Japan Dance Now, YBCA, 1/29/09

Japan Dance Now
featuring Baby Q, Sennichimae Blue Sky Dance Club, and Nibroll
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
Thursday, January 29, 2009, 8PM

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, over the past few years, has developed into an innovative arts presenting powerhouse. Not only is most of their season eclectic and forward-thinking, but also the visiting companies continue to challenge audiences’ minds and souls. Thursday night’s presentation of “Japan Dance Now” promised a window into Japan’s modern dance landscape, and it delivered, mixing the slick and the wow with the huh.

Baby Q, led by founder/dancer Yoko Higashino and live electronic musicians including Toshio Kajiwara, gave us an excerpt from the cerebral “E/G – Ego Geometria.” The overarching work looks at the physical and metaphysical aspects of the space-time continuum. In this solo excerpt, Higashino moved across the stage abruptly at first while dressed in clunky heels and draped skin-colored stretchy fabric from the top of her head to her thighs. Without being able to see her facial expressions, the images became shapes without emotion. Early on, Higashino walked decisively amongst different pools of light, yanking her arms and bending as if held about by strings, and partway through, she pulsed from her abdomen, almost as if a giant earthquake was coming while the music grew more insistent with each thumpety thump. Across the back wall, angular and formulaic images popped up, but the projection was best used when showing nightvision-like video images of Higashino, especially as she started to move more towards the metaphysical, shedding her cocoon for a ruby red dress sans face covering. Here, her movements became softer yet more powerful as she carved through space, with a yearning look piercing through her eyes...

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Photo: Sennichimae Blue Sky Dance Club

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