Tomoko Ishii was born in Tokyo, Japan. Her passion for performing arts was evident at an early age and at five years of age she started learning ballet, and flamenco dance techniques from the age of nine. Tomoko entered the Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance Institute at the age of fourteen, where she soon started performing publicly. Tomoko’s talent was quickly realized and she was selected to perform in Spain with some of the country’s best flamenco artists. Since then, she has continued to improve her skills as a top dancer in the Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance Company.
Tomoko graduated from the Nihon University Department of Theatre/Dance Arts with the Presidential Award. She has frequently visited Spain to study under Spanish greats such as Manolo Marin, Victoria Eugenia, Milagros Menjibar, Eva La Jerubabuena, Iniesta Cortez, and many more. The Japanese Cultural Affairs Ministry sent Tomoko for one year to work in Spain as a trainee artist.
Since Tomoko began working independently from the Yoko Komatsubara Dance Institute, she has created her own Spanish dance studio in Tokyo and has enjoyed being active in a number of Spanish dance shows and performances. It’s notable that she has staged some concerts on her own, starring alongside well-known Spanish flamenco artists like Antonio El Pipa, Milagros Menjibar and Diego Carrasco. Tomoko’s elegant and outstanding performances on stage also earned her the New Artist of The Year Award in 2007, which was awarded by the Dance Critic Japanese Institute.
In addition to training a number of students in the art of Spanish dance during the past 20 years, Tomoko currently leads Tomoko Ishii Spanish Dance Company on stage giving her members supporting roles. She also works hard to promote more cultual diffusion of Spanish dance in Japan. A good example of this is her desire to perform for special kindergarden and cultual understanding programs.
“Bata de Cola” making a Trajectory in History
By Kyoko Shikaze
Since Tomoko performed with a flamenco costume called the “Bata de Cola” which was set to the rhythm of Diego Carrasco, Japanese history of flamenco surely has changed. She did not dance just an arranged choreography but, following her own instincts, improvised to Diego Carrasco and embodied his unique sense of rhythm. It seemed unprecedented in its history and her performance has captured the attention of people world wide.
Although born in Tokyo, Tomoko dances an orthodox and pure style of flamenco from Sevilla. Her elegant movements, especially of arms, remind us of one of Tomoko’s masters Milagros Menjibar who taught Tomoko “Grace” of flamenco.
Tomoko, one of the finest flamenco dancers in Japan, started her career at Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance Company. She has acted in the best theaters, such as the New National Theatre in Tokyo, Madrid Spanish Theatre and Teatro Lope de Vega in Sevilla, and at festivals like Seville Biennale International Festival and Cante de las Minas Festival. In 1987, Tomoko won the most distinguished awards of flamenco dance in Japan. Also, she undertook a degree in art at Nippon University with honors. After leaving Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance Company in 1993, she opened her own studio and began her solo career. In her independent concerts she performed with flamenco maestroes like Antonio El Pipa, Milagros Menjíbar and Diego Carrasco.
When Tomoko appears on stage wearing the “Bata de Cola” you will be amazed how the atmosphere will change the way you feel, and you may well think you are in Sevilla instead of Tokyo. “Flamenco” with deep respect to its origin surely exists in Tokyo. It is certain that Tomoko is one of the most talented and representative Japanese flamenco dancers.
On May 26, held Tomoko Ishii commemorative recital “Caminando” for the 72th Agency for Cultural Affairs Arts Festival Grand Prize with Emilio Maya, Pepe Maya, El Plateao, and Jose Colon.
Won the grand prize of the 72th Agency for Cultural Affairs Arts Festival with her performance of “Chihayafuru -Daichi no Uta-“.
On November 4-5, held Tomoko Ishii independent concert “Chihayafuru -Daichi no Uta-” with El Junco, Juan José Amador, Matías López, Miguel Pérez and Oscar Lago.
Won the award for the best performer at the 48th Dance Critics Japanese Association Awards with her performance of “LorcaIII -Diván del Tamarit-“.
Won the 17th Suzuko Kawakami award for the best performer in Spanish dance at Modern Dance Association.
On Octorber 22-23, held Tomoko Ishii independent concert “LorcaIII -Diván del Tamarit-” with El Junco, Matías López, Cheito and Oscar Lago.
On Octorber 24-25, held Tomoko Ishii independent concert “La Petenera” with El Junco, Natalia Marin, Matías López, and Juani de la Isla.
