Life is movement, music, and art fueled by the pulse of the heart, the heat of the breath, the tremors of the emotions bursting from the swamps in our bellies. Life recalls the joy of discovery, the pain of loss. It is a journey that we all share from the moment of our birth to the instant of our passing.

In the summer of 2012, Kai Chan, Lee Pui Ming, Barbara Bourget, and Jay Hirabayashi got together in Toronto to talk about Life, the new work that we were to create in collaboration with each other. Kai is in his seventies, Pui Ming in her fifties, and Barbara and Jay are in their sixties. We discovered ourselves coming together to explore a reality that is most poignant: the passage of time, the body’s aging, mortality, while creating art through and with all that. In Pui Ming’s mind, she heard Life as a string quartet. Stringed instruments – close kin of the human voice. Sounding a string is an act that is both delicate and strong – very much in resonance with expressing artistic will and vision through bodies that have lived lives. As well the instrumentation of a string quartet is capable simultaneously of great intimacy and transcendence – a most appropriate vehicle for the expression of Life.

Kai had already begun his creative expression. From a mass of unraveled, recycled material, he had started to weave three ten-foot wide, eight-foot high walls of multi-hued lengths of thread. From the confusion of our entangled influences comes the confluence of creative expression.

Choreographers: Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi
Music: Lee Pui Ming
Set: Kai Chan
Costumes: Tsuneko Kokubo
Lighting: Gerald King
Performers: Barbara Bourget, Carolyn Chan, Jay Hirabayashi, Molly McDermott, Jennifer McKinley, Billy Marchenski, Deanna Peters
Length of work: 61 minutes (no intermission possible as work is continuous)
Number of persons on tour: 9

For more information about touring, please contact Jay Hirabayashi at jayh[at]