Denise Fujiwara shares her thoughts on The Big Idea: Legacy

The Big Idea is a lens. It is a way of seeing. It is a window and a platform for you to explore Harbourfront Centre’s diverse programming.

In our 40th anniversary year at Harbourfront Centre, we are exploring The Big Idea: Legacy. Legacy is the essential contribution of the past that acknowledges the present. It is a magnificent merging of past desire and future promise. In legacy the past and present come together to create fundamental meaning.

Look for the symbol below as you make your way through Harbourfront Centre to see how The Big Idea: Legacy manifests itself in our artists’ work.


Meet Denise Fujiwara

Denise is the choreographer and visionary behind Fujiwara Dance Inventions. Her adaptation of Christian Bök’s Eunoia has its world premiere on March 19 as part of World Stage. Here are Denise’s thoughts on The Big Idea: Legacy.

What does legacy mean to you? 

Legacy, for me, is related to the Japanese notion of artistic lineage.  Lineage connotes the passing down of special, even secret knowledge about an art form or practice.

How does legacy manifest itself in your work?

The mentors I have worked with taught me principles of choreography and performance that I continue to explore and employ in my work.  They include Japanese aesthetic principles such as maand yugen, which are difficult concepts to understand and immensely more difficult to embody and integrate into the work.

Whose legacy has influenced you?

I’ve had the privilege of learning from artists who are/were a part of great lineages; Natsu Nakajima, who danced with the founders of Butoh, Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno, and Judy Jarvis, a protégé of Mary Wigman. The kind of knowledge they passed down to me transcends trends. I am deeply grateful for their precious legacies.


What is your Legacy? What does Legacy mean to you? And how have you experienced Legacy at Harbourfront Centre? Tell us how The Big Idea: Legacy has manifested itself in your experience. Tweet us at @HarbourfrontTO to join the conversation.

Keep your eyes peeled for more blog posts, programming and artist interviews highlighting The Big Idea: Legacy throughout our 40th Anniversary Year.