Review: Aomori Aomori @ Chapter
I have a confession to make. I'm quite a bit weeaboo, but in the best way possible. Whether its the music of TÅru Takemitsu, the films of YasujirÅ Ozu,
Noh Theatre or even a nice plate of sushi, I can't get enough of Japan.
After attending a presentation with Teiko Hinuma on Tuesday, she gave an overview of the great artistic strides taken place in Japan and how international artists are involved with Artists in Residencies Japan and other projects. It's highly stimulating that so many opportunities are available and as a young artist the prospects are enticing, to say the least.
Welsh dancer and choreographer Sioned Huws has joined forces with Japanese and European dancers and musicians to create Aomori Aomori. Sat in the Stiwdio at Chapter, the instant you arrived you felt a noticeably calm presence. A deep sense of atmosphere as the musicians and lone dancer prepared in quiet. It felt sacrilege to even utter a syllable at this time, as the mood was so serene. "Very Zen..." I remarked to a friend, without trying to sound like a total hipster. With only natural lighting for this show and the breeze of the outside wafting in, all that was missing was a cheery blossom to sit under and contemplate.
A perfect mesh of the Orient and Occident featured here as both traditional Japanese dance and contemporary Western choreography flurried in front of us. For an hour's experience (it felt joyfully longer) it was a joy and an honour to witness this transcendent piece. You had to resist the temptation to join in the movements, pining for your own kimonos, fans and parasols. The sea-like movements of most of the dancers as they flail and mimic Japanese dance on the floor was a staple of the evening (moments with ping pong balls brought some smiles). The musicians also adding flavour and essential vigour too, with a Japanese singer (who relentlessly hit a wooden box as a great makeshift drum) and two shamisen players.
The programme is also a delight with Huws' equation-like scribbled plans for the choreography, details in English, Welsh and Japanese and even a CD of the music from the show.
It all ended with a holy moment with this united family joining together and remaining still for what felt like five years (another blissful moment). We were then enticed outside to marvel at them dancing in Chapter's front entrance between their garden and main building.
DÅmo arigatÅ to all involved! *bows head several times*
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Photo Credit: Paul Roberts