Justin’s Japan: Kota Yamazaki and Sakura Matsuri Return to New York

Dance performance Kota Yamazaki/’Fluid hug-hug (glowing)’ will be held at New York's Japan Society April 27-28. (Ryutaro Mishima)

By JQ magazine editor Justin Tedaldi (CIR Kobe-shi, 2001-02). Visit his Examiner.com page here for related stories.

Following a month of concerts from all types of Japanese musicians, New York City bids sayonara to April this weekend with an exciting pair of performances from a Bessie Award-winning performance artist, followed by the 31st edition of one of Brooklyn’s finest annual events.

Kicking things off tonight (April 27) and tomorrow at Japan Society is the performance of Kota Yamazaki/Fluid hug-hug (glowing), the Society’s newest commissioned work by the butoh-trained choreographer. In this new work that will appeal to fans of dance, Yamazaki re-examines the fundamentals of butoh, the form in which he received his training, as six dancers hailing from Senegal, Ethiopia, Japan, and the U.S., perform within a set constructed to evoke the soft lighting and dim interior of a traditional Japanese house, where shadows contribute to a visual atmosphere.

The performance, which made successful stops earlier this month at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the Painted Bride Arts Center in Philadelphia, draws its inspiration from the world-renowned essay In’ei Raisan (In Praise of Shadows) by the great modern Japanese novelist Jun’ichiro Tanizaki. First published in 1933 and in English in 1977, it has itself been praised the world over, with the Guardian calling it a “hymn to nuance.”

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