The conditions of dance on our post-modern poolside
Keisuke Sakurai
Translated by Manami Maeda

I have written "dance critique" for a long time, but I rarely feel "cool", "new" or more straitly "fun" when I see Japanese contemporary dance groups which appear one after another .

I realized above when I saw Nibroll's "The Tokyo civil pool No.1". It was just fun. The most important point is that there is no "I've ever seen somewhere"ish expression (including techniques and vocabulary) in their work. Japanese contemporary dance groups are hardly interesting because most of them are an imitation of something and neither conscious nor critical about the existing dance techniques and vocabulary.

"Dance" is an expression of intoxication and exaltation for the first stage, and has been a physical expression which comes out of estrange, oppression and trauma since the 20th century's modern art time. In other words, it is a form for an 'imminent' body. However the post-modern society where we are living is a place where never be able to be 'imminent'. The time is a desert of desire, or rather is where there is no scenery to wish to dream.

Nibroll is also standing on the place. The pool which is used in the title is a safety sea (= Tokyo) in which people never be drowned. The reality of a swimmer (=a person who live there) of the pool is very shallow. It is of course a common sense this time therefore artists have to pick up that 'the reality we feel is the fact that we have never be able to feel reality'. However it is usual practice of the Japanese contemporary dance to 'dance', to pretend as if they are imminent. It is as if people to fabricate reality who are not willing to live 'endless everyday life', or they are stupid who are not aware of the fact that the tool they have is already out of date.

Nibroll is definitely right and new under this circumstance in our time. They eliminate all the "ever seen somewhere" ish expression, and throw away the 'dance' techniques as it is a fake real. It is so easy. Why others didn't that before?

It is different from the presentation of a lazy body which does nothing (like "Happening" or "Event" in 60's did). There is just a usual body (which is real) and usual move (which is real), but it is a high density movements which process incidents rapidly. Bodies pass, encounter, pass each other, relate, shift and detach. The incidents repeat construction and extingishment. They do not carry anything mental and not create any story as if it is an endlessly meaningless making up of times.

The bodies that quit to pretend to dance become something like a child play, which is far from expression and artificiality. Is this ever called dance? Yes, we rather have to call it dance now indeed.

( From "Ballet" Magazine , Ongakunotomo Press, 1999.)

copyright (C) by Keisuke Sakurai

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