Beautiful Bodies in Motion

Two weeks ago Akiko and I went to see Zero's Company dance performance in Tokyo. This particular performance was called BASIC. (The site is Japanese, but you can see some small pics of the same performance here.) We were both blown away. It was an amazing example of the physical expression of the human body.

The company consisted of probably 80% women and 20% men (with a total of around 20 dancers). The explored themes were mostly comedic, but there was one in particular that could be interpreted as a wonderful example of the movement of thought.

There were 4 women dressed in black as Raggedy-Ann dolls. They were sitting on wheeled office chairs that had the back rests removed. On the center of the stage was a woman wearing a red dress. She would dance about, and the dolls in the chairs would move in reaction to what she did. They slid across the stage, clumsily trying to keep up with the dancer, but the only thing they managed to do was to match or mimic themselves.

The dancer was bright, vibrant, and moving with complete freedom. The dolls were in washed out colors, confined to their chairs, completely restricted in their movement.

To me, the dancer in red was whole and complete; an example of a liberated human being. The dolls in the chairs were the experiences, the memories, the thoughts that try to corner the whole being, splitting it into infinity. But the images could never keep up with a whole human being; they could only recreate a rough approximation that lacks the finesse and movement of freedom. It was astoundingly beautiful.

One of the striking elements of the dancers was their ability to create an emotional response with only their movements. And even thought there weren't any words throughout most of the performance, they were great storytellers.

It was all so beautifully new.