Israel Festival: Mirror and Music/KARAS
Written by: Ayelet Dekel
Light cuts through the darkness, figures illuminated as it traverses their body appear on the stage, and then recede once more into the black abyss; an electronic hum fills the air. Placing the physical presence of the body in relationship to the abstraction of music and the illusions created with light and reflection, last night’s performance of Mirror and Music at the Israel Festival was a mesmerizing experience.
The vision of Saburo Teshigawara, is expressed in all aspects of this work, performed by the dancers of KARAS Dance Company: Rihoko Sato, Eri Wanikawa, Kafumi Takagi, Riichi Kami, Jeef, Mie Kawamura. Teshigawara, the company’s founder and artistic director, created the choreography, scenography, lighting, costumes and soundtrack (edited together with Izumi Nakano) for this beautiful and disturbing dance piece in which he performs as well. There is a feeling of magic and an ominous uncertainty as figures appear and disappear, light moves over and across the stage, creating the illusion of motion even when the dancers stand still.
Scenes with pulsing strobe lights and an industrial, electronic soundtrack are in stark contrast to sequences of baroque music in which the dancers frolic with the playful abandon of children. There is an emphasis on repetition, giving a hypnotic quality to the work, yet as each scene gives way in turn to something entirely different in look, feel and sound, the cumulative effect is one of mutability and loss. Swirling around the stage, three dancers join hands at one point evoking associations of folk dances and celebrations, yet the baroque harmony of the music is subverted into moments of dissonance, the illusion of joyous harmony shattered by sound.
Teshigawara is a deeply moving performer, with an eloquent, liquid body and strong stage presence. A long solo sequence begins in slow asymmetric movement, arms and hands shaping the air, caressing and enfolding one another, curving in space. The movements grow larger, faster, motion filling his entire body. A hand moves towards his mouth, then reaching outward the fingers flutter, as if releasing something of the spirit into the air. Phrases of movement are repeated, creating a poetic narrative of the human form, a fragmented story eluding the grasp, ever moving into multiplicity and lacuna.
Choreography/set design/lighting design/costume design: Saburo Teshigawara; Music Compilation: Saburo Teshigawara, Izumi Nakano; Cast : Saburo Teshigawara, Rihoko Sato, Eri Wanikawa, Kafumi Takagi, Riichi Kami, Jeef, Mie Kawamura; Technical Coordination/Lighting operation: Sergio Pessanha; Sound: Tim Wright; Stage Manager: Markus Both; Production: KARAS/New National Theatre Tokyo.