Two Artistic Families

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Miyatakes & Itos at Michi Ito tribute for webThe Miyatake and Ito families reunited Wednesday night at the Aratani Theatre in Little Tokyo as the Repertory Dance Theatre presented “Legacy: Homage to Michio Ito.”

International dance legend Michio Ito (1892-1961) and renowned photographer Toyo Miyatake (1896-1979) were good friends. An exhibit of Miyatake’s photographs of Ito was on display at the adjacent Japanese American Cultural and Community Center in conjunction with the performance, which included Ito’s works.

Ito has been called “the forgotten pioneer of American modern dance.” His contributions to the Los Angeles cultural environment were substantial, and his considerable influence continues to the present day.

“Legacy” also presented choreography dating from 1920 to 2005 by Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Doris Humphrey and Molissa Fenley, all of whom — like Ito — worked in California and changed the landscape of modern dance in America.

Attending the tribute were Mae Matsumoto, left, Ito’s granddaughter Michele Ito, Miyatake’s daughter-in-law and son Takeko and Archie Miyatake, and Ito’s daughter Wakana Hanayagi. Standing behind them are grandson David Ito and great-granddaughter Aki Ito.

Photo by Alan Miyatake

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