Kokoro DanceMonday, March 26, 2007
In my CD collection I have some Alban Berg piano sonatas and a 3 CD set called The Glenn Gould Legacy - Scriabin - Schoenberg - Berg - Prokofief - Hindemith - Krenek. After having tried many times I have retired these CDs. I find them unlistenable. Many have said that this kind of music is remote. I would not entirely agree. I have enjoyed Vancouver New Music Recitals without any problem. The difference must lie in seeing the performances.The same can be said about contact improvisational dance and Butoh. They have to be seen.
Rebecca (my 9-year-old granddaughter) and I went to a somewhat difficult program on Saturday. It was particularly hard on me as I had a terrible cough which I controlled with A Shopper's Drug Mart codeine cough syrup and Fishermen's Friends lemon-flavoured drops. The program was two-and-a-half hours long. I am sure that at least 30 minutes could have been cut.
Both Rebecca and I had seen Kokoro's brand of Butoh before. It is a form of modern Japanese dance that emerged after WWII. Depending on how you look at it I got the impression, as did Rebecca, that I was watching a couple of ghouls from The Night of the Living Dead (even if both Jay Hirabayashi and wife Barbara Bourget had their white makeup). Then some of the ungraceful hand positions would shift and their movements became exquisitely graceful, all enhanced by a slowness that looked easy only at first glance. For these Butoh dancers to keep some of the positions, in which their spinal columns are bent for long periods of time, must force a tremendous control and a need for great strength.
I must admit that the more I see Butoh the more it grows on me. In this last performance I was particularly delighted that Bourget did not colour her lovely red hair. And after having seen Hirabayashi a week back in Karen James's Sisyphus I know that this 60-year-old man can "conventionally" out perform just about any other man in town.
All in all I would say that Rebecca must have been very proud of her grandfather. After all, he was able to survive such a "difficult" program without demanding to go home early.