In celebration of Kokoro Dance’s collaboration with Jonathan Baldock in his exhibition, we hosted Vancouver’s Kokoro Dance for a series of special performances and partnerships across London, July 2017.
On 4 July, Kokoro Dance performed their piece ( ) within the stunning concrete setting of Bold Tendencies.
( ) (pronounced ‘brackets’) is a site specific performance by Kokoro founders Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi, accompanied by the music of Sigur Rós. Exploring life and death, departure and loss, love and resurrection, ( ) is a deeply moving work that centres around a shallow grave.
( ) was originally commissioned for the 2003 InFrinGing Dance Festival in Nanaimo, British Columbia by Holly Bright for the unusual setting of a climbing gym with gravel floor.
The music for ( ) is by the Icelandic rock group Sigur Rós who have also composed for Merce Cunningham. Sigur Rós sing in a made-up language they call “Haplandic” that drifts towards sounding like English so as to convey hints of connotative meanings. The title of this work is taken from the title of their album. Sigur Rós gave no titles to the tracks of this album and no notes to the music. They prefer that their listeners make their own meaning for their music and lyrics, a preference Kokoro also share. Jay and Barbara’s interest in dance is in the provocation of an emotional response rather than upon intellectual reflection.
Established in Vancouver in 1986, Kokoro Dance are one of the worlds’ leading butoh dance companies, touring their productions internationally, led by its founders Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi.
Butoh is a modern Japanese dance, an artistic aesthetic searching for one’s own original movement expression. Kokoro Dance’s Butoh is distinct and unique. It uses motion to express emotion, to create journeys that speak from the bodies of the dancers to the bodies of the audiences.
Click here to see the documentation and footage of Kokoro’s performance at Dilston Grove amongst Jonathan Baldock’s installation on 7 July.
Kokoro also organised a uniquer dance workshop at Siobhan Davies Dance on Monday 3 July.
After a physical warm-up and introduction of the butoh approach to dance, Kokoro Dance directors Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi introduced the way butoh uses interior imagery to inform physical movement by teaching some of the choreography from ( ), the dance work that the company performed on July 4 at Bold Tendencies.
( ) 2003
Choreography/Performance: Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi
Costumes: Tsuneko Kokubo
Music: ( ) by Sigur Rós (used with permission)
Acknowledgements: Kokoro Dance gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, City of Vancouver through the Office of Cultural Affairs, Province of British Columbia, and Holly Bright, InFringing Dance Festival.
Jonathan Baldock’s Live Event Series is generously supported by Arts Council England, Southwark Council, The Foyle Foundation, Paul & Louise Cooke Endowment and Bold Tendencies. With huge thanks to Hannah Barry and Lauren Wright.