July 15, 2017
Black and white are the two dominant colors in Saburo Teshigawara’s “Sleeping Water” performed by the Japan-based company KARAS. Movements weighted inside fully choreographed lighting and design environment reflect images of water in this 70-minute production at Alice Tully Hall. Six dancers slip through gestures that ripple through the body in nonstop motion. Arms windmill framing undulating torsos and loose legs that never form right angles.
At the start of the “Sleeping Water” Mr. Teshigawara sets the tone moving as if by some internal tide that spills into an incessant flow of movement. In the next scene, lights come up on black-clad dancers lying on their sides, heads slightly lifted off the floor—listening and breathing. And from that point on, the movement rarely ceases.
Underneath the dance, a sound score (unaccredited) connects “found sounds,” snippets referencing classical and Baroque music until the audience is hit with the rumble of The Rolling Stones howling “Paint it Black” – a wild song suggesting human loss—but even the pounding beat of the Stones has no discernible impact on the movement quality.
A man of the theater, Teshigawara is equally responsible for the set and lighting that in combination constructs the theatrical atmosphere. Clear square panels drop and rise from the rafters, as do two tubular outlines of chars and tables. Light pops off the clear frames suggesting sunlight breaking off the sea. Now why those items are lowered and raised over the dancers --- is another mystery.
In the program, Teshigwara writes a poem suggestive of his choreographic motives: “Sinking deep down into sleep from the calm surface, The body floats in the air like a boat….A momentary farewell from death…The entrance to another world.”
Mr. Teshigawara’s aim to search for a “new form of beauty” is realized in the satisfying geometry of the movement patterns. Dancers intersect, separate and reform into human units. However, there is a lack of shading. Flow is constant, energy never changing.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis