Volume 92, Issue 89
Wednesday, March 17, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Cultures Join hands and dance across the Pacific
By Sara Martel
The Osaka University Dance Company's visit to Western ended with a warm and well-deserved standing ovation after Friday night's performance.
The troupe from the Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences in Japan treated the audience to three pieces while the UWO Dance Company performed nine shorter ones.
The Osaka troupe began their performance with a piece entitled Kizimuna. a folk tale of a well-loved wood nymph on Okinawa Island. Because of its traditional theme the dance called for costumes native to this island. The dancers resembled animated dolls, with their red wigs and bingatas, which are bright shirts with a bird, flower and cloud motif.
This lively mood and traditional theme both changed dramatically in the next piece entitled The Pale Night Desert. The slow, grappling movement of the dance illustrated a sense of despair portraying the metaphorical thirst we continually try to quench in our hearts. The theme was a modern one, dealing with the lack of communication and consequent sadness so common to modern times.
A sense of searching characterized the third piece as well, but on a much lighter level. To The Open Sea followed the journey of a goldfish seeking something bigger than its fishbowl could provide. This piece was beautifully choreographed and appropriately costumed to show the fluttering movements of a fish's tale.
The UWO Dance Company, directed by Donna Peterson, provided a very different flavour of performance than Osaka. The dancers mingled the contemporary with the traditional in their modern dance performance, including music ranging from Bach to Alanis Morissette.
Two of the nine pieces belong to an unfinished trilogy dealing with different kinds of spirits. Totem Spirit played with the potential of unison in movement to give the idea of a totem pole. Both the acoustic music and earth-coloured costumes lent to the piece's natural feeling. The other piece belonging to this trilogy was entitled Voodoo Spirit, which focused on a more mystical theme.
A particularly impressive piece, called Glory, was performed by the troupe's only male dancer, Aidan deSalaiz. Here he successfully tackled the interpretation of One Song Glory, a selection from the musical Rent.
Both the Osaka and Western companies were honoured to share their talents with each other and honoured they should be. These two companies gave unbelievable performances, both equally enjoyable to all cultures.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999