Monday, February 23, 2009

Pappa Tarahumara @YBCA, 2/19/2009

Pappa Tarahumara
"Ship in a View"
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
February 19, 2009, 8PM

Japan’s Pappa Tarahumara, a dance-theater troupe, sailed about last Thursday in “Ship in a View,” creating bold images of remembrance while using intricate props to transform the stage at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts into an extraordinary, fantastical world.

Directed by founder Kiroshi Koike, “Ship in a View” pushes the abstract and imaginary, with the twelve dancers playing towards their strengths of operatic song, modern dance, gesture, and theater through sections that seemed like a series of fantastical clouds interweaving through dreams. The stage filled with blueish white fog, enveloping the centered wooden post and the audience in a 95-minute trance of swirling images and rocking emotions. And as a tiny ship embarked across the stage, we entered a world of water and motion. Various performers ran around the stage, wailed with heartbreak, and climbed the mast to look out towards the horizon, but “Ship” didn’t feel slapped together; on the contrary, the attention to detail astounded me. Koji Hamai and Ryoichi Isomoto’s simple yet elegant costumes fit well and looked to be made with extreme craft and care; all flattered and enhanced the presentation, especially those in light blue and citron at the conclusion, which, combined with Yukiko Sekine cool lighting design, created a wintery futuristic feel. “Ship” built slowly but surely, like the tortoise versus the hare, towards a grand, climatic finish, featuring twinkling lights hanging from overhead and a metal man with a flat screen face.

Koike’s vision along with the casts’ vast repertoire and choreographic intricacies seamlessly blended into a stunning and riveting event. The evening felt unexpected, but wildly refreshing, and Pappa Tarahumara provided a unique and enjoyable experience.

Photo by Sakae Oguma/Katsui Sato

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