Story of Sono Osato, Sono’s Journey Premiered in Chicago
Sono’s Journey, Japanese-American dancer Sono Osato’s amazing story, was
premiered on January 9 at the Auditorium Theatre stage where she auditioned
and was immediately accepted by the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo 82 years
ago. On the discovery of Sono’s story, the Thodos Dance Chicago transformed
it in the form of dance performance.
• Sono Osato, now 96 years old, traveled
from New York by train and attended a pre-performance reception with her
• Consul General Toshiyuki Iwado spoke about the Japan-Chicago relationship that started with the Columbian Exposition, Sono and her family’s sufferance during WWII, and Sono’s success in Broadway amid the sentiments against Japanese Americans.
• Melissa Thodos, Thodos Dance Chicago Founder & Artistic Director, created, choreographed, and directed Sono’s Journey based on repeated interviews with Sono. Melissa said that Sono’s Journey was special and unique, and she was honored working on the piece.
An Interview with Sono’s Son
• Niko Elmaleh, Sono’s son, spoke about
his young days of memories about Sono in a Chicago Shimpo’s interview.
He said, “She was a great mother and always very warm. She was a very
strong woman and disciplined.”
• Elmaleh talked about an anecdote when he applied for a passport. When an elderly woman with gray hair looked at his document, she asked him, “Is Sono Osato your mother?” She said that she saw Sono when she was a little girl, and her performance was amazing.
• Unfortunately, Elmaleh didn’t remember
his grandfather Shoji Osato because he lived in New York, and Shoji lived
in Chicago and passed away when he was seven or eight years old. On the
other hand, he had a little memory of his grandmother Frances.
• Niko Elmaleh didn’t become a dancer and took a real estate and investment business career as his father Victor did. Through his investment business, he has worked with Kobe Steel in Japan on the green energy technology.
Further performance schedules of Sono’s Journey are:
• Mar/5 (Sat) at 7:30 pm
Thodos Dance Chicago’s Sono’s Journey is a stirring story dance celebrating the life of legendary Japanese-American dance artist, Sono Osato. Pictured, front, red dresses, from left: Thodos Dance ensemble member Abby Ellison, Shelby Moran and Jessica Miller Tomlinson portray Sono during different chapters of her life. Photo credit: Chloe Hamilton
Thodos Dance Chicago’s Sono’s Journey is a stirring story dance celebrating the life of legendary Japanese-American dance artist, Sono Osato. Pictured: (front row, second from left, head down) Thodos Dance ensemble member Jessica Miller Tomlinson as Sono as a young girl in dance class. Photo credit: Chloe Hamilton