Friday, November 11th & Saturday, November 12th at 7pm*

General Admission: $21 ($20 + $1.00 processing fee)

Student/Industry: $16 ($15 + $1.00 processing fee) with promo code INDTIX

The Bridge Dance Festival began in 2018 as the culmination of four years of Japanese-focused programming at Links Hall, including the National Performance Network Asian Exchange, Beyond the Box, and Links to Japan.

In 2019, producers Links Hall and Asian Improv aRts Midwest partnered with curator Yoshinojo Fujima (aka Rika Lin) to continue to adhere to the mission of international cultural exchange and connection in the face of rising US nationalism and the aggressive political reality. The importance of global connections is inspired and supported by mutual respect for both cultural similarities and differences.

Now in its 4th year, Bridge Dance is returning to a live performance format.  Dancers from Japan and Chicago will present their own pieces and collaborate together in the spirit of  a more harmonious tomorrow.

The artists of the 2022 Bridge Dance Festival include Mari Fujihira and Kiyotaka Suzuki from Tokyo, Japan, Shalaka Kulkarni, Resident Artist at Mandala Arts,  and Sound Technician Takashi Shallow.

Meet the 2022 Bridge Dance Festival Artists:


Mari Fujihira is a dancer and choreographer based in Tokyo. She graduated from The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet and joined Yurie Shimomura Ballet Company in Tokyo. After leaving the company, she started to work as a freelance dancer. She has worked with many musicians such as: F.l.B Journal, Primitive Art Orchestra, and 2 Drums.

She also danced in one of the biggest kimono events “kimono salone” at Nihonbashi in 2017. She has toured in Europe (Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Marseille, Venice, Lausanne, Bergen) and Oceania, also Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, India, Laos, Vietnam and Thailand in 2019-2020. Currently she also has her own dance company, ‘Dancénsemble’ started in 2017. She cares about the diversity of people in this company and works as general director and choreographer. Awards include the SAI Dance Festival Competition 2018 1st prize of solo section, and the Seibu Railway Dance Movie Competition Unique movie award (with Dancénsemble).


Shalaka Kulkarni is an interdisciplinary dance artist based in Chicago. Her work revolves around questioning societal norms, empowering marginal voices and erased narratives, both in Western and Indian cultures empowering Female identity. Her movement journey started as a child in India with her time divided between learning dance and martial arts. She is trained in Bharatnatyam (originating from Southern India) and Kathak (originating from Northern India). As her family immigrated to the US, she began exploring intersections of Indian Classical dance forms with other movement influences, text and technology. She holds an MFA in Arts and Media and a BA in Performing Art Management, minoring in Theatre, from Columbia College Chicago. 

She has performed and choreographed for Kalapriya Dance company, Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble, Mandala Arts and Momenta Dance company. She has studied under Guillermo Gomez-Pena in a Performance Residency with La Pocha Nostra Collective, was one of the winning choreographers for Dance Chicago Festival 2005, was commissioned to create work for DanceBridge residency with the Chicago Cultural Center, won two grants through Columbia College Chicago, and was commissioned to create work for Lions Club and Federation of Indian Associations in Chicago.

She has presented her work at Chicago cultural Center, Prop Thtr, Chicago Dramatist, IUGTE conference in Austria and most recently, as a SloMoCo resident (MoCo-Movement and computing community) in Summer and Fall 2021. She is a current artist in residence with Mandala South Asian Performing Arts with support from Illinois Arts Council, artist in residence with High Concept Labs and See Chicago Dance Resident creating work through their Dance for Camera program. She founded a collective called ‘SurTaal’ (inactive currently) for exploring Indian Classical dance forms through the perspectives of other dance forms.

She is a regular creator and producer for shows that interconnect popular Indian music with diverse dance styles and cultures at Newport Theater. She recently finished touring her work and her residency in Germany. She is deeply grateful for having offered this opportunity by Yoshinojo Fujima for collaborating with her and Mari Fujihira exploring personal experiences about art, dance making and being women with multiculturally influenced Asian identities.


Takashi Shallow is a socially specific artist whose experiments intersect visual art with technology and performance. He has several ongoing projects like Gesamt (a record label), Percent (a collective of mixed race artists), and Insider Art (a series of institutional critiques). Dazed Digital includes Shallow in the article 10 of the best Chicago artists right now, and he has received fellowships and residencies at institutions like the Arts Club of Chicago and the Cliff Dwellers. He is a lecturer at the University of Chicago where he teaches art and music classes.

Check out this article from The Chicago Reader about last year’s Bridge Dance Festival:


Proof of vaccination for individuals ages 12 and up OR a negative COVID-19 PCR test (taken within 72 hours of the event) is required for entrance to Links Hall.
 Please see our website for additional details about these policies, and ongoing health and safety measures.

Visitors, staff, and artists are still expected to wear masks at all times in public spaces, or when two or more people are gathered.