Adjunct Instructor, Tap I & Tap II
Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Chikako Iwahori began dancing at the age of ten, studying classical ballet, tap, jazz, baton twirling and Karate, in which she holds a black belt.
In 1995, Chikako moved to New York City, immersing herself in rhythm tap, voice and West African dance and drumming. A much sought after, versatile performer, Chikako was a founding member of Irena Koloseus's, "Feraba-African Rhythm Tap Company", performing with them from 1996-2001 at the Center Culturel France in Guinea and at Tap City 2001, Duke Theatre, NYC. She appeared in Roxanne Butterfly's "Beauteez'n The Beat" at the Supper Club and St. Clement's Church, both in NYC. Chikako has also been a principle dancer with Heather Cornell's, "Manhattan Tap", touring in France, Finland, Austria and Germany.
Since 2003, Chikako has been a featured dancer in Max Pollak's, "Rumba Tap", a unique mix of Afro Cuban music and dance, tap & body percussion. They have toured internationally and performed at the prestigious Joyce theater and Jacob's Pillow. In 2006, Chikako has become a member of "Barbara Duffy & Company", an all women's tap company, performing in Tap City 2006, 07, 08, 09 at the Duke Theater and Symphony space, NYC.
Chikako's other performance highlights include, assistant director, choreographer and featured performer in "Dha Fuzion", an urban world music and dance theatrical band. She played the lead role in their musical "Back to Creation" which premiered at University of Tennessee. They also performed in the ACT 2002 Hip Hop Festival in Rotterdam, Holland, the Regis College Fine Arts Center, Center Stage at Fitchburg State College and Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors. She was a backup vocalist with the master Kora player Keba Cissoko's band "Tamalalou", a West African band performing in clubs and theaters from 1996 to 2002. Chikako can be heard on their compilation CD from Smithsonian Folkway Recordings with master musicians from West Africa.
Chikako is currently a percussionist, tap dancer and vocalist in the band, "Beat the Donkey", led by percussionist Cyro Baptista. The band has performed at some of the most prestigious music festivals around the world, such as Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Festival d'Agadir in Morocco and the Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville in Canada. Chikako's original poetry is featured on their latest CD, "Love The Donkey".
Chikako's other talents include West African dance, Balinese dance, the South African gumboot dance, Afro Cuban dance and Balkan folk. From 2002 to 2006, she has studied Kathak a Classical north Indian dance, under the direction of Janaki Patrick, performing with her at the Downtown Dance Festival in NYC. As a tap dancer, she also collaborated with Janaki's "The Kathak Ensemble & Friends" at the Shea Center for the Performing Arts at William Patterson University.
Chikako has founded RhythMutation with Stephanie Larriere in 2002 and has performed at La Mama, St. Peter's Church, Bowery Poetry Club, the Nuyorican Poet's Café and Masters school Theatre in Dobbs Ferry.
Chikako has taught workshops in Finland, Japan, Germany and Zimbabwe and currently teaches children in several public schools in New York City. Her main influences are Max Pollak, Heather Cornell, Buster Brown, Barbara Duffy and Roxanne Butterfly.