TCF through the years: Celebrating diversity on the stage
By True Colors Festival Team
The members of the True Colors Festival family are brought together by their common belief in the importance of building ”One World, One Family”, a commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a family of artists, where else to begin this journey but on the stage?
Over the past few years, we have put the spotlight on an international cast of performers of diverse talents and abilities in productions online and offline. We have bonded over our shared love of the arts and the way it brings people together so beautifully. With each gathering, our family has grown.
As we work towards staging THE CONCERT 2022 – our biggest show yet – here’s a recap of some of the most impactful TCF events over the past few years, and why they mean so much to us.
True Colors DANCE: No Limits
September 10, 2019
A crew of b-boys featuring ILL-Abilities, The Floorriorz, Bboy Shigekix, Bgirl Ram, Bboy Taisuke, SOCIAL WORKEEERZ, LJ BREAKERS and UNO/NOPPO(s**t kingz) came together to showcase their uniquely personal dance skills. At one point, the dancers also broke into spontaneous dance battles where each got to show off their moves. This True Colors DANCE event took dancers and audiences beyond differences and into connection.
True Colors MUSICAL HONK! by Phamaly
February 15 & 16, 2020
TCF Family members Ken Kanokozawa and Hiroko Higashino joined the talented crew of Phamaly Theatre Company from the US to perform Honk!, a musical based on the Hans Christian Andersen story of The Ugly Duckling. Honk! follows the story of Ugly, a unique kind of fowl, as he strays from his home on the farm. Along his journey, he meets a colorful cast of characters including a very hungry Cat, and discovers that being different isn’t bad, it’s just…different.
The cleverly directed production, staged in the US and then Tokyo, was lauded in both countries for its inclusive cast, high entertainment value and accessibility that catered to different audiences.
Stand By Me
June 3, 2020
TCF’s take on the Ben E. King classic hit Stand By Me was released in June 2020 at the height of the global pandemic. It brought together the talents, energies and hearts of more than 40 performing artists with disabilities from 15 territories. It was a message to raise awareness and inspire action in support of people with disabilities during the global COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This original music video, with an updated arrangement that included a rap segment, has amassed over 200,000 views since its launch. #StandByMe is a statement and an appeal that no one should be left behind.
This is Hip-Hop!: A True Colors Digital Event
26 September 2020
This is Hip-Hop! was a no-holds-barred online discussion with nine hip-hop innovators of diverse backgrounds who have found their voices, their souls, and their liberation in hip-hop. They’ve breakdanced and rapped in personal styles, brought hip-hop into the theater, overcome introversion, helped Deaf people “hear” music and spread their message around the world. As rapper and signer Amber Galloway-Gallego said, “a lot of humans do not like to accept the truth about what’s happening out there, and hip-hop serves to bring to light things that we only had knowledge of on the surface.”
The international panel engaged in an animated exchange of ideas about cultural appropriation, diversity and inclusivity, the reasons behind hip-hop’s bad press, stories of hip-hop culture’s role as an agent of social change, and best of all, their personal stories. The 80-minute session ended with a special finale, as 20 dancers from four cities — London, Jakarta, Singapore and Tokyo – danced to music and beats by Wheelsmith and scratch by LuqHere.
True Colors CIRCUS: SLOW CIRCUS PROJECT “T∞KY∞ – Too Good to be a Bug”
April 25 to 26, 2021
True Colors CIRCUS took audiences deep into a future forest called “T∞KY∞”. The lives of the resident bugs are interconnected, and each brings a unique perspective to the world they share. Through acrobatics, aerial arts, dance and play, the inhabitants of T∞KY∞ reflected a society in which lives of all abilities, ages, gender and nationalities could thrive together. The performance was made possible with the hard work of Social Circus, a group that makes the circus accessible to audiences and performers alike.
You Gotta Be
June 14, 2021
Hundreds of hours went into filming and producing You Gotta Be which featured a star-studded lineup that included America’s Got Talent alum Mandy Harvey, Grammy-nominated jazz musician Raul Midón, Strictly Come Dancing’s Chris Fonseca, and Kenta Kambara an accomplished aerial performer and dancer, among others.
The music video was a gentle encouragement as we dealt with life’s circumstances, to start each day listening, and looking up. Over 1.6 million people have viewed You Gotta Be, which continues to be a reminder that we can choose to be calm, bolder, stronger, wiser, whatever each day may bring, in the ways we can.
True Colors Festival in Azerbaijan
24 & 25 June, 2022
This year marks the 30th anniversary of friendship between Japan and Azerbaijan. In celebration of this special friendship, a two-day True Colors Festival event was held in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The TCF family came together with a talented crew of performers from Azerbaijan to co-create a night of performances that reflected the relationship between both nations. The end result was a beautiful showcase of talent, cross-cultural appreciation and diversity.
True Colors Festival: THE CONCERT 2022
19 & 20 November, 2022
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In November 2022, you can expect a stunning multimedia concert experience featuring an international line-up of singers, dancers and musicians from around the world. A celebration of beautiful diversity, THE CONCERT 2022 will shine the spotlight on the uniqueness of each artist while capturing the things that make us human.
The two-hour concert will present more than 20 groups and soloists from around the world performing on a single stage. Stellar performances, powerful moments of connection and original film content – together they’ll present a first-of-its-kind concert experience.
See you this November, as the True Colors Festival message of One World, One Family comes to life at Japan’s Tokyo Garden Theater.