Elaine N. Fong is the founder and a board member of Odaiko New England, one of the few taiko (Japanese drum) groups in Massachusetts. She has over twenty years of taiko performance, teaching and administrative experience. In addition to taiko, Ms. Fong has over ten years of dance training. Ms. Fong is also a certified TaKeTiNa instructor at the basic level.
Ms. Fong is a former member and currently an honorary member of Soh Daiko of New York. Ms. Fong has received instruction from Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka, artistic director of San Francisco Taiko Dojo; from renowned taiko soloist Kenny Endo, artistic director of the Taiko Center of the Pacific; Ms. Tiffany Tamaribuchi, Artistic Director of the Sacramento Taiko Dan; Mr. Marco Lienhard, Artistic Director of Taikoza, and the world famous Kodo drummers of Japan.
Ms. Fong’s compositions for Odaiko New England include a contemporary dance and taiko piece, “Awakenings,” written in collaboration with John Iversen. For the millennium First Night Boston celebration, Ms. Fong wrote “Passages.” In conjunction with Odaiko New England, Ms. Fong has created a taiko theater piece, “Real M2,” which premiered at the 2001 North American Taiko Conference.
Ms. Fong has also worked across disciplines, collaborating with choreographer Arawana Hayashi, artistic director of the Jo Ha Kyu Dance Company, and also with choreographers Richard Colton and Amy Spencer. She collaborated with choreographer/dancer Tara Ahmed on a contemporary Indian dance entitled, “Lasaya: The Female Aspect of Celestial Dance”. In 2003, she composed the musical score for the Greek drama, “Tereus in Fragments”, which premiered at the Boston Center for the Arts. In 2004, she composed the music for Antigone, performed at the Concord Academy.
As a taiko instructor, Ms. Fong has taught workshops and classes in Boston, Western Massachusetts, and Western New York. She has developed, in conjunction with educators, a very popular and well-received lecture demonstration format for school-based shows. In 1993, Ms. Fong was the taiko instructor and performer for Camouflage Makers, a piece commissioned by Dance Umbrella about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. From 1994 – 95, Ms. Fong served as the interim general manager of San Jose Taiko.
Ms. Fong was a Community Fellow at the Boston Foundation, where she helped to develop the Foundation’s arts grantmaking program. She has also been a consultant in the arts and the general field of non-profit management, with clients that include the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Institute of Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts/Boston. In the past, she has been a senior analyst for the New York City Department of Housing, Preservation and Development. She has also been the Director of Development for the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, and the operations manager for a Finnish reinsurance company.
Ms. Fong received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and a Masters in Public and Private Management from the Yale School of Organization and Management. In addition to her experience in the arts, Ms. Fong has over sixteen years of not-for-profit administrative experience. She has also worked in the public and private sectors. She is currently a board member of the YWCA Boston, and a United Way allocations committee volunteer.