Open Call: Benjamin Akio Kimitch

AUG 4 – 6, 2022
A reimagining of commodified East-meets-West stereotypes in dance

About this commission

In Tiger Hands, choreographer Benjamin Akio Kimitch dreams beyond the worn-out mantra of East-meets-West. Inspired by his formative training in Chinese dance and intimate encounters with Peking opera, Kimitch’s vision for his first production in five years is one of world making. With this performance, Kimitch continues a body of dance works that honor grief for his late mother, a third-generation sansei Japanese American, amateur taiko drummer, and folk dancer. “Tiger hands,” a Peking opera posture conventionally reserved for male characters, represents for Kimitch both a later-life reconnection to his formative non-Western dance training and cues for how he might enliven the early experimental energy that birthed this artform. Kimitch invites a diverse group of creative collaborators in his cosmic, sunrise-colored search for authentic personal expression, using elements of Peking opera as a transformative source of beauty and strength.
In The Works
Get to know the artist

Creative and Production Team

A photo of the artist Benjamin Akio Kimitch. Kimitch wears a white shirt and light falls on the left side of his face. The left background of the photo is in darkness.
Photo: Da Ping Luo.
Benjamin Akio Kimitch
A portrait of dancer Pareena Lim sitting with legs crossed, one arm lifted so that her right cheek rests on her hand.
Courtesy Pareena Lim.
Pareena Lim
A portrait of dancer Julie McMillan Castellano, who smiles with her eyes squinting and her lips open revealing the top row of her teeth. She wears her hair pulled back in a low bun.
Courtesy Julie McMillan Castellano.
Julie McMillan Castellano
A portrait of dancer Lai Yi Ohlsen. She is seen against a dark background at the bottom right of the photo posing with left arm stretched directly above her head, as if mid-dance.
Photo: Pratya Jankong.
Lai Yi Ohlsen
A portrait of dramaturg Jeffrey Gan. He has dark brown hair that curls on top with the sides of his head buzzed closer to the scalp. He grins broadly without opening his mouth.
Courtesy Jeffrey Gan.
Jeffrey Gan
A portrait of costume designer Carlos Soto. He sits in half shadow, with the left side of his face obscured. He wears round-rimmed glasses and a turtleneck and has a head shaved close to the scalp.
Photo: Maria Baranova-Suzuki.
Carlos Soto
A black-and-white portrait of lighting designer Serena Wong, smiling with closed lips. She has straight black hair and wears a black turtle neck under a sweater lighter in color.
Coutesy Serena Wong.
Serena Wong
Benjamin Akio Kimitch
Director and Choreographer
Benjamin Akio Kimitch is an artist and producer living in Brooklyn. His works are deeply influenced by his mixed-race Japanese American heritage and childhood training in Chinese dance in Minnesota. Kimitch was a 2021 visiting artist at the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University and a 2019 – 21 Movement Research artist-in-residence. His choreography has been presented by The Noguchi Museum, The Kitchen’s Dance and Process, and commissioned twice by Danspace Project. From 1995 – 2003 he studied Chinese folk and classical dance at Chinese American Dance Theater in Minneapolis under the artistic direction of Charlotte King, and in 2007, studied at Shanghai Theater Academy School of Chinese Opera. He holds a BFA in dance from NYU Tisch. Kimitch’s writing has been published in Movement Research Performance Journal, Dance Magazine, and Gibney Journal. Alongside his artistic practice, Kimitch is also a full-time arts worker. Starting this fall, he will be producer for the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center.
Pareena Lim
Pareena Lim is from Bangkok, Thailand, and moved to the United States to become a dancer. She received her BFA in dance from Purchase College, SUNY. A movement enthusiast, she enjoys studying, teaching, creating, and performing movement.
Julie McMillan Castellano
Julie McMillan Castellano is a Bronx-based artist and longtime collaborator of Benjamin Akio Kimitch. In 2017, she received an Outstanding Performance “Bessie” Award nomination for her work in Kimitch’s Ko-bu. She earned her BFA in dance and economics from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and has previously trained at the Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Austria. Castellano is currently a third-year MD candidate at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
