Dawn Akemi Saito is an actress, writer, and Butoh performer. Her multi-disciplinary work as well as her collaborations with major innovative artists have been seen across the United States, Europe, Asia and South America.

Created Work

Theatre and Multi-Disciplinary


Film Credits


Education and Training

SUNS ARE SUNS, a multi-disciplinary solo piece in collaboration with director Maria Mileaf.  Presented in Cambodia, Singapore, New York. Available to tour.


TOKYO FACES, a Butoh-influenced solo piece inspired by the art exhibit Reinventing Tokyo: Japan's Largest City in the Artistic Imagination at Amherst College's Mead Art Museum.


HOLE, a theater collaboration with director Maria Mileaf and Christine Sang and actress Elizabeth Hess.


Antigone in Action, a solo piece presented by Ripe Time and New Dramatists.


Choreographed Harry Partch’s DELUSION OF THE FURY, a multi-disciplinary music/theatre/dance piece at Japan Society, along with director John Jesurun and music director Dean Drummond.  Voted by Time Out as one of New York City’s best of 2007 music events.


Knock on the Sky, a national, international, multi-ethnic and multi-disciplinary performance collaboration premiered at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis and the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington, Vermont.  It was commissioned and work-shopped at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Walker Arts Center, University of California, Berkeley, Temple University in Philadelphia and in New York.

-a collaboration with composer Myra Melford, visual artist Michael Haberz and Butoh artist Oguri


Blood Cherries, performed at Dance Theater Workshop, the Asian American Writer’s Workshop,  New World Theater and Passage Theatre.  It was commissioned and work-shopped at New World Theater in Amherst, and the Institut International De La Marionnette, Charleville-Meziere, France. 

-directed by Jonathan Rosenberg and Sabrina Peck


Mujyo performed at the New York International Butoh Festival, with jazz artist Joseph Jarman.


My Face Of Us All at Orpheum Theater, Graz, Austria.

-a Music/Butoh collaboration with music by Myra Melford and visual elements designed by Michael Haberz


HA at Intersections at New World Theater, Amherst;  CalArts; Dance Theater Workshop, Electric Lodge; New World Theater; David Henry Hwang Theater,; LA Women’s Festival; Theater of Yugen/Theater Artaud; U.C. Santa Barbara, New York Theater Workshop

-commissioned by the Mabou Mines Suite Fund and directed by Maria Mileaf.


Leaves, Water, Sun at the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

-commissioned for the Millennium Project and performed in collaboration with musicians Joseph Jarman and Rob Garcia


Red Eye at the Whitney Museum.


HALO at the Mark Taper Forum; Highways in Santa Monica.

-directed by Charlie Otte


My House Was Collapsing Toward One Side, Dance Theater Workshop.

-a Butoh/theatre collaboration written and directed by Charles Mee, Jr. with music by Myra Melford


Pastime at LaMaMa, E.T.C.

-a solo Butoh/retro-futuristic theatre piece directed by Ernest Abuba


DreamCatcher at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre; Dance Theater Workshop; Aaron Davis Hall.

-a theatre piece incorporating Butoh movement and Flamenco dance and developed as part of the Public Theatre’s Asian American Playwright’s Lab


Shinran’s Lost Scrolls for the Buddhist Churches of America, New York.

-recipient of the San Francisco BCA Sudhara Award this work is based on the life of Shinran Shonin who founded Shin Buddhism in twelfth century Japan


Shinjin at the Museum of Natural History.

-performed as part of the series Contact: Cultural Change, Alternative Perspectives curated by Teddy Yoshikami


Let Go of My Face, LaMaMa, E.T.C.

-a Butoh duet


Stopped Bridge of Dreams

-directed by John Jesurun, La MaMa Annex


Alls Well That Ends Well

-directed by Barry Edelstein, part of the Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab


Symphony Space:  All Write! 

-hosted and directed by Isaiah Sheffer


Medead written and directed by Fiona Templeton, Governor’s Island, Roulette


Dragon v. Eagle! at Apollo Theater

- by Fred Ho and Ruth Margraff


She Wolf  at Japan Society, New York

-by Fred Ho and Ruth Margraff


Selected Shorts: a Celebration of the Short Story,  Live Theater and Radio Performances for NPR at Symphony Space in New York City, including tours to Miami, Washington, D.C. and the Getty Museum in Los Angeles

-Artistic Director, Isaiah Sheffer


Hiroshima Maiden at St. Anns’ Warehouse (New York), Yale University

-by Dan Hurlin


Arden/Ardennes at Theatre du Rond-Point, Paris

-by Roman Paska


Sonnets for an Old Century at Location One and The Barrow Group

-by Jose Rivera and directed by K.J. Sanchez


The Road Home at Taganka Theatre, Moscow

-directed by Lawrence Sacharow


‘Maid at the Lincoln Center Summer Festival

-by Erik Ehn and directed by Maria Mileaf


Hedda Gabler at the Old Globe Theatre

-by Ibsen and directed by Sheldon Epps


Jocasta at the Connelly Theater

- directed by Marya Mazor


Suddenly Last Summer and The Poet at the Hartford Stage Co.

