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Tuesday September 16, 2014
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Noism08

 

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In NINA Kanamori sets up a postapocalyptic landscape with women as expressionless mannequins — to be fair, the men in dark suits also lack color and emotion — and minimal decor. If you're thinking Butoh, you're on the right track, but his is a post-Butoh sensibility fusing East and West, ballet and modern dance.

Early in the piece, a precise, balletic solo in a square of white light suggests a stylized gymnastics floor routine; a second dancer joins in and they lean into each other like a couple of sumo wrestlers on a mat. Later, two men enact a loopy, snaky mirrored duet, leading to some kind of confrontation. At different times, the group circumnavigates the stage in a slow-motion shuffle, as if ice skating.

Kanamori also samples ballet history with refreshing irreverence. At one point I detected a whiff of pagan sacrifice, Á la The Rite of Spring; at another the perfume of a Romantic ballet pas de quatre, complete with Giselle-like long tutus. Throughout the piece, dancers enter and exit dramatically by picking up the backdrop.

I'd love to see a European or American ballet company stage NINA, or anything else by Kanamori. He gives globalism a good turn.

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Top of the Lamp, Ann Arbor's locally owned lighting specialty store.