Lai Yi Ohlsen
Lai Yi Ohlsen is an artist, writer, and researcher whose work considers systems and the narratives of their histories. She is a year 8 member of New Inc’s Art + Code Track in partnership with Rhizome, and was a spring 2020 technology resident at Pioneer Works and 2019 artist-in-residence at Movement Research. Since 2019, she has been the director of Measurement Lab, a fiscally sponsored project of Code for Science & Society, measuring the evolution of Internet performance.
Claire M Singer
Claire M Singer is a composer and performer of acoustic and electronic music, film, and installations. Known for her experimental approach to the organ, her work draws inspiration from the dramatic landscape of her native Scotland. Performances include Queen Elizabeth Hall, Glasgow Cathedral, Tate Modern, Westerkerk opening for Low, and the Barbican opening for Stars of the Lid. Awards include the Oram Award in 2017 for her innovation in sound and music and the Festival Castell de Peralada Award for best film score in 2019 (Tell It To The Bees). In 2020, her work Gleann Ciùin, which was commissioned by the London Contemporary Orchestra, was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award. Singer is published by Touch (UK).
Jeffrey Gan
Jeffrey Gan is a PhD candidate in the performance as public practice program at the University of Texas at Austin. His research engages food studies, performance studies, and sociocultural anthropology. He is currently a visiting fellow at KITLV/The Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies. Gan is a dramaturg and an artist working in performance installation. His installation work has been exhibited by W139 in Amsterdam and Center Space Project and the Cohen New Works Festival in Austin, Texas. He has collaborated with Benjamin Akio Kimitch, Helena Sanders, Sam Mayer, Charles O. Anderson/dance theater X, and travis tate.
Carlos Soto
Costume Designer
Carlos Soto is a designer based in New York City. Credits include, with Zack Winokur: Tristan und Isolde (Santa Fe Opera), Harawi (Festival d’Aix), Only An Octave Apart (St. Ann’s Warehouse), and The Black Clown (ART / Lincoln Center); with Solange Knowles and Wu Tsang: Passage (International Woolmark Prize 2021), Solange’s Nothing to Prove / Nothing to Say (Venice Biennale, 2019), Witness! (Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg / Sydney Opera House, 2019/20), and When I Get Home (film and concert tour, 2019). Soto has collaborated closely with Robert Wilson since 1997, most recently on Bach 6 Solo, Der Messias, and I was sitting on my patio this guy appeared I thought I was hallucinating.
Serena Wong
Lighting Designer
Serena Wong is a Brooklyn-based freelance lighting designer for theater and dance. Her designs have been seen at Lincoln Center, Fall For Dance at City Center, Danspace Project, and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. Most recently she has designed for choreographers Gemma Bond, Caleb Teicher, Leonardo Sandoval, and Jaamil Olawale Kosoko. She enjoys biking, baking, and pottery.
Michael Chua
Makeup Artist
Michael Chua is a makeup artist and men’s groomer from Malaysia who has called the United States home since 2001. Chua’s impeccable eye for beauty is informed by his love for all things art and design, shaped by his travels across five of the seven continents by his teens. His mission is to always see the mundane with fresh eyes and to communicate the complex and diverse nature of beauty in new and unexpected ways. Find Michael at
Justin Wong
Project Management
Justin Wong is a New York–based producer, composer, and performer. He has held positions at The Shed, National Sawdust, University Musical Society at the University of Michigan, and New York Public Radio. He has creatively collaborated on compositions and performances by artists such as Holly Herndon, Lyra Pramuk, and Colin Self that have been performed across Europe and the US, including at the Wiener Festwoche in Vienna with the Rundfunkchor and Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin and at MoMA PS1 in New York.

