Workshops for Colleges, Theaters, and Festivals

Motoko has over 20 years experience as a workshop leader. Sponsors have the following options.


Workshops for Teachers




Workshops for Storytellers




The Spirit of Japan: Teaching about Japan through Folktales


For K-8 teachers. How can we develop children’s interest in, appreciation of, and respect for a culture different from their own? Folktales can be an engaging tool to provide students with an understanding of history and the universality of human culture. Come prepared for great stories and new ideas for your classroom!


Motoko will discuss basics of Japanese folklore, history, and religions, and ways to incorporate arts into classroom teaching. Participants will also write and tell their own adaptation of Japanese folktales. The format includes performance, lecture, and participatory activities. Participants will receive bibliography and other resources.


Embody! Physical Eloquence in Narrative Performances


Activate your performance by increasing your physical vocabulary to support your text. Motoko’s exploratory approach includes a system of analysis of body language and gestures developed by French philosopher François Delsarte (1811-1871.) Through gentle hands-on exercises, group observation and in-depth discussion, Motoko provides you with essential tools for portraying characters and situations, and for guiding your audience to fully imagine the story you tell. This workshop is for performers of all levels of experience. Please wear comfortable clothing, and come ready to move and have fun!


Ogres, Demons, and Jealous Spirits: Introduction to Japanese Ghost Tales



Ghosts, ogres, and demons populate Japanese folklore in abundance unequaled in any other tradition. Where did they come from? What makes them unique? What knowledge would help Western storytellers better understand and appreciate Japanese ghost stories, and tell them with authenticity and respect?


In a combination of performance, lecture and hands-on work, Motoko will take participants on a journey into the fascinating world of supernatural tales from Japan. Following the works of woodblock-print artist Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849) and journalist-scholar Lafcadio Hearn (1850-1905), participants will explore the spiritual realms of medieval and pre-modern Japan. Motoko will discuss the influences of Shinto, Taoism, Buddhism and feudalism in the formation of the ancient ghost stories, and lead participants to a deeper understanding of their historical and cultural contexts.


This workshop is appropriate for storytellers and story lovers of all levels of experience. Participants will receive an extensive bibliography of resources for further study.


RAKUGO: Comical Tales from Japan

Workshop for Adults


Humor is ever so important, especially in the current social and political climate of division and disharmony. Humorous stories connect people, and allow us to overcome the prevalence of “Us vs. Them” mindset. Join Motoko to explore the world of Rakugo, a Japanese tradition of comic storytelling that originated in the 17th century. Motoko will discuss the history, conventions, and the spirit of innovation in Rakugo. She will share tales from the traditional repertoire, and lead participants in experimenting with telling jokes in Rakugo style. Come ready to have a belly laugh!


Origami Adventure: Curriculum Connections


Experience origami as a fun and accessible art form that develops focus, dexterity, and imagination. Parents’ Choice Award-winning storyteller Motoko will help you explore origami’s three key curriculum connections:

(1) as an aid to development of narrative skills;

(2) as a tool to make geometry lessons come alive;

(3) as an instrument for compassion and social justice (as evidenced in Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.)


Following her step-by-step instructions, participants will create two- and three-dimensional objects and design their own language arts and math lessons. No previous experience necessary.


For More Origami Resources, click here

Motoko presenting at the CT Art Education Association's 2016 Summer Institute


Motoko Dworkin

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