• Created by Christine Mori and Alexis Spieldenner

Kimiko’s Pearl is a new ballet that unfurls the bittersweet story of one family – spanning four generations – set against the turbulent backdrop of World War II. It is told through the eyes of Kimiko, a 15-year-old Toronto girl who discovers an old family trunk containing her great-grandfather’s diary and other precious keepsakes. As Kimiko reads the diary, her family’s tale comes to life before her eyes. Kimiko’s Pearl reflects the tragedies and triumphs of Japanese Canadian families before, during, and after internment.  
 
Inspired by the family history of Bravo Niagara! founders Christine Mori and Alexis Spieldenner, Kimiko’s Pearl is based on a story by Emmy Award winner Howard Reich. The production features original music by Kevin Lau, choreography by Yosuke Mino with dancers from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and Boston Ballet, and three generations of Japanese Canadian visual artists and musicians. 

Company

Led by the dynamic mother-daughter duo of Christine Mori (Artistic Director) and Alexis Spieldenner (Executive Director), Bravo Niagara!’s annual festival is Mori’s dream brought to life. Upon returning to Canada from the US to begin a new chapter – a chapter that would deeply and personally reconnect her with her Canadian roots – Mori’s dream of a festival where some of the greatest and most respected artists in the world would perform, came true.  

Bravo Niagara! is dedicated to inspiring passion for the arts through the creation and presentation of transformative musical performances and multidisciplinary artistic experiences. Since the festival’s inception in 2014, audiences have been treated to performances from artists such as James Ehnes, Jan Lisiecki, Measha Brueggergosman, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, Miloš Karadaglić, and more.  

Creative team

  • Created by Christine Mori and Alexis Spieldenner
  • Writer Howard Reich
  • Composer Kevin Lau
  • Choreographer Yosuke Mino
  • Sound design and recording engineer Aaron Tsang
  • Costume design Shannon Lovelace
  • Video and projection design Christine Mori and Fourgrounds Media Inc.
  • Lighting design Kevin Lamotte
  • Visual artists Norman Takeuchi, C.M., Lillian Michiko Yano (Blakey), Emma Nishimura, Miya Turnbull
  • Musicians Ron Korb, Conrad Chow, Rachel Mercer, Mariko Anraku
  • Dancers Kyra Soo, Yue Shi, Chenxin Liu, Liam Caines, Rachel Gibbs, Liam Saito, Yayoi Ban

National Creation Fund investment

The National Creation Fund’s investment of $130,000 makes it possible for the company to undertake two residencies with the creative team, visual artists, and dancers to develop and finalize the video and projection design, as well as enhanced lighting and immersive sound design. The first residency will also include a preview performance for members of the Japanese Canadian community.  Following the premiere, the Fund’s investment supports Kevin Lau’s new orchestral suite composition.  

Credits

Commissioned and produced by Bravo Niagara! 

Kimiko’s Pearl is made possible through the generous support of The Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation. 

Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, and Carol and David Appel. 

Supported by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre (Commissioning Partner); The Frank H. Hori Charitable Foundation; Ontario Arts Council; Nancy Lockhart and The Murray Frum Foundation; John Hawley, In Memory of Liz Hawley; National Association of Japanese Canadians Endowment Fund; Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.  

Past performances