CORE Performance Company presented four public performances of their new dance/theater work, Gaman / 我慢、がまん in Arkansas November 2015. This richly layered evening-length performance of contemporary dance, art and music honors and remembers the U.S. citizens of Japanese descent who were interned on American soil during World War II. Of the 10 camps operated by the War Relocation Authority in the western United States, two camps were located in rural Arkansas. The Arkansas camps, Rohwer and Jerome, were the forced home of more than 8,475 citizens. The word, “gaman” is a Japanese word of Zen Buddhist origin which means “enduring the seemingly unbearable with patience and dignity”. Gaman explores how challenges can be overcome by courage; and expresses the conflicting emotions of sorrow and joy, confinement and liberation experienced by the interned Japanese-American citizens. The professional artists of CORE Performance Company, under the artistic direction of Sue Schroeder, have collaborated with visual artists, composers and writers to create a universal experience from the historical events.
Nancy Chikaraishi's is a creative collaborator on this project and her visual images are projected throughout the performance. Gaman project was initiated by its Co-Coordinators Sue Schroeder, CORE artistic director and Dr. Gayle Seymour, professor of Art History and Associate Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at the University of Central Arkansas. Other collaborators include Scott Spivey (set design); German Composer Christian Meyer (sound design); Gregory Catellier (light design); D. Patton White (costume design) and Erin Weller Dalton (Dramaturg). D. Patton White, Company Manager for CORE Performance Company, and Gaman Community Engagement Facilitator.
The creation of Gaman was funded in part through a grant from the National Park Service, Japanese American Confinement Sites Grant Program as part of an expansive, multi-city art and history initiative to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the closing of the Japanese internment camps.