Vancouver’s Iconic Butoh Dance Company Unveils Transcendent Work
20-Years in the Making
Kokoro Dance, one of Canada’s preeminent butoh dance companies, presents the world premiere of the provocative and primal Embryotrophic Cavatina, the company’s latest full-length work 20-years in the making, September 20 – 23 and 26 – 29, 2017 at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre. Choreographed by Co-Directors & award-winning dance artists Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi, and set to the score of acclaimed Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner, four dancers will strip themselves bare – literally and figuratively – in breathless motion and stillness, embodying the rawness of humanity and transcending all superficial layers of persona and ego.
“Dance and butoh have been a life-long journey of discovery, and with the development and creation of Embryotrophic Cavatina we’ve seen this journey come full circle,” says Bourget. “Jay and I envisioned this piece back in 1998, the same year Zbigniew Preisner premiered his first full-scale orchestral composition, Requiem for my friend. Inspired by the pure emotion and anguish of Preisner’s groundbreaking music, we began to develop the early sections of Embryotrophic Cavatina with the intention of choreographing to the complete 69-minute score. Working with a dream creative team, we are thrilled to finally reveal the culmination of two decades of work, ingenuity, and growth to our cherished audiences.”
Kokoro Dance has been presenting acclaimed butoh in Vancouver and internationally since 1986. The company brings a contemporary approach to this Japanese philosophy of movement, which was founded by butoh masters Hijikata Tatsumi and Ohno Kazuo as a reaction to western dance styles of ballet and modern in the 1960’s. Characterized by the dancers’ whitened bodies, shaved heads, and fragmented motions, butoh is frequently regarded as surreal and androgynous, focused on primal expressions of the human condition.
Embryotrophic Cavatina – born out of “embryotroph”, referencing the embryonic nourishment of placental animals and “cavatina”, a short, simple song without repetition – will be performed by four dynamic artists: Bourget and Hirabayashi, as well as Molly McDermott, featured in the well-received 2017 VIDF premiere Kai Kairos, and Billy Marchenski, a returning Kokoro Dance member who performed in 2015’s Book of Love.
The artists of Embryotrophic Cavatina will tap into the essential part of the self to awaken a deeper, universal connection within themselves and the audience. With full-body commitment, the dancers will launch into a state of corporeal crises prevalent in each gesture, muscle and pore. From such visceral contortions, the dancers will emerge wholly vulnerable, embracing all flaws and frailty to convey the beauty in simply being human.
Illuminating the stunning tableau of dancers as they progress between statuesque posture and undulation, Embryotrophic Cavatina will showcase lighting design by Gerald King. Long-time Kokoro Dance collaborator, designer and artist Tsuneko Kokubo (Koko) will create the dancers’ ethereal costumes, and paintings from her latest exhibition Plant Memory, exploring the connection between immigrant plants and people, will fill the backdrop with dream-like projections.
About Kokoro Dance (kokoro.ca):
Kokoro Dance Theatre Society was incorporated as a non-profit society in Vancouver, British Columbia on July 31,1986. Its mandate is to re-define the meaning of Canadian culture through teaching, producing and performing new dance theatre with an emphasis on multi-disciplinary collaboration and cross-cultural exploration.
Taking its name from the Japanese word kokoro – meaning heart, soul and spirit – Kokoro Dance creates deeply evocative and provocative performances. Inspired by the Japanese art form known as butoh, Kokoro Dance fuses the aesthetics of East and West. Since 1986, Kokoro Dance has created and performed works for the proscenium theatre, for site-specific environmental locations, for young audiences in schools, and for impromptu improvisations in jazz night clubs. The company has performed across Canada, in the United States, in Europe, and in South America.
Kokoro Dance presents
September 20 – 23 and 26 – 29, 2017 at 8pm
$25 – $30
Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre
181 Roundhouse Mews, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2W3