Born in Hiroshima, Japan, three years after the end of World War II, Shizumi Shigeto Manale’s numerous artistic endeavors are dedicated to promoting multicultural understanding and acceptance. As a world-renowned dancer, choreographer, author, and film producer, she has devoted her entire life to art and cultural expression. Running with Cosmos Flowers, her first English-language novel, shares a topic with her documentary film Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard, which has been screened at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the Embassy of the United States in Tokyo, and the National Press Club. Her PBS documentary Geisha: An Artist’s Journey premiered at the National Geographic Society headquarters and was selected for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. She has directed several award-winning plays and worked with Placido Domingo on the Washington National Opera’s performance of Madame Butterfly.
Manale served as the artistic director of the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, DC, for seven years and directed a children’s dance company that performed for President Clinton at the White House Millennium Celebrations. She also wrote and choreographed a joint United States-Japan musical theater production for deaf and hard-of-hearing students at Gallaudet University. Manale has been honored by Montgomery County, Maryland, with a County Executive’s Award for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities and is the recipient of a President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Classically trained in Noh and Kyogen theater and Jiuta-mai dance, Manale studied dance at the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and numerous other schools throughout the United States and Japan. After studying at the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, she founded Shizumi Dance Theatre to teach others the art of Japanese movement. She lives with her husband in Silver Spring, Maryland.