Butoh-ful!

Review: “En” at Triskelion Arts by Anthony J. Piccione

One of the most frequently beautiful and emotionally impacting forms of dance and physical theatre in world history is undoubtedly Japanese Butoh. There’s no shortage of incredible dance and performance art showcases worth seeing here in New York City, however, it’s not always easy to find such quality Japanese dance here in the Big Apple. Yet recently in Williamsburg, the performance artist Yoshiko Usami, better known simply as Yokko, did exactly that at Triskellion Arts, where she presented her new dance piece En.

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For starters, it’s worth noting that the four main dancers who appear on stage the majority of the time – Miles Butler, Annie McCoy, Efren Sanchez and Laura Aristovulos – are all remarkably talented and versatile. The show is beautifully choreographed, down to each detail, and executed well by the ensemble. The gorgeous lighting design (by Rachel Zimmerman) and sound design (by Alyssa L. Jackson & Jorge Olivio) also make for a wonderful addition to the show’s atmosphere. So the artists involved are all clearly skilled, and they all deserve to be recognized and highlighted.

On the other hand, the concept of the play – relating to themes of nature, the ocean, sea creatures, and humanity’s relationship with each of those, as outlined in the show’s program – feels a bit too vague. It would be one thing if this was a truly abstract work, but it does seem there was a clear message this piece was trying to convey, and it’s unclear just how effective they were at getting it across, beyond the note in the program and a few pieces of trash used for its minimalistic set design. Nonetheless, if it still got at least some theatergoers talking – which was clear to me, after talking to a few afterwards – then perhaps that’s good enough for this.

While it’s unclear how successful this production was at conveying the ideas it was attempting to convey, it nonetheless makes for a beautiful and entertaining work of abstract performance art that fans of well-produced dance showcases are bound to enjoy. With the show now set to embark on a regional tour, I wouldn’t be shocked to see them do fairly well.

 

EN

 

“En” ended its run at Triskelion Arts, located at 106 Cayler Street, Brooklyn, NY, on September 15th.

 

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