Denise Fujiwara, dancer, choreographer (born Toronto 22 Aug 1954). Denise Fujiwara began her movement career as a member of the Canadian rhythmic gymnastics team. After competing at the international level she turned to dance, completing an Honours BFA at York University's dance department. In 1978 during the first National Choreographic Seminar, Fujiwara decided with other choreographers to found the collective Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise (TIDE). Over its tumultuous ten-year history, TIDE performed a diverse body of contemporary choreography, including Fujiwara's work, across Canada.
She created Fujiwara Dance Inventions in 1991 to continue her solo projects. Notably in 1993, she began studying butoh with master choreographer and performer Natsu Nakajima. Nakajima created her interpretation of Motomasa's 15th century Noh play, Sumida River, for Fujiwara. Sumida River established Fujiwara as a senior solo dance artist and butoh practitioner. Fujiwara premiered her second major butoh work, Komachi by Yukio Waguri, in 2005. Her solo projects and commissions include Spontaneous Combustion, Vanishing Acts, Elle Laments, Brief Incarnations, and Lost and Found. In addition, Denise Fujiwara has choreographed the acclaimed group works Conference of the Birds and No Exit. Notably, she has worked closely with dance dramaturge Elizabeth Langley.
Fujiwara is a master teacher and has taught workshops in Canada, the US, the UK, Europe, South America and India. A CBC Television documentary about her life and work, called Walls, won the 1995 GEMINI AWARD for best performing arts program. In 1997, Denise Fujiwara co-founded the CanAsian International Dance Festival, for which she is artistic director.