RAPHAEL GERONIMO has been part of the Vancouver Music Scene for many years, performing, teaching and directing for many of the city's best loved groups. Third generation in a family of professional musicians and dancers, he committed himself at age seventeen to serious musical studies under his father, Rene "Boying" Geronimo, and made his professional debut one year later. Continuing his training he studied in Cuba at the Laboratorio Internacional de Folklore and in New York City at the Harbour Center of Performing Arts.
Raphael continues to direct Rumba Calzada, an explosive latin jazz ensemble which was passed onto him by his father. Rumba Calzada has performed internationally and has been nominated for a 2002 Canadian Independent Music Award, 2002 Westcoast Music Award, 2002 Juno Award and a 2008 Western Canadian Music Award.
In 2008, Rumba Calzada performed at the Miri International Jazz Festival in Sarawak, Malaysia, representing Canada, and was voted back as the "crowd favourite" to return for 2009.
"Canadian based Rumba Calzada brought the house down with their eclectic mix of Latin, Salsa and Afro-Cuban rhythms." - Adam Lee, Music Room (Asia)
Raphael has also written music that has been featured on television programs such as the L Word, Godiva's, Dead Zone and Show Me Yours.
He also instructs drum and percussion work shops at schools and education centres throughout Canada and the United States and currently teaches drums at Long and McQuade Music Center.
Clad in austere black, YAYOI HIRANO's lithe figure unfurls a ribbon of movement on the stage: one moment she is hunched in the posture of age, the next rocking a child, shooting a gun, placing invisible flowers around her head with gestures as delicate as lace, as precise as time. Her face registers both history and the ineffable; the audience caught by awe at her lyrical transformations. YAYOI: one of the rare Japanese performers whose talent and creative spirit reach beyond the boundaries of their native land. Her contemporary productions, rooted in mime, dance, mask and drama, showcase a sculpted sense of physicality engaged in recreating traditional and modern narratives.
* YAYOI graduated from Toho Gakuen College of Performing Arts, co-founding the Mime Theatre Pierrot-kan in 1975 to popularize pantomime in Japan through modern works.
* YAYOI’s prolific career as a solo performer began in 1985. Her early one-woman shows included “A Woman”(1985) and “YAYOI DOJOJIi”(1988). In 1989, she became the first mime artist ever to receive the Ministry of Education Fellowship, and spent a year collaborating with artists in Germany and Canada.
*In 1990, she founded YAYOI Theatre Movement. Her extensive international performance credits include festivals in Italy, Germany, Spain, Holland, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria, Bulgaria, Poland, South Korea and Singapore as well as five North American tours. She has performed in 13 countries and 28 cities.
* YAYOI’s further shows include programs with prominent international artists. She has worked with Canadian photographer, Courtny Milne in “The Sacred Earth”(1995), with Japanese Jazz musician Terumasa Hino in “UZUME”(1996), with Artistic Director Halina Witek of the Theatre Het Klein from Holland in “BLAUBAAD”(1997) and “Divine Commedia”(1998), with the Fuchu-City Orchestra in “Borelo”(1997), and with Chinese opera singer Jin Youg Zie in “Carmen”(2000). In July and August 2001, Yayoi presented “Snow's daughter” with the leading Bulgarian mime artist Nicky Sotirov in Japan and Bulgaria. For this work Yayoi was awarded the Annual Prize of Bulgarian Actors for Experimental and Avant-garde Performance Art.
*YAYOI first visited Vancouver to perform at the Japanese Pavilion during Expo’86. Since then, she has returned to participate in numerous summer Fringe Festivals. In August 2001 she and Tokyo dance troop “RAKUDO” presented “A Human Nature” to three western Canadian Fringe audiences. In summer 2002 she brought a company of nine from Tokyo to perform the original work “Wind’s Traveler” at Fringe Festivals in Winnipeg, Swift Current, Saskatoon and Edmonton. Since becoming a permanent resident of Vancouver in the fall of 2002, YAYOI has continued to stun audiences with her performances and mask carvings, infusing an ancient art with the stark and supple imagination of the millennium.
“A beautiful, evocative piece...”(Minnesota Star Tribune)
“A fascinating and successful approach to communication through mime and body language. Her face and body are exquisite in their expressiveness.”(The Gazette Montreal)
“Graceful and unequivocal, an emotionally subtle and visually stunning manner”
(The Edmonton Sun)
“What amazing pleasure dwells in the theatre of Yayoi Hirano!…a glittering jewel of contemporary performance...An extraordinary experience.” (The Edmonton Journal)
“A very gifted Japanese soloist Yayoi Hirano...Her performance was a highly elaborate technical and acting masterpiece” (PRADA Slovakia)
“There are few women solo mime artists in the world. Among them, Yayoi Hirano is one of the greatest...”(Chunchon International Mime Festival in South Korea)
“Yayoi will forever dispel the notion that the words “mime” and “artist” cannot be used in the same sentence.” (Banana Magazine Summer 2001)