Creative and Production Credits

Benjamin Akio Kimitch, Director, Choreographer, Designer
Pareena Lim, Julie McMillan Castellano, Lai Yi Ohlsen, Dancers
Claire M Singer, Composer
Jeffrey Gan, Dramaturg
Carlos Soto, Costume Designer
Serena Wong, Lighting Designer
Michael Chua, Makeup Artist
Victoria Bek, Costume Supervisor
Justin Wong, Project Manager

“Forrig” and “Fairge” written and performed by Claire M Singer
Published by Touch Music/Fairwood Music UK Ltd

Shed Production Team

Itohan Edoloyi, Lighting Design Coordinator
DJ Potts, Audio Design Coordinator
You-Shin Chen, Scenic Design Coordinator
Josh Galitzer, Head Carpenter
Maytté Martinez and Stuart Burgess, Head Electricians
Seth Haling, Head Audio
Micah Zucker, Head Video
Ann Comanar, Head Wardrobe
Gianna Russillo, Wardrobe
Caren Celine Morris, Stage Coordinator

Additional Resources

Learn more about Tiger Hands in this video from Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University, where Kimitch was a visiting artist during the development of this work.

Acknowledgments from the artist

In memory of Phyllis Ono Kimitch 釋鼓舞. Thank you Park Avenue Armory, The Shed, and Invisible Dog Art Center for space. Peggy Cheng for fundraising guidance. Phil Chan, DaEun Jung, Josephine Lee, James Lo, Charlie Mai, Samita Sinha, Jennifer Wen Ma, and Yasuko Yokoshi for the conversations. Grant Zhuang for the master class. New York Chinese Cultural Center for spears. Teacher Guo Youngsheng 郭永胜老师 at Shanghai Theater Academy. Carla Peterson at MANCC. The Open Call panel and entire staff. Thank you to all my collaborators.

Tiger Hands was commissioned by The Shed as part of Open Call 2022. Development was made possible by the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at Florida State University; the Movement Research Artist-in-Residence Program; AUNTS: WPA Micro Stimulus program; a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant; and lead donations from Rob Krulak, Michael Crisafulli and Morty Newburgh, Brian Fitzpatrick, Cynthia Mayeda, Eileen and Alfred Ono, Gus Solomons Jr., and the generosity of many others listed at



Each performance includes accessible seating. Please let our ushers know if you are staying in a wheelchair for a performance or using a theater seat.

Assistive Listening

Assistive listening is available at The Shed via the free Listen Everywhere app on your personal device. To find directions on how to download the app, visit the Accessibility page. Devices are available for you to borrow at the ticketing desk if you do not want to use your own smartphone.

The Shed offers free Wi-Fi to facilitate your use of Listen Everywhere. Connect to the network TheShedFreeWiFi.

Audio Description

Live audio description will be available on Friday, August 5. Audio description is delivered via the free Listen Everywhere app.

Purchasing Tickets

The Shed’s online ticketing system includes the option to submit accommodation requests beyond the access points detailed here.

Contact Us

For questions or other requests, visit the Accessibility page, email, or call (646) 455-3494.


  • Running time: 40 minutes


This event takes place in The Griffin Theater.

What to Expect

Arriving at The Shed


Thank you for planning a visit to The Shed. We’re looking forward to welcoming you for Open Call. You are welcome to enter the building through one of three different entrances. These are located off of The Shed’s Plaza, at 545 West 30th Street, or on the Hudson Yards Public Square.

Arriving by Public Transportation

The closest accessible subway station is the 34 St–Hudson Yards/7 train station. It’s the final stop on the 7 subway line in Manhattan arriving from the east side and Queens.

The bus lines with stops closest to The Shed include the M11 along 10th Avenue, the M12 along 11th Avenue, and the M34 SBS, which provides select bus service to Hudson Yards along 34th Street.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority operates the Access-A-Ride program as a service for people with disabilities. Please visit the MTA’s Access-A-Ride webpage for more information.

Arriving by Car

This entrance provides an accessible passenger loading zone allowing for automobile pick-up and drop-off access to the building.

There are two parking garages in close proximity to The Shed on West 30th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. One is on the north side of the block, beneath Hudson Yards. An additional garage is located across the street from The Shed at 552 West 30th Street.


Tickets to Open Call will be checked by a staff member at the entrance to the theater or performance space, once you are inside. You should have received your tickets in an email. You can find them by searching for the address

Masks and Vaccination

Currently, visitors must wear a properly fitting mask covering their nose and mouth at all times while in The Shed, except when dining or drinking at Cedric’s, a bar in the lobby. Please noteL proof of vaccination is required for Yo-Yo Lin’s performances (July 8 – 9) and Kinetic Light’s performances (August 25 – 27).

Additional Information

For additional information about accessibility at The Shed, visit our Accessibility page. For any additional access needs or requests, please email or call (646) 455-3494.

Entering Through The Plaza

Outside The Shed

The Plaza is adjacent to the High Line, on the same level as the Hudson Yards Public Square and the 34 St–Hudson Yards/7 train subway station, which is serviced by an elevator.

On Friday and Saturday evenings from 5 pm to sunset, The Shed’s Plaza will be lively, with visitors enjoying DJs, dance, and music performances outside. There will be wooden structures covered in soft, recycled rubber that you can sit or lounge on to rest or enjoy the evening.

Entering the Building

The Plaza entrance at the southwest corner of the building is staffed by a friendly member of our Visitor Experience team who will greet you. They’ll be wearing a black t-shirt and ID badge on a purple lanyard. At this entrance, there are two glass doors that open outward. The floor inside the building is level with The Plaza as you enter.

