Published on November 9, 2007
The dancer comes out, hiding his features beneath a brimmed hat pulled low over his eyes and underneath a long, dark coat. He lurches, jumps, spins and falls. In a flurry of moves, he strips off his clothes as if shedding his skin.
This is "Quick Silver", a solo performance by butoh master Ko Murobushi, who pushes his body to the limits, searching deep down into a universe of pain and darkness. Murobushi's extraordinary muscular body, painted entirely in, well, you guessed it, silver, appears to mutate, conjuring up images of a man moving at the very edge of life and death.
"Quick Silver" takes away any notions of movement as ornamentation and plunges both the performer and spectators into a timeless mercurial world.
"Watching Murobushi constantly moving his body to avoid fixing himself in one pose was akin to watching mercury powder as it waves and rolls its way all over the stage. With just his formidable physicality, Murobushi pierced the audience's imagination," said Hideki Sukenari, dance critic for the Yomiuri Shimbun.
"Quick Silver" was first presented as a work-in-progress in November 2005 at the Kazuo-Ohno Festival. Since then, it has received kudos in Azabu, Tokyo as well as at the Biennale di Venezia Dance Festival in Venice. Earlier this year, it was performed at the Dance Festival in Rome and as part of Dance Umbrella 2007 presentation at the Robin Howard Dance Theatre in London.
In butoh, the body speaks for itself through unconscious improvised movements. The dancer intentionally seeks to not imitate but become the object of fascination, animate or inanimate, choosing poetic and surreal movement expressions to become what is imagined.
According to Tatsuro Ishii's review in Danza magazine, despite Murobushi's usage of the original butoh techniques pioneered by Tatsumi Hijikata, his previous stagings have proved he is highly competent in mixing and moulding the movements to ultimately make them his own.
"The essence of butoh is to dive into fields of dance that the West has closed its eyes to. I hope to continue to see Murobushi dive deeper into these fields and coax more excellent pieces of dance from them," added Ishii.
As the choreographer of Ko & Edge Co, Murobushi dazzled Bangkok audiences back in August with his awe-inspiring "DEAD+1", which challenged the definition of dance by starting the piece with three dancers standing on their heads and moving just the legs for over 10 minutes.
Apart from the performances, not to be missed will be a butoh workshop Murobushi. Held from 2pm to 5pm on November 17, the workshop will reflect his full grasp of both the teachings of Hijikata and the history of butoh. His teaching methods embrace improvisation along with technical and creative precision, and are suitable for all levels and ages. Fees are Bt600, or Bt500 for performance ticket holders.
'Quick Silver' will be performed at 8pm from Thursday until November 17 at Patravadi Theatre's Studio 1. Tickets are Bt500 or Bt400 for anyone who books today. Student tickets are Bt200. For more information,
call (02) 412 7287-8 or email@example.com.
For more information, see www.patravaditheatre.com.
The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org