Art has two primary goals: to push boundaries and to reach as many people as possible. The Aichi Prefectural Art Theater (APAT) in Nagoya actively strives to achieve those goals with programs specifically aimed at children, support for handicapped audiences, and even babysitting services designed to help parents take in a stage show. Those are great ways to get people in the theater, but once inside, the APAT’s efforts do not stop. 

The institution’s exciting repertoire includes presentations that promote cultural diversity and inclusion, as well as bold and challenging performances such as “Heavenly Gardens” (Tenjo no Niwa) by the theater’s Art Director Saburo Teshigawara.


A Heavenly Union of Sound and Movement

It’s impossible to fully explain what “Heavenly Gardens” is using just words. It’s being billed as a concert but it’s really more of a dance-and-music experience where sound and movement become one in a way you probably have never seen before. In essence, the show centers around a garden of pure freedom and joy up in the sky where people play and frolic without a care in the world, away from the troubles of everyday life. There is much more that can be said about the live performance, but nothing that’d come close to experiencing it firsthand at the Aichi Prefectural Art Theater’s Concert Hall on September 16 and 17.

Meet the Players

“Heavenly Gardens” is the brainchild of Saburo Teshigawara who acts as the director, lead performer, lighting designer, and selector of music. An internationally-renowned dance icon, Teshigawara has been acting as the Aichi Theater’s Art Director since April 2020. His residency, which will last until 2024, is the result of a lifetime of hard work and accolades, including the Purple Ribbon Medal (2009), the Officier rank of L’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2017), and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale (2022).

Joining him on stage will be Rihoko Sato, Teshigawara’s creative assistant, frequent collaborator and accomplished solo dancer. A trained gymnast, Sato has made a name for herself with her dynamic dance movements that range from delicate and subtle to explosively expressive. After years of perfecting her craft, Sato was awarded the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s Art Encouragement Prize for dance in 2018. Providing musical accompaniment to her and Teshigawara’s emotionally-impressive performances will be cello virtuoso Jonathan Roozeman.

Courtesy la biennale di Venezia. Photo by Andrea Avezzù.

Saburo Teshigawara In His Own Words

Upon his appointment at the Aichi Prefectural Art Theater, Teshigawara expressed his hope that the post would prove to be an “opportunity to arouse my new adventurous spirit” and aid him in the “discovery of beauty and facing many unexpected things.” He also stated his desire for creating “a pathway of emotions from the body towards unknown secrets that are not waiting for future plans neither is an old-fashioned avant-garde that only overturns recognition.” 

To see a culmination of those efforts, attend “Heavenly Gardens” if you get the chance.

Facility Information, Prices and Schedule

The Aichi Prefectural Art Theater’s performance of “Heavenly Gardens” will take place twice in September. Tickets can be purchased through the theater’s official website and other online services.

The theater can be accessed via a 5-minute walk from Sakae Station (Higashiyama Subway Line, Meijo Subway Line) or Sakae-Machi Station (Meitetsu Seto Line). Visitors planning to travel to Nagoya by plane can reach the theater from the Chubu Centrair International Airport via the Meitetsu μ-SKY Limited Express (Meijo Subway Line).

For more information on “Heavenly Gardens” see our event listing.


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