A native of Japan, Oguri became inspired to dance after meeting Butoh founder Hijikata Tatsumi in 1983. He started performing in 1985 with famed dancer Min Tanaka's company Mai-Juku and began performing solo dance in the avant-garde scene in Tokyo. He also became Min Tanaka’s lighting designer. A founding member of Body Weather Farm in Hakushu in Yamanashi prefecture west of Tokyo, Oguri practiced traditional organic farming, experiencing the rhythms and cycles of this most human lifestyle. The connection of the human body to nature is a foundation of Oguri’s dance.

In 1991 Oguri moved to Los Angeles and formed Body Weather Laboratory (BWL) LA with Roxanne Steinberg. He toured extensively in California, and nationally as well as in Europe, South Africa and Japan. In 1993 Oguri formed his own dance company that has performed at Grand Performances, UCLA, Long Beach Museum of Art, Highways, Barnsdall Arts Park, California State L.A., Japan America Theater and the Getty Museum and other venues.

Oguri’s choreography emphasized the unpredictable. In Behind Eyeball (Cal State LA 1995) he explored the emergence of perception and the manifestation of feeling, introducing challenging set designs and a raked stage. In The Effect of Salt (Cal State LA, 1996), he utilized animal movement, built a large zigzagging ramp and a canvas backdrop with a single giant brush stroke of black paint - Motherwell style.

Site-specific performances have been a mainstay of Oguri’s work garnering special invitations to choreograph works for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House in November 1995 and Antoine Predock’s Rosenthal House in May 1996. In Noguchi’s garden California Landscapes, Oguri referenced the garden’s history as a lima bean farm by provocative use of Stephen Foster music and pioneer style costume. Drift, created for the Grand Performances was an inspired use of the fountain, stage, water, and walkways and uniquely included the sunset and rising full moon. With three repeat performances, it led to a 1997 project commission from the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Arts Partners Program for A Flame in the Distance at the Watercourt. His 1995 dance film Traveling Light directed by Morleigh Steinberg was entered in festivals internationally and received numerous awards.

In 1998 Oguri received a New England Foundation for the Arts National Dance Project grant and a Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund for In Between the Heartbeat, a collaboration with the noted modern artist (and Buddhist monk) Hirokazu Kosaka. They explored traditional arts and aesthetics such as Kyudo (archery) and Bunraku puppetry, filtered through a contemporary vision.

Since 1995, Oguri has toured nationally in improvisational works with composer/percussionist Adam Rudolph. In May 1999, through a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), he presented Earthbeat, an educational outreach project (free of charge to the public). The Earthbeat project is now an annual event with the name Flower of the Season, which has taken place at the Electric Lodge, the Japan American Cultural and Community Center, and Beyond Baroque. Since 2000 it has been supported by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the DCA. As a City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A) Fellowship Artist, in 2000, Oguri performed the stream of consciousness at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Oguri’s Flower of the Season performances and workshops have continued to be sponsored and produced at the Electric Lodge with the support of the DCA, the LA County Arts Commission and BWL for over 20 years.

In 1998, Oguri was awarded the title of artist-in-residence at the Electric Lodge in Venice where he conducts on-going BWL dance workshops. BWL training has attracted people from fields as diverse as medicine to music. BWL fosters individual creativity with exercises in imagery, time concepts, sensory and spatial awareness and rigorous muscle/bone, mind/body training. The work applies to dance and other fields including theater, film, visual arts and life science.

Oguri has taught at UCLA, USC, Cal State LA, Art Center Pasadena, Sci-Arc, Cal Arts, Scripps College, Pomona College, Evergreen College, University of Massachusetts, Anna Halprin’s Mountain Home, Marin Co. and at art centers in San Diego, Taos NM and internationally at University of Capetown, South Africa, Trinity College, the Dance Theater of Ireland; and arts centers in London, Glasgow, Utrecht, Italy, Yugoslavia (south Serbia, Vojvodina region); Brussels, Belgium; La Pommerie, France: Raravis studio, L’animal, Barcelona Spain;
White Cloud Studio, Kyoto, Japan;. Body Landscape Workshop with Christine Quoiraud and Frank van de Ven in Europe and US. He has hosted workshops for Kazuo Ohno and Eiko and Koma. He has also presented world-class performers in Los Angeles area including Min Tanaka (Japan) and Christine Quoraud (France).

