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Denise Fujiwara

As we approach the 20th anniversary of Older & Reckless, we shine a light on the senior artists who we are honoured to feature in our celebrations, including the sublime DENISE FUJIWARA

This is a photograph of Denise in Sumida River, a work by Natsu Nakajima that was scheduled for Older & Reckless in the Fall 2020.


We asked DENISE to please share a quote that guides and inspires during this time of COVID."

Not knowing is most intimate.” - Zen master Dizang

This is an old Zen koan, an enigmatic bit of wisdom, that was given to me by my Zen teacher as I set off to walk the 88 Temples Pilgrimage on the island of Shikoku for a month in 2014 (a gift from The Theatre Centre).

Far from calm and contemplative, I found that I was in a constant state of ‘not knowing’ on my pilgrimage. I never knew if or what I would eat, where I would be sleeping that night, and often, where I was. This is the state we’ve awakened to in this time of COVID. We desperately want to know; how to avoid the virus, how to help, when will a vaccine be discovered, when will this be over, what day is it?!

On returning home from Shikoku, even though things seemed more ‘knowable', more familiar and regular, I noticed that the only thing that I can truly know is the present moment. I found this to be freeing. The term “intimate” in this koan, means enlightened. So, “Not knowing is most enlightened.”

May you be safe and at ease in this time of not knowing.

– Denise Fujiwara


Denise Fujiwara is a recipient of the Toronto Arts Foundation’s Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in Dance. EUNOIA, a multimedia work based on Christian Bök’s award winning book, premiered at World Stage in Toronto, was named one of NOW’s Top 5 Dance Shows of 2014, and is touring nationally. Her 6 exquisite solo concerts have toured to four continents. International commissions include Cuenta las Estrellas, for la Compania Nacional de Costa Rica and Broelliner Geists for eX-it ’11 in Germany. In 2015 she was a soloist in the Luminato Festival's extravaganza, Apocalypsis, under Lemi Ponifasio. Her current work-in-progress, Moving Parts, involves singing dancers, a community choir and pop songs, and is about finding our way in a world full of conflict. Trained under Butoh master, Natsu Nakajima, she teaches Butoh and improvisation in Toronto and abroad.

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