Lincoln Center to Present Premieres from Japan in July

Classic Arts Features   Lincoln Center to Present Premieres from Japan in July
Two of Japan's leading artists, Yukio Ninagawa and Saburo Teshigawara, return to the Lincoln Center Festival with new productions this July: Musashi and Miroku.


Ninagawa's lavish production of Musashi (July 7 _10) is based on a famous rivalry between two samurai from the early 17th century, played by Tatsuya Fujiwara and Ryo Katsuji. Lincoln Center's U.S.-premiere production will be dedicated to Hisashi Inoue, who wrote Musashi and who passed away in April of this year. Dubbed "our national writer" by Japan's Sankei News, Hisahi Inoue was a prolific playwright, novelist and essayist. Once, when asked to compose something on a shikishi (a square piece of thick paper often used to write for writing poems), he wrote, "Writing about a difficult thing is easily done, an easy thing is deeply done, a deep thing is pleasantly done, and a pleasant thing is seriously done."

The entire cast, save Katsuji, has been with the production since its beginning. Katsuji, one of Japan's most popular young actors, explains that he believed Musashi to be an important exploration about letting go of grudges. As far as taking on the role, Katsuji says that Ninagawa "asked me to make it new again," adding, "I want to play the role with my own approach; I am happy to take on the challenge." Fujiwara, for his part, says performing the play in New York will make it "a very special occasion for all of us" and adds that "we are working hard at rehearsal to make the performance: especially the fight scenes: seem effortless."

Lincoln Center Festival 2010 will also host the New York premiere of Miroku, choreographer Saburo Teshigawara's newest solo work, on July 9 _11. At Lincoln Center Festival 2006, Teshigawara's solo dance Bones in Pages was hailed by The New York Times as "one of the most striking examples of imagistic dance-theater or dance-art installation." With Miroku, Teshigawara continues his singular exploration of movement and, as with previous works, this solo piece sees him redefining the parameters of space and time.

Miroku showcases Teshigawara's phenomenal range as a dancer, from eruptions of furious energy to a Zen-like stillness. His finely honed sculptural sensibilities and powerful sense of composition, his command of space, keen interest in music, fascination with contrasts and extremes, and his distinctive dance movements all come together to create a unique world of sight, sound, and movement. In Japan, his style of dance, based on "dialogue with one's own body," according to Performing Arts Network Japan, has become a major movement in contemporary dance.

Teshigawara's Miroku, the Japanese name for the Bodhisattva, was inspired by poet Taruho Inagaki's (1900 _1977) autobiographical work of the same name. Teshigawara writes that, upon visiting the sculpture of the Bodhisattva at the Koryu-ji Temple in Kyoto, "I was overwhelmed by the beauty of its extremely fragile and gentle movement. This is one of the reasons I thought of creating this piece. Infinity was carved into a fragile and gentle form, which seemed at the same time to keep equilibrium by extreme tension. It seemed like the moment and eternity were in calm harmony. This solo work is my new challenge to dance and time."

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