Color in a Crazy Desert
| ||Photo by Florence Baratay|
| ||Jean Freebury|
Kota Yamazaki's Chamissa 4˚ C
twists the mind
By QUINN BATSON
A swinging lantern gives an eerie edge to the start of Chamissa 4˚ C, Kota Yamazaki's piece of butoh madness inspired by desert landscapes and flowers of the U.S. Southwest and the sunflower paintings of Van Gogh. Both rich and minimal, full of quiet trouble and unexpected developments, Chamissa 4˚ C negotiates equally with fear and beauty. Music by Masahiro Sugaya and lighting and set design by Ben Cobham, and colorfully random costumes by Ess-Hoshika Laboratory, put the performers in the fluid environment of a dark, unhinged dreamscape.
This dream desert is sometimes a noisy one; each character vocalizes to him or herself with little whimpers and big guttural sounds, seemingly disconnected from the others and even from themselves. Much of the beginning of this piece feels like absurdist theater. As the noninteraction continues, the contrasts get stronger; while someone offstage is having an all-out screaming nightmare, Mina Nishimura dances a lovely solo of soft and fluid movement. A fast blackout to the sound of breaking glass and a moment of blue light accompany Saul Ulerio's collapses. Each of the five dancers is distinctly different in movement style and appearance, which makes them initially that much more disconnected. As the piece progresses, groupings come and go, each time less fleetingly, until by the end there is real eye contact and movement en masse offstage into a single light.
What sounds like a gradual progression is anything but, though. This piece goes many places before the end, and some of them are magical. An entire section is bathed in yellow light and the beating dissonance of closely pitched notes or intentional pulsing, which creates a state of tense suspended animation punctuated by freakouts. White light cleanses the stage as dancers literally clean the floor. Mania and stasis share the stage. There is silence. There is darkness. And there is a section of intensely grooving music, with communal craziness and energy hurtling through the night, firing on all cylinders. Another favorite section is Jean Freebury breaking through an implied back wall toward the end, disappearing, and then reappearing to dance a memorable solo.
|FLUID HUG HUG: CHAMISSA 4˚ C|
|Choreography by: Kota Yamazaki.|
Dancers: Jean Freebury, Bill Manka, Mina Nishimura, Saul Ulerio, Sarah Zitnay.
Music by: Masahiro Sugaya.
Set design by: Ben Cobham.
Costumes by: Ess-Hoshika Laboratory.
Lighting design by: Amanda K. Ringger.
Original lighting design: Ben Cobham.
|Dance New Amsterdam|
November 7-9, 2008
Not everything is comfortable or even captivating; butoh dance as a form is sometimes impenetrable and difficult, and much of Yamazaki's background in dance is rooted in butoh. The depth and breadth of Chamissa 4˚ C, though, is enough to make the piece both head-scratchingly weird and wholly satisfying.
|NOVEMBER 11, 2008|
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