In Sankai Juku's “Kōsa,” bodies don't just speak, they echo. Movement is generated on dancers then released into the air. It spirals and grows as clouds of white powder radiate off each dancer's painted skin. In butoh custom, the powder is part of the dance, a distinguishing characteristic which acts as an expressionist tool as well as an allusion to the horrific atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. (Japanese butoh or “dance of darkness” emerged in response to the Second World War and the atomic bombs, in particular).
When a choreographer takes on volcanic and iconic works from American musical giants like Leonard Bernstein and John Adams one move they could take is to cool them down with a couple of more soothing European works in between.Continue Reading