Last spring, as Japan’s heavy travel restrictions for visitors persisted, thoughts about division and isolation weighed on Sophia Noel, a Bay Area native who currently lives in Tokyo. As the dancer was reviewing performing arts grants, she wondered, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to create a piece that showcases both San Francisco and Japan?”

She took that musing further, imagining the borderless exchange of ideas: “The person across the world from you is your neighbor, is someone you can reach out to and work with and collaborate with, as well as find joy and humanity with,” Noel elaborates.