Formerly an artistic director at Cirque du Soleil, James Tanabe is a polymath whose passion lies at the intersection of the sciences, performing arts, and international entrepreneurship. He is a graduate of MIT and of the world-renowned National Circus School of Montreal. He has an MA in international studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and he received his MBA from the Wharton School there, with a focus on "international strategy for creative industries." His science background includes research in molecular biology and neurology at Mayo Clinic, and in space plasma physics at MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space.
As a director, choreographer, performer, playwright, and writer, Tanabe has worked throughout Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa, and has served as a lecturer, instructor, coach and director of projects promoting international artistic collaboration. Multilingual in six languages, and with extensive living and working experience on four continents, Tanabe is a specialist in large-scale intercultural project management. Through IC2, a consulting firm he co-founded to serve firms in the creative sector, he provides business development advice, creative forecasting services, and production management expertise.
Tanabe has placed particular emphasis on projects with a positive social impact, such as the Patravadi acrobats project in Thailand. This nonprofit initiative educated high-potential Thais between the ages of eight and 21, regardless of social or financial situation, in acrobatics, aerial arts, dance, and physical acting.
CWA 2012 inspired Tanabe to found the novel crowd-sourcing audition platform "The Republique," which is dedicated to creating online creative communities of international artists and to better understanding the dynamics of their creative process.