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White Heron Dance 

Music: Alice Shields

Dance & Voice: Mayo Miwa

Video: Thomas Barratt & Mayo Miwa

April, July, 2017


The original White Heron Dance (Sagi-Mai) is a Japanese religious rite held at Yasaka Shrine in Tsuwano, Japan. Every Summer, on Julu 20 and 27, dancer dressed as white herons perform an elegant dance at certain locations in the town. The ritual was begun over 600 years ago, intended as a prayer for good harvests and to wipe out epidemics. 

In response to the music and dance of the Japanese ceremony Alice Shields and Mayo Miwa created White Heron Dance to be a contemporary ritual in which a human being experiences a moment of union with nature in the form of a heron. Alice created it from the cries of herons, hawks, eagles, songbirds and the human voice. Mayo Miwa studied Noh, who suggested the ancient Japanese Shinto ritual Sa-gi Mai upon which the piece is based. Alice recorded Mayo’s singing the ritual song in the folk style used by the Shinto priests and in the elaborate Noh recitational style. Mayo and Thomas created an accompanying video for the live performance. 

April 17, 2017

White Heron Dance (World premiere)      

@ The National Opera Center (Manhattan, NY)

White Heron Dance composed by Alice Shield, voice and dance performance by Mayo Miwa was presented at the National Opera Center on April 17. The program, produced by The Association for the Promotion of New Music and entitled "Computer Music Meets the Forces of Nature," @ 8pm, at 330 Seventh Avenue, NYC. For more info:

July 14, 2017

White Heron Dance  @National Sawdust (Brooklyn, NY)

White Heron Dance; composed by Alice Shield, voice and dance performance by Mayo Miwa, Video by Thomas Barratt & Mayo, was presented at National Sawdust on July 14. Part of the 2017 NYC-Electroacoustic Music Festival, the program, "Ancient Voices of the Computer" includes works by Joel Gressel, Jeff Hall, Stephen Dydo, Maurice Wright, and Joe Hudson, and is curated by the Association for the Promotion of New Music. For more info:


April, 2020 (postponed)

White Heron Dance to be performed    @2020 ISCM World New Music Days in New Zealand  

White Heron Dance was selected to be performed at the ISCM World New Music Days in New Zealand in April 2020. The work was submitted for consideration by the Roger Shapiro Fund for New Music.Concerts will take place in Auckland and Christchurch from April 21 - 30, 2020.




July - Aug, 2020

Hauser & Wirth  Gallery Online Exhibition 

White Heron Dance video screening
Music/Animation Composition
Dimensions variable, 14 minutes, 8 seconds 






White Heron Dance video 

Music: Alice Shields

Voice: Mayo Miwa

Video: Thomas Barratt



White Heron Dance (2017) — For fixed audio media, w optional video by Tom Barratt, and optional live dance by Mayo Miwa Duration 14:08

Computer music, with the sounds of herons, hawks, eagles, songbirds, frogs, crickets, and a voice singing in Japanese.

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