In 2019, to celebrate the company's fifth anniversary season, Kizuna Dance has begun a commissioning initative designed to offer a unique opportunity to both emerging U.S.-based choreographers without significant recognition and to established Japanese choreographers. Guest artists awarded this annual commission to work with the company to celebrate the Japanese culture through multiple unique artistic voices. 

Kizuna Dance is thrilled to have kicked off the first year of its Culture Commissions program by inviting LajaMartin (Laja Field and Martin Ďurov) to create a work on the company in March 2019. Every artist commissioned by Kizuna Dance will create a work inspired by an aspect of the Japanese language or culture. 

"Until..." by LajaMartin received primary commissioning support from Glenda Manzi, with additional support from individual donors.

As Kizuna Dance continues to engage in culture ambassadorship through the arts, we are beyond excited to be joined by LajaMartin, in a new work that will premiere in 2019, as well as be featured in Kizuna Dance's repertory show at Middlebury College in Summer 2020.

LajaMartin (Laja Field & Martin Durov) 

Originally from Salt Lake City, UT, Laja Field graduated magna cum laude with a BFA in Dance from the University of Utah. Martin Durov was born in a small town in Slovakia and studied dance at the Conservatory J.L. Bella (SVK). In years spent working with with Johannes Wieland in Germany, Laja and Martin worked with colleagues, teachers and guest choreographers such as Hofesh Shechter, Helga Letonia, Stella Zannou and Chris Haring. In 2015 the two were invited to NYC to help found VIM VIGOR dance company. After three years of living in the USA/EU teaching, traveling, choreographing and performing, the two began cultivating their individual styles: Laja is inspired by floor-work, momentous partnering and the transcending power of movement, while Martin uses his Slovakian roots and passion for other dance styles. LAJAMARTIN was founded in 2017. Through LajaMartin, Laja and Martin aspire to create engaging live performance. From floor to air, a variety of dynamic movement defined by musicality and rhythm crafts the vocabulary that embodies the work’s intention. Grounded in relatable themes, originally composed music immerses the viewer into a specific cinematic environment from where the journeys are limitless. Experiencing the impact of live performance that can invoke a freeing feeling of wonder is the main purpose of LAJAMARTIN’s work.

Toru Shimazaki

[Realized through a U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, 2019-20 Creative Artist Fellowship]


Toru Shimazaki first began choreographing while he was the director of the ballet department of the Sitter School of Dance in Canada, 1989-91. He has since choreographed in Europe, America, and in his native Japan for many renowned dance companies, including Japan’s National New Tokyo Theatre, Grand Theatre de Geneve, the Royal Ballet of Flanders, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Introdanse, Singapore Dance Theater, and Colorado Ballet. He is presently the directing professor of the dance program in the Music Department of Kobe Jogakuin College, Japan.

Artistic Director Cameron McKinney and Shimazaki will collaborate to produce a 30-minute contemporary dance work for a five person ensemble. McKinney will travel to Kobe to work with Shimazaki's dance company, Dance Barbizon, then return to New York to work with his dancers.


The U.S.-Japan Creative Artist Fellowship Program, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Japan-United States Friendship Commission, provides support for three- to five-month residencies in Japan for five U.S. individual creative artists or teams in any arts discipline. For the 2019-2020 fellowships, each collaboration of U.S. and Japanese artistic teams will produce a project that will be showcased in Tokyo in summer 2020.

© 2019 by Cameron McKinney / Kizuna Dance