An artistic performance on Ma

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Swiss cultural scene to reinvent itself. As The Olympic Museum had to close between November 2020 and February 2021, we wanted to create some life in our empty spaces and offer you something poetic: contemporary dance performances that would take us through to the reopening of The Museum and the launch of our programme devoted to the Tokyo 2020 Games and sports manga.

To create a Japanese atmosphere, the famous dancer and performer, Kaori Ito, did us the honour of bringing her sublime choreography to The Museum, expressing the uniquely Japanese concept of Ma, the time between two things that allows us to create.

Enter her world and watch Kaori Ito interpret Ma in our visitor-free spaces, reminding us that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are approaching fast!

Kaori Ito, performer

Kaori Ito, born in Tokyo in 1979, is a Japanese dancer and choreographer. A multidisciplinary artist, she is also involved in theatre and video. She quickly developed a unique, hybrid vocabulary, which is her trademark. Her interest lies in what is not said or seen.

Working with this artist was an obvious thing to do. She quickly and intuitively took onboard the atmosphere of The Museum, and here offers us her view and bodily expression as she becomes part of the emptiness that is Ma.

Behind the scene of the shooting with Kaori Ito © 2021, IOC

The concept of Ma

Ma is the Japanese concept of empty space, a silence between two sounds, a gap that offers a breathing space in which the act of creation can gain new impetus.

Kaori explains her artistic approach, how she makes use of the different spaces in The Museum, from the terrace to the central lightwell, from the audiovisual projections in the permanent areas to the new Sport X Manga temporary exhibition that was then being set up. She illustrates the link between dance and sport, and how sport can be seen as a creative act in the same way as dance. It’s exciting! 

Interview with dancer Kaori Ito, © 2021, IOC

Emerging into life from your shell

On the terrace in front of The Olympic Museum, Kaori plunges into a moment of suspended time before entering the subject, The Museum, a treasure chest of sporting and Olympic emotions. Wearing the sublime costumes created by French designer Aurore Thibout, Kaori emerges from her shell as if reborn, for a new future unfolding ahead of her:

Kaori Ito X The Olympic Museum #1 © 2021, IOC

The transformation

At the heart of The Museum, Kaori Ito offers us a performance in which she shakes off her shell through an energetic dance on the granite floor. This sequence was filmed with a drone, offering an impressive aerial view of Kaori’s transformation, intensified by the cello music created by French composer Joan Cambon:

Kaori Ito X The Olympic Museum #2 © 2021, IOC

Rebirth in a flame of emotion

Amidst the 180° displays of the permanent exhibition, Kaori melds with the images in subtle plays of light. She sets her dance and choreography in this instant of empty space that athletes experience right before the start of their competition, a moment charged with emotions:

Kaori Ito X The Olympic Museum #3 © 2021, IOC

The hope of an android

Kaori Ito makes the Sport X Manga exhibition her playground. In the guise of a robot with jerky – and sometimes mischievous – movements, she explores a new area that is still under construction. In this manga atmosphere, Kaori offers us her final performance set to music from Japanese pop-culture, and through her surprising choreography, takes us with her into an expressive world of sensitivity and sweet madness.

Get a foretaste of our exhibition on sports manga and be amazed at this very Japanese universe!:

Kaori Ito X The Olympic Museum #4 © 2021, IOC

Thank you Kaori Ito for this great collaboration!

The Tokyo 2020/Sport X Manga programme is underway! Free exhibition until 21 November 2021 at The Olympic Museum.

Find out more at: “Celebrate Tokyo 2020 at the Olympic Museum! “, an Olympic context and a manga atmosphere.