On November 6-7, held Tomoko Ishii independent concert “Lorca II -Poema del Cante Jondo- ” with El Junco, Oscar Lago, Matías López and El Galli.
On October 19, held Tomoko Ishii independent concert “Lorca -Romancero Gitano y Llanto- ” with El Junco, Juan José Amador, Eugenio Iglesias and Jesús Corbacho.
On March 27, held Tomoko Ishii independent concert “Trity Tran vol.2” with Diego Carrasco, Antonio Rey, Curro Carrsco, Manuel de la Curra, Ané Carrasco and Quini de Jerez.
On March 21-25, held Antonio Rey Flamenco Guitar Workshop “Colores del Fuego,” in Tokyo.
On October 12-13, held Tomoko Ishii’s 35 years flamenco perfomance anniversary concert “Colores” with El Junco, Juan Jose Amador, Ntalia Marin, Alicia Hill, Eugenio Iglecias and Lito Espinosa in Tokyo.
On November 14-16, held El Junco flamenco workshop “Aire de Cádiz,” in Tokyo.
On November 8, held Tomoko Ishii independent concert “La Petenera” with Alejandro Granados, Ntalia Marin, Jesus Castilla and Juani de la Isla in Tokyo.
On November 9-12, held “Alejandro Granados Flamenco Workshop,” in Tokyo.
On February 3-7, held “Milagros Menjibar Short Course,” in Tokyo.
On May 6-12, held “Diego Carrasco Short Course,” in Tokyo and Osaka.
On November 5, held Tomoko Ishii independent concert “Magia (=Magic) ” with Diego Carrasco, Moraito Chico, Alfred Lagos and David Lagos in Tokyo.
On November 3-4, held “Moraito Chico Flamenco Guitar Workshop,” in Tokyo.
Performed the lead role of “Carmen” at Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance Recital.Staged her independent concert “El Compas,” with guest performers, Diego Carrasco, El Junco, Alfredo Lagos and David Lagos. Held “Diego Carrasco Flamenco Workshop,” in Tokyo.
Won the award for best newcomers at the 39th Dance Critics Japanese Association Awards with her performance of “La Elegancia – Tamashii no Motomeru Mama ni”.
Held her anniversary concert “La Elegancia – Tamashii no Motomeru Mama ni,” celebrating 30 years of her flamenco performance with guest performers, Milagros Menjibar, Manolo Sevilla, Juan Reina and Rafael Rodríguez.
Performed the lead role of “Lysistrata” together with Maribel Gallardo at Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance Recital.
Published her first educational flamenco DVD, “Ishii Tomoko ni Manabu Elegancia” (Learning “Elegance” from Tomoko Ishii)
Played the lead role of the young Yoko Matsubara in “I Chose Flamenco” at Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance Recital.
Performed the lead role as the goddess “Earth and fire” together with Maribel Gallardo at Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance Recital.
Performed the lead role of the bride in “Blood Wedding” at a festival held at La Union in Spain.
Invited Antonio El Pipa as a guest performer at her second recital held in Shinjuku Theater Apple.
Played the lead role of the bride in a performance of “Blood Wedding” at Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance Thirtieth Anniversary Recital.
Stayed in Spain for both study and performance as an official Japanese overseas trainee artist.
Appeared on stage as a top dancer of Yoko Komatsubara Spanish Dance troupe at Arte Flamenco Biennial Festival.
Became an independent performer after many years as the top dancer at Yoko Matsubara Dance Institute.
Won the Suzuko Kawakami award for best newcomer in Spanish dance at Modern Dance Association.
Found Tomoko Ishii Flamenco Estudio.
Held her first independent flamenco recital at Sogetsu Hall in Tokyo, starring opposite El Mistela, Quique Paredes.
To honor her performance on the recital, Was awarded the prestigious Muramatsu Award.
Received high praise after a breathtaking performance at Spanish famous Arte Flamenco Biennial Festival.
Costarred with Antonio El Pipa, Antonio de la Marena, Antonio Jero, Juan Reina and Rafael Rodríguez.
Winner of 1st Arte Flamenco Biennail Tokyo competition.
Tomoko Ishii Flamenco Estudio / Granvia Ltd.
3-8-4-B1, Honcho, Nihonbashi, Chuou-ku, Tokyo, 103-0023, Japan