Escalators and Elevators

Once inside, the building feels airy with high ceilings and large windows along the escalator bank a short distance down the hall from the entrance. Immediately on your left after entering will be an elevator if you would prefer to ride it to Level 4 for The Overlook or to Level 6 for The Griffin Theater. The escalators and elevators both open onto the hallway on each level where you will find the entrances to the performance spaces.


There are restrooms on the floor below in the lobby and on the floors above. The closest accessible and all gender restrooms are on Level 4, up one level.

Entering Through the Hudson Yards Public Square Entrance

Outside The Shed

This entrance is located along Hudson Yards Boulevard. The entrance is marked with The Shed’s name above it in white letters.

Entering the Building

This entrance is equipped with a push button to open the door, with a friendly staff member to greet you as you enter the building. They’ll be wearing a black t-shirt and ID badge on a purple lanyard.


From the entrance doorway, continue straight ahead, past the video screens and staircase , and then turn left. Down a short hallway you will find three restrooms: one with stalls, one with stalls and urinals, and a private, all gender restroom.


The staircase leads down into the main 30th Street Lobby. Behind the staircase to the right is an elevator that you can use to reach the lobby or to go up to Level 2 (Gallery), 4 (The Overlook), or 6 (The Griffin Theater).

Open Call performances take place in either the Level 4 Overlook or The Griffin Theater on Level 6.

Entering Through The 30th Street Lobby


The 30th Street Lobby entrance, between 10th and 11th Avenues, is on the street level beneath the Plaza level (beneath the High Line on West 30th Street). The 30th Street Lobby entrance is equipped with a push button to open the door, with a friendly staff member to greet you as you enter the building. They’ll be wearing a black t-shirt and ID badge on a purple lanyard.

The Bar

Before a performance, the Lobby may be lively. Cedric’s, a bar, is located in the lobby. Friends and visitors may be sharing drinks and snacks while music plays on overhead speakers. When less crowded, Cedric’s offers a calm, cool spot to sit and relax before or after a performance.

Escalators and Elevators

At the back of the lobby, you will find the escalator and elevators to the upper floors. The escalator is directly across from the main lobby doors, behind a transparent glass wall. Two elevators are located at either back corner of the Lobby, on the same wall as the escalator. One to the left and one to the right. The escalators and elevators both take you up to the main hallway on each level where you will find the entrances to the performance spaces.

Open Call performances take place in either the Level 4 Overlook or The Griffin Theater on Level 6.


Accessible restrooms are located in the back corner of the lobby, behind the escalators and adjacent to the bar. These restrooms include one with stalls and one with stalls and urinals. The nearest private, all gender restroom is located on Level 4.

Entering The Griffin Theater

Once you’re on Level 6, a staff member will be standing outside the performance space to greet you and check tickets. If you have any questions, there will be a solution station with another staff member to help you.

Once inside the theater, seating for performances is general admission, so you can choose from any available spot. The seats have armrests and thick cushions, and some are folding chairs that flip up as you stand up from them. If you would like help in finding a seat, a staff member at the entrance can guide you. If you would like to remain in a wheelchair during the performance, please let a staff member know. For ASL interpretation, a staff member will be available to direct you to a reserved section of seats close to the interpreter.

The nearest restrooms are located on this floor, to your right as you exit the theater. Follow the hallway away from the escalator landing. You will find one restroom with stalls and one with stalls and urinals, as well as a private, all gender restroom.

This Production


As you enter the theater, you will find seats sloped as in an amphitheater. Seats are arranged facing a performance area on the theater floor. You can either climb the stairs to find a seat or choose a seat on the floor level. If you’d like to remain in a wheelchair, a staff member at the entrance can direct you to the best position on the theater floor.

During the Performance

The stage includes a light blue carpet surrounded by white curtains. The performance will begin with solo dance performances. As the piece progresses the environment shifts. Color and mood evolve through lighting and other visual design elements, though there are no strobe or haze effects in the production.

Three dancers will move on the stage. The prerecorded music features a pipe organ, which is played at a high volume. The music includes very low bass registers, though there is no sudden or jarring use of changes in sound.

For any additional access needs or requests, please email or call (646) 455-3494.

Thank you to our partners

The Lead Sponsor of Open Call is
Support for Open Call is generously provided by

Additional support for Open Call is provided by Warner Bros. Discovery 150, The Wescustogo Foundation, and Jody and John Arnhold | Arnhold Foundation.

The creation of new work at The Shed is generously supported by the Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Commissioning Fund and the Shed Commissioners. Major support for live productions at The Shed is provided by the Charina Endowment Fund, with additional support from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.