Sankai Juku, Kagemi

Review in Issue 15-3 | Autumn 2003

Ushio Amagatsu originally trained in ballet and western modem dance. For the last 28 years, dancing with his acclaimed Butoh company Sankai Juku, his choreography is seen as highly precise and perfect. With sophisticated theatricality, he keeps the classic image of Butoh – the shaved head and white body paint.

Kagemi – Beyond the Metaphors of Mirrors takes the ancient origin of the word mirror: looked into and looking back. ‘Kage’ translates as shadow, ‘mi’ is seeing and being seen. Performed in seven sections (like seven chapters) directed, choreographed and designed by Amagatsu, Kagemi is an astounding vision, with music to complement; at times soul lifting, other times bone-chilling

The opening sees Amagatsu on stage and a field of lotus plants lift to the sky, revealing other dancers crouched on the ground. Totally absorbed with each image, each mood, and with each chapter, through lights, sound and costume change, the gears change, plunging you into yet another all-encompassing atmosphere: insect-like hieroglyphic men, delicate skeletal costumes, silent laughing mouths, paint splattered gowns. Kagemi is sublime – warming and growing and sending ice tingles down the spine. Sankai Juku create a vehicle of transcendence, bodies sculpted into forms forged by internal landscapes: the soul dancing through the body. It was difficult to leave my seat. I felt like I had been through an emotional and psychological car wash.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jun 2003

This article in the magazine

Issue 15-3
p. 25