Japanese and Western Contemporary Dance Explored in 'Fable in Two' Concert at Denison
Posted: October 30, 2006
A master Butoh artist who is based in Kyoto, Japan, and a choreographer committed to collaboration and improvisation will join each other in a work that explores the intersection between the contemporary Japanese dance form of Butoh and Western contemporary dance and improvisation. Katsura Kan, an instructor of World Dance at Denison University this semester, and Sandra Mathern, chair of the Denison dance department, will present "Fable in Two" at 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 4 and 5) in the Doane Dance Performance Space.
"Fable in Two" blends Butoh and Western dance. The work is characterized by improvisation, embodiment of character and striking visual images. It investigates ideas about humanity and the environment, the world of technology and nature, and the natural cycle of things. The viewers bring to the performance their own imagination, ideas and questions to find meaning for themselves in the images and ideas presented.
Also collaborating on the work are composer Brian Casey, animator/visual artist Kayo Kotoura, and lighting designer Jeff Gress. Christian Faur is technical adviser.
An internationally recognized artist, Kan graduated from Buddhism University in Kyoto and studied the Japanese traditional Noh theatre with master Hirota at the Kongo School. In 1986 he established his own multinational dance troupe named "Katsura Kan and Saltimbanques." In 1992 he established a research group, "Harvesting Beauty in the Field," whose aim was to study the contemporization of traditional Asian art forms while deliberately excluding a Western or European influence.
The recipient of multiple grants from the Japan Foundation, Kan spent four years in Thailand working on numerous collaborative projects. He began an extensive performance career in 2001 traveling to Egypt, West Africa, Eastern Europe, Australia and the United States. His "Curious Fish" work was presented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland where it received a five star rating by the critics. Kan has taught at the Art Institute of Chicago, San Marcos California State University and at Ohio University. He and his students in World Dance classes at Denison will present a lecture/performance, "In the Forest," on Butoh at 8 p.m. on Tuesday (Nov. 14) in the Doane Dance Center.
Mathern joined the Denison faculty in 1988 having earned a bachelor of arts degree at Portland State University and a master of fine arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been performing and creating works since 1983 and has a commitment to working collaboratively and to improvisation as a performance form. Many of her works have incorporated interdisciplinary collaborators in such fields as video-projected backdrops, live music, poetic text and set designs by artist of many disciplines.
Among her solo works are "She Moves in Circles Knowing," which was presented in Columbus in 1995. "Anatomy of Memory" was presented around the United States, and "Habitats," a collaboration with Denison Professor of Art Ron Abram, was produced and presented in Chicago, Columbus, and in Newark in 1999 and was reworked and presented as part of the University's Vail Series in 2000. Her latest work, "Contained," with collaborators Alexander Mouton, Christian Faur and Aaron Fuleki, toured to Dartington College in Totnes, Devon, England.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
For press inquiries:
- Barbara Stambaugh
- Position Title
- Director, Media Relations
- Primary Email
- Business Phone
- (740) 587-8575