-by Tennessee Williams and directed by JoAnne Akalaitis


Nothing Forever at the New York Theatre Workshop

-by Chiori Miyagawa


Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin at the Brooklyn Academy of Music

-by Bill T. Jones


Deshima at LaMaMa E.T.C. and tours to Japan and Singapore

-by Ping Chong


Elephant Memories in Boston and on tour in Bogata, Columbia

-by Ping Chong


Moby Dick In Venice at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre and on tour in Vienna

-directed by Roman Paska


Mirrors Remembered at the New York Stage and Film

-by Cary Wong and directed by Marya Mazor


Kitchen God’s Wife at the American Place Theatre

-by Amy Tan and adapted and directed by Wynn Handman


Wheat and the Moon at One Dream Theatre


American Dream at the Vineyard Theatre

-by Edward Albee and directed by Ernest Abuba


Midsummer Night’s Dream for the National Asian American Theatre Company


Photographs at S21

-by Catherine Filloux and directed by Wiliam Carden


The Cure and Chomolungma at the Gascon Theatre

-by Stephen Legawiecz


Dear Kenneth Blake at the Ensemble Studio Theatre

-by Jackie Reingold


Cambodian Odyssey: The Survivor at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre


And The Soul Shall Dance at the Pan Asian Repertory Theatre


Father/Daughter at California Plaza

-a dance piece by Victoria Marks


Parades and Changes at the Geffen Museum in Los Angeles

-by Anna Halprin


The Hours of the Season at the Electric Lodge in Venice, California

-created with Adam Rudolph, Joseph Jarman, Oguri and Dawn Saito


Wise Man of Nyokodo, by Casey Groves


Blind Sight and Explosions at La MaMa E.T.C.

-directed by Virlana Tkacz


Bombazeen at NADA

Household Saints, directed by Nancy Savoca


The Picture Bride


Mizu Shobai


Scenes From The Wasteland


Death By Unnatural Causes


The 900 Lives of Jackie Frye


The Speed of Gravity


Uchimura Prize Recipient represented by Theatre Communications Group and  presented by ITI-UNESCO.  Prize for recognition of creating theater work related to Japanese art and culture.


Asian Cultural Council Grantee to research and study Butoh, contemporary and classical theater and dance in Japan.


HA was published in Theater Communications Group’s Extreme Exposure, an anthology of solo performance texts from the twentieth century edited by Jo Bonney.


Burning for Baby was published in Ten Magazine, a publication of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.


Member of the Public Theater’s Shakespeare Lab, 2010.


Member of the Asian-American Playwrights Group at the Joseph Papp Public Theatre where she staged readings of her plays Hatchi And Bobbi and Karaoke Above The Clouds.


Directed Eva Mantell in her solo piece, Ozone Advisory at NADA.


Choreographed movement and Butoh influenced movement for Robert Woodruff’s Women of Trachis at New York University, JoAnne Akalaitis’ production of Dream Play at Juilliard, Yukio Mishima’s Modern Noh Plays at CalArts and Conference of the Birds at SUNY Purchase directed by Jonathan Rosenberg. 


Directed Her Story at CalArts.


Directed The Bacchae and Bulrusher by Eisa Davis at Fordham University.


Directed The Daddy Project at The Asian American Writer’s Workshop.


Directed Nine Bridges Back, a multi-diciplinary music/theatre/poetry piece written by Pulitzer Prize Winning Poet Yusef Komunyakaa at Harlem Stage.


Co-created with Marissa Chibas a panel at the TCG conference, 2009, on Aesthetic Diversity.


Currently Artist-in-Residence in the Theatre Department at Fordham University at Lincoln Center where she teaches movement for actors and acting.  She also was a faculty member at California Institute of the Arts Theatre Department and taught movement for graduate theatre students.  Additionally, she taught workshops at Bard College, Columbia University, New York University, Juilliard, Sarah Lawrence College, SUNY Purchase, Lincoln Center  Directors’ Lab,  Institut International De La Marionnette in France, International Conference of Drama Schools in Sinaia, Romania, Theater Mitu’s Summer Intensive, National Theater Institute at the Eugene O’Neill Center, Fordham University Theatre Institute in Orvieto, Italy, Walker Art Center, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Temple University.

B.A. Sarah Lawrence College for theatre, creative writing and dance.

University of Michigan


Dawn has also studied acting with: Ron Van Lieu, Enrique Pardo, Wynn Handman, Michael Howard, Vivian Matalon (Classical), Bram Lewis, Barry Edelstein (Shakespeare), Philip Gushee, Eric Morris, Tim Phillips, Alan Langdon, Janet Zarish, Lisa Benavides


Voice:  Pamela Prather, Penny Kreitzer, Chuck Jones, John Eppeler, Natsuko Ohama, Grace Zandarski, Kate Wilson, Robert Perillo


Writing and performance art:  Eduardo Machado, Thulani Davis, Jessica Hagedorn, Karen Hartman, Robbie McCauley, Meredith Monk House Members, Denise Uyehara


Dance: Aileen Passloff, Susan Osberg, Joy Kellman


Aikido:  Shihan Toyoda, Joseph Jarman


Butoh:  Mariko Okamoto, Oguri, Hakutobo,  Akira Kasai, Yukio Waguri, Dai Rakudakan, Ko Murobushi, Katsura Kan, Yoshito Ohno, Yuko Kaseki and Min Tanaka