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Great Leap maintains a DVD multimedia archive of its performance history. The archive contains a fairly comprehensive collection of Great Leap’s pictures and more, from 1970 to the present. The archive is organized in categories to be clear and accessible. Great Leap is also in the process of digitizing some of our videos.


Chris, JoAnne (Nobuko) and Charlie Chin (CCJ), sometimes known as Yellow Pearl. The album “A Grain of Sand” was recorded in ’73. Chris, Nobuko and Charlie came together in ’97 for a series of reunion concerts.


ASIAN AMERICAN PERFORMANCES: Great Leap was officially established in 1978 by Nobuko Miyamoto and Benny Yee (who designed the leaper logo), but much work was created before that time.

’74 – 81

Warriors of the Rainbow, a fusion rock/jazz band headed by Benny Yee (keyboards) and Nobuko (vocals). Other band members included at various times Russell Baba, Kenny Endo, Bobby Farlice, Alan Furutani, and others.


NOBUKO’S DANCE CLASS, at Senshin Buddhist was populated by many non-dancers and dancers in the community.  Rev. Kodani and the temple, graciously allowed it to continue for over 10 years.  From this class dance performances with original music by Benny Yee and Nobuko, eventually led to the founding of Great Leap.  


MARTIAL ARTS DANCE: Nobuko invited professional dancers to the Senshin workshop to create dances on a more professional level. This piece was a collaboration between martial artists (Tatsuo Hirano) and dancers (Louise Mita Kawabata, Aulani Chang…)


SONYU: a collaboration between Nobuko and dance class with Kinnara Taiko of Senshin Temple. Kinnara was one of the first taiko groups in America.

’78 -81

CHOP SUEY: The first musical – story with songs by Nobuko and Benny Yee, and choreography. This was initiated by East West Players for a summer series presented in parks in LA County. GREAT LEAP was formally born as a non-profit Asian American arts organization. 3 Iterations, different directors, JOSE DE VEGA comes into GL.


BREAKING OUT: a mutli-media concert featuring Nobuko, Benny Yee and Warriors of the Rainbow. Concert with Al Robles


JAN KEN PO: original song by Nobuko done in various concerts with children from various communities. Made our first music video, in a time music videos were just beginning to appear.


BEST OF BOTH WORLDS: first solo album by Nobuko and musical director/arranger Derek Nakamoto. Was also a multi-media concert presented at the Japan America Theater.

’84 (?)

GAMAN: 16mm film short produced by Bob Miyamoto, with Nobuko’s song “Gaman” and the drawings of Betty Chen. It portrays the story of a young girl growing up in one of the concentration camps that Japanese Americans were sent to. The film was shown on the NAATA series “Silk Screen”, on PBS.


JOSE DE VEGA: met Nobuko when he was playing ‘Chino’, and she ‘Francisca’ in the film “Westside Story.” She invited him into Great Leap and he became principal choreographer and director of major pieces.


JOURNEY IN THREE MOVEMENTS/BRIDGE: major repertory works with original music composed by Nobuko Miyamoto and Jose De Vega, choreography. Journey, the story of immigrant struggle, was filmed and shown on Educational Television. Bridge portrays trade between Japan and America.


TALK STORY I, II: a musical created from stories of Asian American experiences. Music, lyrics by Nobuko, choreography mainly by Jose De Vega.


TALK STORY, HAWAII TOUR: 3 island tour and 1 week residency in a Kawaii elementary school serving 2000 children with workshops.


JOANNE IS MY MIDDLE NAME: solo performance piece by Nobuko, premiered at the Japan America Theater. Later toured as part of Slice of Rice” through LA Music Center on Tour Program.

87- ’91?

A SLICE OF RICE: inspired by the first-voice storytelling movement…Jude Narita…and other Asians started telling their own stories. Recruited DAN KWONG into GL started as a festival to feature the many Asian American artists who were developing their own solo works in theater, dance, music. Later toured colleges and LA schools with Music Center on Tour Program primarily with Dan Kwong, Louise Mita Kawabata, Young Ae Park, and Nobuko, Long Nguyen.


LAUGHTER FROM THE CHILDREN OF WAR/Club O’Noodles, Vietnamese Theater Group. Nobuko co-directs w/Hung Nguyen.



1992 to 08

MULTICULTURAL PERFORMANCES. 1992 was a turning point year for Great Leap. The Los Angeles Uprising, or Riots, showed the hostility between the races after the Rodney King trial. Great Leap becomes a multi-cultural arts organization.

’93 or 4?

A SLICE OF RICE, FRIJOLES AND GREENS: first-voice stories of Asian, Latino and African American artists are presented together. The show continues to tour colleges around the country, and also had a youth version that performed with the LA Music Center On Tour Program, until about 2004. (CULTURES)


A GRAIN OF SAND: Nobuko’s one person autobiographical show played Highways, EW Players, Los Angeles Theater Center and New World Theater, then began touring the college circuit.


BINDU RECORDS: a partnership between Nobuko and Derek Nakamoto begins Bindu, which supported artists such as Nobuko, Kenny Endo, Frances Awe, and others.


TO ALL RELATIONS: CD produced by Derek Nakamoto of Nobuko’s songs. Based on the Lakota sacred salutation, Mitakuye Oyasin (to all relations).


