Super Kabuki 'spells fun'

Mar 12, 2014

Super Kabuki 'spells fun'

by Natsume Date

Just like the many native English-speakers who have difficulty understanding the language and classical references in the works of William Shakespeare, so Japanese people generally feel a sense of distance from kabuki, as though it were a foreign language. However, Ennosuke Ichikawa III, who ...

Taihen actors put bodies on the line

Mar 12, 2014

Taihen actors put bodies on the line

by Andrew Eglinton

Observing rehearsals by the physical-theater company Taihen for their upcoming “Over the Rainbow” show at ABC Hall in Osaka was in many ways a free-jazz experience. On a compositional level, the Taihen stage is an intimate meeting-ground between cast, crew, musicians and audience. The ...

Paris Opera Ballet chief hails Japan 'challenge'

Mar 12, 2014

Paris Opera Ballet chief hails Japan 'challenge'

by Kris Kosaka

Thanks to Louis XIV’s love of dance, French is the language of ballet and Paris has remained the center of the art for more than 300 years since the Sun King’s splendiferous 72-year reign ended with his death in 1715. Yet for a company ...

Noh meets opera in a blend of high cultures

Mar 5, 2014

Noh meets opera in a blend of high cultures

by Bronwyn Mahoney

Bringing together the codified and traditional worlds of Japanese noh theater and European opera seems impossible. Such ostensibly different histories, sounds and visuals: How could it work? It’s a challenge that Vienna-based Japanese opera director Shugo Ikoh has been playing around with for some ...

Flying high, but not quite buzzing

Feb 26, 2014

Flying high, but not quite buzzing

by Lindsay Nelson

I have vivid childhood memories of two circuses: Ringling Brothers and Shrine. The latter was a delightfully shabby affair held in an old auditorium where audiences sat on concrete bleachers that were occasionally adorned with tacky plastic chairs. There were lots of animals, and ...

ABT brings 'magical moments' to Japan

Feb 19, 2014

ABT brings 'magical moments' to Japan

by Nobuko Tanaka

Last August, with summer sweltering the city, I met Yuriko Kajiya and Jared Matthews, two soloists from the New York-based American Ballet Theatre, one of the word’s top-four classical companies along with the Royal Ballet in London, Paris Opera Ballet and the Bolshoi in ...

Young K-Ballet School dancers get set for the big time

Feb 19, 2014

Young K-Ballet School dancers get set for the big time

by Nobuko Tanaka

The splendid news about two Japanese high school students’ outstanding achievement swept around the world this month. Not only did 17-year-old Haruo Niyama from Nagano Prefecture win first prize at the super-prestigious annual Prix de Lausanne competition for young amateur classical ballet dancers, but ...

Double-take for a new one-woman 'Tinkerbell'

Feb 12, 2014

Double-take for a new one-woman 'Tinkerbell'

by Nobuko Tanaka

Life is hard for Marcello Magni. Not only is he directing a production separately starring famed actress Tomoko Mariya and upcoming talent Kae Okumura, but the work, in Japanese, is also his brand-new version of an early play by his great friend — and ...

Kushida's 'Flapper' comes roaring back

Feb 12, 2014

Kushida's 'Flapper' comes roaring back

by Natsume Date

“Young people these days won’t be too familiar with the term the Roaring Twenties, but the 1920s still hold interest as a period. It was a time of changing values, not only in the United States, but in Europe: Dadaism, Cubism, Expressionism and other ...