Founded in 1967, Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theatre (KHDT), Inc. is dedicated to nurturing the artistic activities and the choreographic work of Kazuko Hirabayashi. KHDT’s repertory stems from Ms. Hirabayashi’s unique background; it combines her firm base in classical and modern American dance with her Japanese heritage and its eastern philosophical and artistic assumptions. The company seeks to introduce the mainstream modern dance audience to Asian-American aesthetics and sensibilities through the presentation of dance performances. This is accomplished directly through the blending of Asian and American themes, music, and performers, and also indirectly through the quiet, focused grace and delicacy prevalent in Asian culture, as fused with the attack and unflinching individuality of American culture. The juxtaposition of these two cultural forces within Ms. Hirabayashi’s work has led to the creation of a new, unique physical and artistic language.
Kazuko Hirabayashi received her BS in Japan and Diploma from the Juilliard School. She is the recipient of the Doris Humphrey Choreographic Fellowship, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and New York State Council for the Arts. She also received the NYS Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Professionally, Kazuko danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company in the 1964 revival of Primitive Mysteries. With Richard Kuch and Richard Gain she formed a dance company, TRIAD, from 1965- 67. In 1967 she formed the Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theatre (KHDT) and has presented annual concerts in New York from 1971 – 1982 at such venues as the Japan House, the Public Theater, Schimmel Auditorium at Pace University, Hunter College Playhouse, the Theater of the Riverside Church and as part of 2 Dance Umbrella seasons at Camera Mart and at the Roundabout Theater.
Kazuko has served as Chairman of the Faculty at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and as the Artistic Director of the Graham Ensemble. She has choreographed over 80 dances, and has taught internationally and in the New York area as a member of the faculties of the Graham School, the Ailey School, the Juilliard School where she is Faculty Emeritas, and SUNY College at Purchase, where she is the Director of the Graduate Program of the Conservatory of Dance. In 1999 the National Theater of Japan in Tokyo commissioned Kazuko to create a concert length production of Faust with music by Michel van der Aa. Kazuko has served as president of the Burgos – New York Choreographic Competition since 2002. She was the Director of Dance of the SUNY/Burgos Summer Program in Spain in 1998 and now is the Program Director of Dance New York International in Burgos, Spain.