Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In Between, Butoh and Dance Performance by Yoshito Ohno and Lucie Grégoire at L'Agora de la Danse, Montréal. (2011)

In Between, A Performance By Yoshito Ohno (大野庆人) and Lucie Grégoire at L'Agora de la Danse (Montreal. 2011)
In Between, by Yoshito Ohno and Lucie Grégoire (Montreal. 2011)

I was very excited about watching Yoshito Ohno for first time live on stage (at L‘Agora de la danse); my only experience had been through videos and inside his father’s studio (the Kazuo Ohno Dance Studio), but he was only teaching and sometimes performing minimal chains of movements. Wednesday November 16th 2011 was the day to see him performing in a real production.

In Between is a project, a part of a trilogy (the second part) that Yoshito Ohno has been working with Lucie Grégoire since 2008. Lucie works mainly with modern dance techniques, but she’s been very close to Butoh and also works with it. Master Ohno follows his father's (Kazuo Ohno) teachings as well as his rich experience working (at various times) with Tatsumi Hijikata from the 1950’s till 1970’s; he is a real heir of those Butoh creators.

Lucie Grégoire and Yoshito Ohno performed In Between with several solos and duos, little by little mixing their personalities and techniques. My interest was, obviously, in observing all of Ohno’s movements, but Grégoire was so powerful and the whole piece of such great unity that it was impossible not see both works.

In Between is the encounter of two cultures of body movement, Butoh and Modern Dance, but also the encounter of two artistic personalities. None of them left aside their personal background, style of movement or ways of seeing their own performing art, but their encounter is successful, it reaches a union of a very high quality.

Yoshito Ohno's style of Butoh is simple, clear, we could see and differentiate each action in his work; his movement was so concrete that we could keep our attention on his eyes, his hands or his legs without missing other parts; he knows very well how to direct our attention. His hands were specially strange and beautiful, with almost no movement in them but always charged with energy. We feel him trembling and we never stop watching him.

There were two types of music, two epochs (actually several), and their images gently exploded in front of us. I cannot forget the movements of Grégoire’s back and arms, as well that infant dressed like a rabbit (or a rabbit itself) Yoshito offered to us.

One to one the solos became duos and their physical speech resulted comprehensive and simple: it doesn’t matter what exactly they were talking about, we observed their music, their past, their dreams, we could see their own relatives on stage.

In Between, A Performance By Yoshito Ohno (大野庆人) and Lucie Grégoire at L'Agora de la Danse (Montreal. 2011)
Yoshito Ohno and Lucie Grégoire. In Between. (Montreal. 2011)

Like a ritual, they looked for their ancestors, for their own ghosts. And what we see at the final scene, two charming ghosts coming from the past in a lovely union, is one of the most beautiful and simple images anyone could ever see on stage.

We were pleased and we were happy at the end of In Between.

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