Oguri received the Irvine Fellowship in Dance from 2000-2003 and a California Arts council Artist Fellowship 2000 for the research and development of Height of Sky, a site-specific dance project that took place in the Mojave and Colorado deserts. It was an investigation of the relationship between dancer and environment, and explored the development of his identity as a Japanese dancer in America. Oguri won the Lester Horton Dance Award 2000 for his solo dance. The documentary directed by Morleigh Steinberg, Height of Sky, about his desert project received 2007 Choreography Media Honor of Dance Camera West and screened on the Sundance channel.

Through the 2005 Dance: Creation to Performance Grant from The James Irvine Foundation and administered by Dance/USA, Oguri’s Caddy! Caddy! Caddy! -William Faulkner Dance Project was developed and performed at Electric Lodge in 2006 and at REDCAT 2007. With a grant from the National Endowment of Arts 2008-2009 Caddy! Caddy! Caddy! was performed at the Indianapolis Museum of Arts 2009. In November 2016 Oguri reconstructed the piece for site-specific performances at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.

In 2011 Oguri formed ARCANE Collective with Morleigh Steinberg for dance production and touring. Oguri co-choreographed Cold Dream Colour- Dance Homage to Louis le Brocquy, Ireland’s Foremost Living Artist. The piece premiered in Dublin, Ireland, was performed at REDCAT, Los Angeles, at Works and Process at the Guggenheim Museum NYC and BodyVox, OR.

Oguri was chosen for the 2011 Choreographers in Mentorship Exchange (CHIME) as mentor of Prumsodun Ok. He was a 2012 Chora Artist of the Metabolic Studio.

His major full-evening work choreographed and directed in collaboration with Morleigh Steinberg, Return to Absence, based on Samuel Beckett's trilogy Malone, Molloy Dies and Unnamable was developed and toured 2014 - 2016 in Los Angeles, Dublin, New York and Barcelona.

Most recent projects include large site-specific works at parks in Los Angeles. In May 2017, Sunrise to Sunset, 15 hours solo dance in FIESTA PERPETUA! was performed at Echo Park Lake, Los Angeles and in July 2017, Oguri choreographed The Distance is Beautiful for 60 dancers performed at Grand Park in Downtown Los Angeles.

Oguri was awarded 2018 USA Doris Duke Fellow.


Narrative Statement

Finding inspiration from life, practice and performance are integrated. Juxtaposing the wild vibrancy of being an animated being with the unsullied purity of space, time, and energy, I coax attention to subtle instinctual movement highlighted in discrete contexts. What happens when focused awareness recalibrates the viewer's attention to every micro-detail as it unfolds? What is the genesis of dance? Where does it originate? How does it begin? These questions are the actual content of my practice. With focus on the interaction between dancer and environment, urban, natural, or imaginary, I make dance. 

My work in Los Angeles began with my desire to communicate with others. I established La Boca Studio/Theater where I began leading Body Weather Laboratory (BWL) workshop, mentoring others, presenting solo performance and group choreography for my dance ensemble Renzoku. To this day I continue to lead BWL, a dance research forum that has nurtured and anchored my practice. My work developed to include site-specific and larger performances, taking me to surrounding theaters. I began to collaborate with an array of visual artists and jazz musicians, maintaining a network with colleagues from Europe to Japan. 
In 2001, something in me shifted. Feeling an inexplicable attraction to the California desert, I began project “Height of Sky”. For two years, I put my body in the desert sand, charting the land as a resource for dance/life. Inundated by the harsh environment, myself voided, yet, strangely grounded to continue. 
My exploration of iconic American cultural landscapes led from the desert to the literary landscape of William Faulkner's Deep South. Words of blood, family and race, exploded my psyche. From there, synergies with fictional constructed worlds of painters and writers including Louis le Brocquy and Samuel Beckett returned me to the structure of theater and deeper into my pursuit of the inherent relationship between space, time and movement. Whether badland environments or imagined worlds, the ability to inspire is the same. I have come to embrace the pendular pattern of my creative process. From self to other, soloist to collaborator, researcher to teacher, creator of large dynamic sets and lighting designs to minimalist dancer from nature to theater, a dancer for over 30 years, I am in constant evolution but, I am as I began, inspired by the revolutionary power of dance.