A key to the powerful imagery of Sankai Juku's Hibiki.
WHAT Sankai Juku performance of Hibiki: Resonance from Far Away
WHEN Oct 20
WHERE Harris Theater for Music and Dance (205 E Randolph Dr, 312-334-7777, harristheaterchicago.org)
With the death of first-wave Butoh artist Kazuo Ohno at 103 in June, the intense surreality of the dance form—born in part as a reaction to the devastation of the atomic bomb—is officially in the hands of a next generation. Among those taking the reins is Ushio Amagatsu, founder of Butoh group Sankai Juku, who studied ballet and modern technique before foraying into Butoh in the early ’70s. In Hibiki (1998), one of Amagatsu’s masterworks, an all-male cast performs riveting, often glacial movements, which Amagatsu, 61, describes via e-mail from Tokyo (translated from Japanese).
“The contorted hands are expressing tension associated with the scream.”
“Open mouths signify a wordless, soundless scream in my work.”
“Regarding the dish of red water, I would rather not offer an explanation. I respect the audience members’ own interpretations and viewpoints.”
“We use the white makeup because, in order to explore and express universal human expressions, we first erase the individual characteristics of daily life by literally whiting them out.”
“Our costumes allow us to be both man and woman.… They are designed to allow us to go beyond the definition of genders.”