Batik, Shoku / Side B

Review in Issue 17-1 | Spring 2005

Ikuyo Kurada’s Batik presented two pieces, both stunning. The first her solo, Shoku. A solitary woman comes forward with a tray of torches, standing on end like bottles. Pathways of light – wild, frenetic, sublime. Startling, vigorous scenes. A shoe is dropped repeatedly, rhythmically, the shoe is slammed into the ground, impacted so forcefully that the body flies up into the air, flies up from the backs of the feet. A play of body revealed, concealed. Manually operated torches, a red dress, white frilly pants, dignity, abandonment, the dress pulled up over her face. Potent pauses. At the end, she walks forward, one shoe clenched between her thighs.

Side B begins with a red curtain across the stage. One woman in front, a slow turn. She disappears behind the curtain and it is raised just enough to see and hear feet, huge shadows, rhythmic stomping. The curtain falls, caught between six pairs of nameless teeth. Six women, almost-replicas in height and form, like cut out paper dolls in shadow form, hair over faces, heaving, breathing bellies. Memories of images from Japanese films such as Black Water trace through me. Catherine Wheel arms, astounding lighting, black dresses with red linings. We only see the women’s faces at the very end. Parting their hair, their individuality, their vulnerability, smiles breaking into grins, face on.

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This article in the magazine

Issue 17-1
p. 29