The Pillow Book
By Diana Evans for The Stage
Japanese dancer Shakti's erotic portrayal of The Pillow Book caused something of a storm at the Edinburgh Festival this year. It is festival material, a case of the avant-guarde veering towards the kitsch.
Rising up in a magnificent red and white robe, she is the picture of feminine beauty and pride that she intends to be, working as she is from the liberating poetry of the 11th century Japanese poet Sei Shonagan.
In her movements there are elements of Bharata Natyam and Kathak – the stamping, the hands poised backwards, her head dancing side to side on her neck. But the work has a heavily improvised effect. There seems little to speak of in the way of skilled choreography and it often feels, as Shakti runs about in wild abandon, that we are watching someone having a shamanic indulgence in the privacy of an empty room. There is an intense solitude in it that borders on the uninteresting. click for more