Dance review: Contemporary Japanese Dance: Nights of the Rising Sun Suzanne Dellal Center, Tel Aviv

Nothing prepared us for the dancer’s dramatic backward fall, who dropped loudly and as straight as log, a beautiful homage to Amagatsu, the Butoh’s luminary. It was an evening of rare pleasures.

By ORA BRAFMAN
September 22, 2014 22:22
2 minute read.
‘SALT’ – CREATED and performed by Takanori Kawaharda and Shani Ben-Haim.

‘SALT’ – CREATED and performed by Takanori Kawaharda and Shani Ben-Haim.. (photo credit: GADI DAGON)

A new frame Nights of the Rising Sun, showcases several programs by Japanese creators, yet the opening act was the exception.

“Four Sonatas,” is a collaborative effort of Israeli and Japanese dancers residing and working in Israel. The evening contained four pieces with surprising flavors. The most outstanding work “Salt,” was created and performed by Takanori Kawaharada and Shani Ben- Haim, inspired by the ancient journey of a Tibetan tribe toward a sacred salt lake. The two managed to perfectly balance the ritualistic connotations and contemporary movement, without resorting to ethnic solutions. Using the mesmerizing music of Jan Bang and Akira Rabelais helped to convey the right layered ambiance.

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“Yehuda Jesus based on Soya” by Ella Rothchild and Mirai Moriyama was also an intriguing duet, abounding with original ideas in terms of inventive movements and spatial sensitivities. Both, superbly crafted, showcased impressive dancing skills, as was the solo by Tomo Sona, based on music by Arvo Pärt.

The next day was a true celebration of Japanese dance with two fresh and spicy duets constructed brilliantly with exceptional brain imagery.



The duet “Les Noce,” choreographed by Un Yamada and performed together with Lon Kawai is based on a Stravinsky score and its unique rendition with Russian vocals, spiced with Japanese-like innuendos, was absolutely ingenious.

Both dancers portray several roles of that old Russian tale, with vigor and guts rarely seen on stage, which gave the fast rolling score a serious fight. She cleverly wove her powerful energies and vocabulary, with expressive elements as well as theatrical components chosen carefully from Japanese theater. This was probably the best, most impressive performance, up to this point. Yet it was followed by another duet that exposed a very different approach, and gave “Les Noce” a run for its money.

“Samon” by Norihito Ishi first captivated us by the dramatic shadow games on bare skins and later, opened up like sea shore lilies that bloom at night and spread their intense scent. Norihito, raised on street Hip-Hop, has singular perception of contemporary Butoh. The elusive games of light and shadow established some surreal power that reverberated from the exposed skin. A bit later, when the full body was seen, we realize that the hands and forearms, as well as the feet were dipped in black ink, which changed the proportion of the human figure and gave it an other-worldly quality.

But nothing prepared us for the dancer’s dramatic backward fall, who dropped loudly and as straight as log, a beautiful homage to Amagatsu, the Butoh’s luminary. It was an evening of rare pleasures.


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