TO ALL RELATIONS, FORD THEATER: A multicultural concert with Nobuko Miyamoto, Frances Awe and the Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble, Charlie Chin.


A GRAIN OF SAND REUNION CONCERTS: Chris, Nobuko and Charlie Chin re-release “Grain” on CD on Bindu Records. First concert at UC Berkeley and many others follow.


SACRED MOON SONGS: A musical theater piece created with Muslim, Japanese, Mexican and African American artists and community members. Directed by Nobuko and Ruben Guevara. Presented at West Players, July 30 to August 1, 2004. (No pictures, only on GL website)


   ARTS AND YOGA FOR YOUTH, summer program designed for USC Upward Bound.

2003 - 7

TRIANGLE PROJECT, “JOURNEY OF THE DANDELION”: this international collaboration brings together PJ Hirabayashi of San Jose Taiko, Yoko Fujimoto of KODO, and Nobuko of Great Leap, in a journey that takes them to San Jose, Sado Island, New World Theater U.Mass, Cal State Monterey Bay, Japan America Theater, Stony Brook Un, and NY Museum of Natural History.


LEAPS OF FAITH: interfaith theater piece created in GL’s mentorship program, COLLABORATORY. (FAITH)

GL MISC. ARTISTS: pictures of various artists who have worked with GL.


WHAT CAN A SONG DO: Nobuko’s lecture/performance, work-in-progress, Stony Brook University (NO PERF. PIX YET, USE NOBUKO PIX)

1997 – 07

TO ALL RELATIONS RESIDENCY PROGRAMS: Inspired by Mitakuye Oyasin, To All Relations develops into a series of residencies that bring communities of different colors and cultures together.


TO ALL RELATIONS , WORLD FESTIVAL OF SACRED MUSIC: GL creates an all day event that engages people from 5am to 10 pm at Senshin Buddhist Temple. Yoga at sunrise, taichi, talks by Black Elk, Tibetan monks, Rev. Kodani, workshops in jazz, movement, building flower mandala, peace flags and more, ending with a concert with June Kuramoto, Derek Nakamoto, Nobuko, Nedra Wheeler, Tibetan singers, etc.


TO ALL RELATIONS, PHOENIX: Nobuko and Paulina Sahagun work with Asian American elders, Phoenix police members, Native youth and Desert Dance Theater.

TO ALL RELATIONS, DETROIT: Grace Lee Boggs invites Nobuko to learn about Detroit’s urban dilemna and create work around the burgeoning gardening movement. A ritual celebration is created with other artists/gardeners. Nobuko creates song/dance “I Dream A Garden” based on Buddhist Obon circle dance, ala Motown. (EARTH)


RELATIONS, SAN JOSE: Nobuko and Hung Nguyen of Club O’Noodles, do workshops with Vietnamese American youth.


TO ALL RELATIONS, BOYLE HEIGHTS: Nobuko and Dan Kwong lead a residency with former Boyle Heights members from Japanese, Mexican and Jewish American communities. Performance is mounted with the exhibit of Boyle Heights at the Japanese American National Museum.


TO ALL RELATIONS WATTS: in a collaboration with Watts Labor Community Action Coalition, Great Leap worked with at-risk teens on a gardening and arts project.

‘03 -04

TO ALL RELATIONS: “SACRED MOON SONGS”. In response to 9/11 Great Leap under the direction of Nobuko and Ruben Guevara, brought together Muslims, Japanese, Mexican and African American community members to share common experiences of relocation, repatriation and deportation. First presented as a work in progress at NCRR’s Breaking the Fast Ramadan gatherin at Senshin Temple, then as a finished piece at East West Players, July 30 to August 1, 2004. (No pictures, only on GL website)


TO ALL RELATIONS: “Ceremony of Remembrance”. One-week residency with Laotion students at University of Wisconsin, culminated with performance directed by Nobuko and Traci Kiriyama. (video only, pictures on GL website)


COLLABORATORY MENTORSHIP PROGRAM. Eight-week program that exposes emerging artists various LA communities with master classes from mentoring artists, culminating with a collaborative performance. Directed by Dan Kwong, with Young Ae Park and Nobuko workshop leaders.


COLLABORATORY I, Cumination July 30, 31 2005, La Finestra




COLLABORATORY III: Migration and Democracy, Culmination October 21-22 at JANM, Center for the Preservation of Democracy.


COLLABORATORY IV: The Third Stone (environment) Culmination Aug 18,19 at Farmlab


COLLABORATORY V: Leaps of Faith, culmination Mar 8-9, JANM


COLLABORATORY VI: Leaps of Faith, culmination Jan 10, JANM

2005 – 08


ART OF WEAVING FAITHS – all day interfaith workshops with 30 people of diverse faiths, usually held in religious centers.


AOWF, Brooklyn Bridges, women’s gathering who have been affected by events of 9/11. First Unitarian Church, Brooklyn. Leaders Nobuko Tomomi Kanemaru, artist.


Senshin/Omar Al Khattab Mosque


Islamic Center


Senshin Buddhist Temple


Santa Monica Art Museum


Culver City Interfaith


Memphis Theological Seminary, week-long workshops with Christian Theology students, Nobuko and Kamau Ayubbi.


		PARLIAMENT OF WORLD RELIGIONS	- Nobuko and Carla Vega to to Melbourne

1986 – PRESENT


2010 -