Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Dance Review: Energetic Youth and Mature Finesse Mastered, Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater

Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater, Photography by Yi-Chun Wu
Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater shows off their amazing ability with youthful and athletic energy, grace and maturity rarely seen.  With a diverse program mixing the youth with dance greats like Sarah Stackhouse (Jose Limon Dance Company), what a triumph!

Are You a Dancer Photo No AnimationOpening the program, No, No…Yes, Yes… (New York Premier), this piece is a feast for the senses.  Energetically athletic and disturbingly perfect, this dance shows off their masterful technique and ability.  They enter and exit the stage as if they are “The Secretariat” attempting to achieve the Triple Crown.  Well, I would have to say, break out the history books and take note…  It’s a success!

In A Pebble In The Field, a commentary piece about the senselessness of war with music by Simon & Garfunkel and Jimi Hendrix, Jose Limon Dance Company member and Purchase alumni, Kathryn Alter, is simply delicious. Showing off her ability to convey a story, I’m ready for popcorn, a soda, and skip the previews, on to the main feature.  Watching here, I am embraced in a nice warm blanket!  Boy, do I like this feeling.  I am totally engrossed in this epic performance.

Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater, Photography by Yi-Chun WuNext on the bill, is Chrysanthemum And The Sword.  A a rollercoaster of excitement, this piece explores Japanese actor, playwright, and poet, Yukio Mishima, who is most remembered for his ritual suicide after taking over  Tokyo’s military headquarters in order to restore his nation’s prewar imperial glory.  With an equally exciting score by Philip Glass, this is a true revelation.  Intense, heart wrenching, EMOTIONAL, a runaway train of beauty and precision…  I want more!  Dressed in beautiful costumes by Elena Comendador, the dancers are fine-tuned, like a baby grand piano, all in perfect pitch.  Leading this performance is Daniel Madoff (courtesy of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company) who performs like a meticulous craftsman wielding a Samurai sword with impeccable musicality.  Bravo! 

Saving the best for last, a real dance legend takes the stage.  In Haiku, Sarah Stackhouse (Jose Limon Dance Company) is an absolute vision.  Her mature, tender, and gentle approach is what all dancers should strive to achieve.  Like watching clouds on a perfectly warm summer day lying on a beach with a warm ocean breeze gently engulfing you, her performance quality makes you forget all worries of the world.  …Oh why can’t all days be this beautiful?

Overall, Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater shows off their maturity and precision with welcomed detail and seasoned grace.  I leave this performance as if I have just seen the most amazing movie of all time.  With mature and youthful characters in all the leading roles, KHDT most definitely sweeps my Academy Awards!!!!

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iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by Devin Pullins
Performance:  Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater
Venue:  Ailey Citigroup Theater, NYC
Show Date:  October 10, 2010, 3pm

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