CriticalDance Forum

Batik: 19 & 20 October
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Wed Sep 29, 2004 3:53 am ]
Post subject:  Batik: 19 & 20 October

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In 2002, two years after joining Kim Itoh + the Glorious Future, young Japanese choreographer and dancer Ikuyo Kuroda founded her own company Batik. Last year she came to the attention of Dance Umbrella when she won first prize at the Toyota Choreography Awards for the female sextet Side B.

Kuroda’s work features looming shadows and rhythmic stomping bodies. She and her dancers play a game of hide and seek with faces alternately illuminated then obscured by falling hair from downcast heads, raised skirts or curtains. While highlighting parts of their bodies and the stage with hand held torches, the dancers are framed by bright lights only to disappear into blackout at the flick of a switch.

Kuroda’s choreography evokes rage, chaos and fear in an unpredictable mix that heralds the arrival of a major new talent.

<small>[ 29 September 2004, 08:04 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Christine de León [ Tue Oct 19, 2004 2:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Batik: 19 & 20 October

Not sure Batik warrants such a strong response but here goes:

I saw Batik perform tonight and I definitely did not think that Ikuyo Kuroda's choreography “heralds the arrival of a major new talent“. Yes, the looming shadows and rhythmic stomping bodies were intriguing, however, 30 minutes of this motif became boring. The work didn’t go anywhere. I was particularly disturbed by how the choreography robbed these dancers of their identity – as if to say that intense, outbursts of energy – volcanic energy is something to be ashamed of. I was even more offended by the exhibition and sexualisation of young women’s bodies on stage and the audacity of the choreographer to rob them of a name, a face, an identity by hair purposely masking the face, or skirts pulled over heads while exposing underpants. I’ve been to strip clubs where dancers are given more dignity.

The music was far too loud almost everyone in my row (admittedly middle-aged) had to plug their ears with their index fingers for most of the show.

Finally, Kuroda’s 30-minute solo. She flashes us her frilly knickers (she’s got a penchant for this sort of thing) while sticking flashlights down her pants. Flashlight switches on and off and pretty soon she is spitting into her crimson dress that is pulled up just enough so we get a gander at those panties again. I think I’ve seen video footage of a young Jonny Rotten doing this sort of thing when he fronted the Sex Pistols nearly 30 years ago. These days it isn’t shocking, it’s just tedious. Then if that gimmick wasn’t enough she proceeded to put her hands down her knickers and have a jolly good feel around. Honestly, I would have stayed at home had I known I would have to watch this woman play with herself and spit on stage all in the name of art. How exactly is this in service of the art form? Perhaps Toyota ought to stick to making SUVs.

I will give her the credit of having the courage large enough to match her ego to put this work out there, but this tortured young soul, exploring her sexuality and the dark side of this journey is quite simply trite.

The programme notes contain no reference to her score – I think it was late Baroque music and a vaguely recognisable indie band. No surprise here, as Ikodu interpreted verbatim the strains of violins and low slung guitar with the highly energetic, frenzied dancing of one possessed. Totally unimaginative use of music.

I am amazed that the Dance Umbrella team could honestly think that this performance is worth giving up a night down the pub, watching telly, going to the cinema or snuggling up in front of the fire with a good book. Batik would have been better programmed for a platform such as First Footing in Resolution! I just don’t see the value in this adolescent, immature, self-absorbed work. Bring me Kuroda’s head on a platter please – I’ve had it with her art school angst-ridden frilly knickers and flashlight-cum-dildo.

By the way, I wasn’t the only person who thought this was dire. I heard several audience members leave the theatre in a huff.

<small>[ 21 October 2004, 02:08 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  kurinuku [ Sat Oct 23, 2004 5:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Batik: 19 & 20 October


the Guardian

The group compositions are heavy-handed, and either mimic the music - a medley of baroque harpsichord, latin-tinged jazz and folksy piano - or ignore it altogether. Initially, a blood-red curtain hangs down so that we see only the lower legs of the six women as they bang out banal rhythms.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Nov 06, 2004 11:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Batik: 19 & 20 October

Side B/Shoku
By John Percival for The Stage

In contrast to Dance Umbrella’s golden oldies, Ikuyo Kuroda is a newcomer and an interesting one - Japanese, ballet-trained but very original and modern-minded.

Now 28, she started her company Batik two years ago and quickly won an international competition with her group dance for six women, Side B. That and a solo version for herself of Shoku (also a group dance) make up her London programme.

click for more

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