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Don Quixote gets punked

by Rob Schwartz

The contemporary Japanese dance scene has recently drifted to a more fragmented situation where groups delve deeper into their own particular take on performance, but one exception to this is Pappa Tarahumara. Founded by Hiroshi Koike (freshly back from a discussion presentation with Laurie Anderson at New York’s Japan Society), the troupe is the definition of eclectic, using butoh, song, absurdist drama and contemporary dance in its shows. In a recent interview Koike said, “I founded Pappa Tarahumara to overcome boundaries between different styles of performance. I want to incorporate many different elements.”

The company’s new production, “Punk Don Quixote,” does just that, using elaborate costumes and set designs, various styles of dance and a range of performers, including one of the world’s leading Balinese Kecak dancers. The piece presents a magical and brutal universe of war, conflict and sentient beasts, and is loosely inspired by the Cervantes novel “Don Quixote,” though it is not a retelling of the story.

Says Koike: “Though I don’t always address global issues in my work, this piece does. It’s about the survival challenges facing humankind, like terrorism and mad-cow disease, and whether one wants to survive in a world like this!” Visually arresting and artistically challenging, “Punk Don Quixote” promises another unique experience from Pappa Tarahumara.

Pappa Tarahumara presents “Punk Don Quixote” from Dec. 11 till Dec. 20 (no shows will be held on Dec. 15). Show times vary, check the schedule at www.pappa-tara.com/ or call: (03) 3385-2919. Advance tickets cost ¥5,000 for adults; ¥4,500 for those over 65; ¥3,900 for students; and ¥2,000 for elementary school students. Tickets sold at the door will be an additional ¥500. The performance will be held at OWL SPOT Toshima Performing Arts Center in Toshima Ward, Tokyo. For more information, call (03) 5391-0751 or visit www.owlspot.jp/