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 the world-renowned National Circus School of Montreal, and he is an MA and MBA candidate at the Lauder Institute and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. His science background includes research stints in molecular biology and neurology at Mayo Clinic and in space plasma physics at MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research with NASA's Wind spacecraft.
As a director, choreographer, performer, playwright, and writer, Tanabe has worked in Japan, Taiwan, Holland, Canada, France, Spain, Italy, India, Thailand, Korea, Vietnam, Lithuania, Turkey, Cambodia, Russia, Belgium, and Malaysia. In the United States, he 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 three continents, Tanabe is a specialist in large-scale intercultural project management. Cofounder of an event management company with clients in 14 countries, he is also involved with Cirque du Soleil's social circus program, Cirque du Monde.
Tanabe has a particular focus on projects with a positive social impact, such as the Patravadi acrobats project founded with the gracious support of Patravadi Mejudhon of Bangkok, Thailand. This nonprofit initiative educates high-potential Thais between the ages of eight and 21, regardless of social or financial situation, in acrobatics, aerial arts, dance, and physical acting.