founded in 2014 by Co-directors Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe, relentless innovators at the forefront of a growing artistic movement within the taiko community. ‘Souzou’ can be written in three ways meaning ‘creation’ (創造), ‘imagination’ (想像), or ‘noisy’ (騒々), alluding to a force by which new ideas are born and take shape in the world. Inspired by these words, the mission of Unit Souzou is to build creative, imaginative works while honoring the history and roots of the taiko art form. The core of Unit Souzou’s artistic voice is personal and authentic, sound shaped and inspired by form and by movement. The essence of Unit Souzou is an expressive blend of taiko and Japanese folk dance, building new traditions for evolving communities. In addition to creating groundbreaking professional theatrical works, Unit Souzou is deeply committed to sharing taiko through community performances and collaborations, public classes for adults and youth, and school-based education programs.