A Brief History of lchiFuji-kai
DECADE 1: HIGHLIGHTS from THE SIXTIES
1961: Fujima Nishiki settles in New York City intending to begin teaching dance. Maggie Newman becomes her first student at the Nippon Club, followed by Shizue Giammarino and by May 1963, by Dodnina Lois-Rubin.
1965: In addition to dance class at the Nippon Club, Fujima Nishiki was involved with IASTA (Institute for Advanced Studies in the Theatre Arts), as were some of her students. Under IASTA's auspices, Maggie Newman was an onstage assistant in Ikaku Senin directed by Kita Sadayo.
1967: She also assisted onstage as koken for Kanjincho directed by Matsumoto Koshiro VIII and Nakamura Matagoro II. That same year, Fujima Nishiki assisted Matsumoto Koshiro VIII, for Kanjincho at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. In December, Fujima Nishiki assisted the Village Light Opera Group with their production of Kabuki Mikado, which was a huge success. During this decade, she also danced “Ume wa san-san” from Musumi Dojoji on The Mike Douglas Show, a daytime TV show filmed in NYC.
The group also performed in the Tokyo-New York Sister City celebration, the Meiji Centennial Celebration, and as far afield as Philadelphia, PA; Massachusetts and Minnesota.
DECADE 2: HIGHLIGHTS from THE SEVENTIES
1972: There was a special group performance at the Nippon Club to welcome distinguished visitors from Japan, Fujima Kanjuro VI and his daughter, who later became Fujima Kanjuro VII.
1975: Dodnina Lois-Rubin and her sister, Mercedes Lois-Castro, a well-known Spanish dancer, created and first performed in Japan's Classical Dance and the Dances of Spain, at CAMI Hall, NYC.
1976: The group traveled to Washington, D.C., to dance in the July 4th Festival celebrating the 200th Anniversary of 1776.
1977: In September, Maggie Newman and Dodnina Lois-Rubin become the first two non-Japanese ever to become Natori – Fujima Kingo and Fujima Kinka, respectively.
Other performances included in Woodstock, NY and New Hope, PA; for Mayor Lindsay's concert series; in galas at the Waldorf Astoria, and Roosevelt Hotel; at Long Island University; and in every Obon Festival until 1978.
DECADE 3: HIGHLIGHTS from THE EIGHTIES
1980: Japan's Classical Dances and the Dances of Spain, was performed for the second time in CAMI Hall, and again in 1981 at Bergen Community College, NJ.
1981: A full concert for Ikebana International was performed at Japan Society. That same year, Kyoko Ohnishi received Natori, becoming Fujima Konishiki.
1984: For three consecutive weekends in August and September, Fujima Nishiki and selected students flew to Puerto Rico, and performed in the Japon: Dinastía '84 Festival: A Celebration of Plaza Las Americas, sponsored by Isuzu.
1986: Maggie Newman, Dodnina Lois-Rubin, and Kyoko Ohnishi (Fujima Kingo, Fujima Kinka, and Fujima Konishiki, respectively) became Shihan (teacher). Fujima Nishiki was honored by the Soke Fujima-ryu with the title Tokubetsu Shihan (Teacher Extraordinaire).
1989: Fujima Kanjuro VI visited with his daughter, Fujima Michinori, celebrating his birthday with Fujima Nishiki and members of IchiFuji-kai at Windows on the World in the World Trade Center.
During this decade, Fujima Nishiki performed Musume Dojoji at the Japanese Ambassador's residence, and at the UN in 1987. There were many more performances, including for the Brooklyn and New York Botanical Gardens; Seton Hall University; Newark Museum; Japan Day Parade; a fund-raising gala for the NYC Public Library; and at the American Museum of Natural History.
DECADE 4: HIGHLIGHTS from THE NINETIES
1991: The group was incorporated by Miyoko Watanabe, Kiyomi Kawaguchi and Helen Moss as a New York State not-for-profit corporation under the name IchiFuji-kai Dance Association, Ltd.
1995: Fujima Nishiki led a Kabuki Dance Workshop for Barnard Students, with 60 participants onstage at the Miller Theatre.
1998: Fujima Nishiki was in residence at the 1998 Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) Conference, San Antonio, TX, assisted by two students. Later that year, she spoke about “Kabuki Abroad?” on the panel, Women In Japanese Theater (part of the Japanese Theater in the World exhibition at Japan Society) organized by Dr. Deborah Klens-Bigman. Helen Moss and Yoko Shirakata received Natori, becoming Fujima Nishiki-no and Fujima Nishikiyo, respectively.
During this decade, IchiFuji-kai began to produce and present more of its own dance concerts: at NYU, Tenri Cultural Center, FIT, and Marymount Manhattan Theatre, using Taipei Theatre as its most regular venue. Other performances included Seton Hall University; Tibetan Museum; Pace University; and Symphony Space
DECADE 5: HIGHLIGHTS from THE AUGHTIES
2001: Fujima Nishiki's 40th Anniversary teaching Japanese classical dance in NYC was celebrated with an afternoon of dance and a champagne reception, and in October, she was honored with the Foreign Minister’s Award (Gaimudaijin-sho).
2002: The celebration continued with IchiFuji-kai in Concert, at Taipei Theatre, highlighting Fujima Nishiki's 40-year contribution to classical Japanese dance.
2003: IchiFuji-kai performed at the Third Annual Association for Asian Performance (AAP) Conference in NYC.
2004: A concert at the Lighthouse Theatre celebrated the 150th Anniversary of the Relationship between the US & Japan (1854-2004).
2005: Helen Moss and Yoko Shirakata (Fujima Nishiki-no and Fujima Nishikiyo, respectively) received Shihan. Mieko Takahashi received Natori, becoming Fujima Nishiki-mie. Upon Fujima Nishiki's retirement, IchiFuji-kai became the New York branch of the Soke Fujima-ryu, and its members became direct students of Fujima Kanso III and Fujima Kanjuro VIII.
2006: Mieko Takahashi (Fujima Nishiki-mie) received Shihan.
2007: During the visit of the Heisei Nakamura-za in July, Fujima Kanjuro VIII held dance classes and arranged a Makeup Workshop with Kabuki actors.
2010: IchiFuji-kai was in residence at Lafayette College, Easton, PA, presenting a series of workshops and a performance.
There were many other performances and workshops, including recurring performances at Hunter College; White Plains Sakura Matsuri; Japan Arts Matsuri (JAM); Black Ships Festival, Newport, RI; workshops at Marymount Manhattan, and performances at Vallhala, Nyack, Garden City, NY and Brooklyn College.