Director’s Message - Junnosuke Tada
"RE/PLAY Dance Edit" is based on my play "Re/Play,” which I created for my theatre company Tokyo Deathlock after the 2011 great earthquake of Northeastern Japan. The premier of “Dance Edit" was at the “We dance Kyoto 2012” dance festival, under the heading of "Theater and Dance/Interchange of Physicality." In this dance performance, I kept same themes of "unrepeatability" and "interruption." I also maintained the structure that expressed life and time ironically through relentless repetition. In the original, actors continued movements without interference from each other. They persistently created and destroyed images from pop music. However, it was indeed the change in physicality, the difference between actors and dancers, that transformed the play into a completely different piece.
Actors, for example, are better at expressing a lonely human because they exist as a human on stage. Dance and dancers, on the other hand, can represent loneliness itself since they express through physicality. For “Dance Edit,” I introduced a new direction: to “dance/not dance.” Through their dance, dancers go back and forth between their humanity and physicality. They go from “person” to “body,” and then from “body” to “dance.” One of the objectives of this piece is to share with the audience performance as something beyond this gradation and preceding that, the contextualization of “theater” and “dance.”
The choreography and parameters that define “dance/not dance” are decided individually by each dancer through the process of confronting their own bodies and their dance. On stage, each dancer’s body and his or her own idea of dance, and the disconnection and chaos of cultural backgrounds become the various hues that draws the focus of the observer. Through repetition and the passage of time, the work asks: “What is dance?” “What is this world?” I consider stage performance a sharing of questions so that we can live in the present.
This work started on the border between theatre and dance. As it moved between Kyoto, Yokohama, Singapore, Cambodia and the Philippines, it was not just a performance on tour. With the participation of local dancers in each country, it became a work that blended borders. This is the very state of Asia — an attempt for coexistence while embracing borders and diversity. The work continues with the desire to present various perspectives on the formation of present and future Asia, not only for dance fans but also for a wide range of people. The performing arts are a plea from the present to the future.
Initiator’s Message – Kitamari
Starting in Kyoto in 2012, the departure point for “RE/PLAY Dance Edit” was a series of questions I had about dance. What is the borderline between stage direction and choreography? What is the balance between concept and dance? What is audience-oriented dance? What is dance’s strength? I did not get any answers by looking back at my own work, and watching works by other dance artists only further complicated my questions. Why do we need dance? I was struggling to find a dance piece that would move me. I was not able to create such a work by myself; I needed help from others. So I contacted Junnosuke Tada.
“RE/PLAY Dance Edit” is created within a simple framework of not dance, dance, and beyond dance. It also asks the question of why showing physical movements to an audience becomes a form of expression. What is dance in the first place? A question does not have to find an answer. Instead, it can bring out a series of discoveries, which leads to further questions. “RE/PLAY Dance Edit,” provides this sort of reply to my questions.
What can we receive through each other’s bodies beyond the barriers of country and language? This work continues to repeatedly ask this fundamental question. “RE/PLAY Dance Edit” has been performed in Kyoto, Yokohama, Singapore, Phnom Penh, Kyoto and Manila with the question: “Is it thought or body that survives after 90 minutes of repetition?” And at the same time, I believe the work has functioned as a platform for the dancers to share a spirit of inquiry and awareness of the issues each of us individually face as we work with our own body language and choreography.
Junnosuke Tada is a stage director who is sometimes described as violent. However, I am sorry to say we dancers are far more violent than him. We shiver with the pleasure of dancing on stage without any regard for the safety of our own body. I hope this journey presents new values and possibilities for the dancers and audience in each location, and also a bit of the sense of new possibilities and values for the future of dance.
Premiere performance: 4 Feb 2012 / Former Risei Elementary School, Kyoto
Yokohama version: 14-16 Feb 2014 / Steep Slope Studio, Yokohama
Singapore version: 17-20 Feb 2016 / 72-13, Singapore
Cambodia version: 24-25 Mar 2017 / Department of Performing Arts, Phnom Penh
Kyoto version: 25-26 Nov 2017 / Kyoto Art Center, Kyoto
Philippines version: 13-14 Jan / Power Mac Center Spotlight, Manila