Fri, Jan 14, 2005 - Page 15 News List

`Dance of darkness' to light up Guling stage

By Emily Drew  /  STAFF REPORTER

In butoh, the dancer's body doesn't just express an emotion or idea -- it stops being the body and becomes something else. Choreographer and dancer Qin Kanoko has been developing the Japanese dance style in Taiwan since 1998 and, after seven years, she has established a troupe which focuses on this "dance of darkness."

Taiwan's first butoh performance will be King of an Instance, (瞬間之王) performed by Qin's troupe, The Yellow Butterfly South Sky, at Guling Street Theater next week.

Butoh combines traditional Japanese theater, mime and, on this occasion, German modernist dance. Butoh always uses improvisation and often includes bodies painted white, slow movements, and contorted postures. Fear, desperation and decay are major themes and are invoked in erotic moves, multiple climaxes and stillness.

King of an Instance is focused around grains that sit on a barn's rafters. The grains constantly wait for the coming of a new famine, since they remember past famines, even from hundreds of years ago.

Meanwhile, a human body, static and motionless, has been formed from the orbits of flying insects, and the body becomes like an eye that can see the speed at which the grains rot.

The body bears many moments in one moment, and so transcends time. When the audience becomes mesmerized by the body, the body has fulfilled the hundreds of years of expectation: because of an audience, the scene can climax.

Butoh recognizes the constant fusion of life and artistic performance in a dancer's body. For a butoh dancer, the body must willingly bear and be aware of infinite possibilities for a single moment.

The butoh dancer must also be aware of each moment's ephemeral nature. In King of an Instance, hundreds of years of painful history coalesce and are purged when the memories of grains, the body, and the audience experience the performance.

King of an Instance is at Guling Street Theater?(牯嶺街小劇場), Guling St, Alley 5, No 2, Taipei (台北市牯嶺街五巷二號); Jan. 20 to Jan. 22, 7:30pm; Jan. 23, 2:30. Tickets are students NT$300, general admission NT$350 at the door; NT$300 if preordered by Jan. 15 by email at or fax, (02) 2367 1943.

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