Akira Kasai’s own son performs this riveting solo, a surreal and startling journey through time, cultures, and states of being. Kasai’s striking onstage personae morph from kabuki performer to street dancer to solitary actor while his movement shifts between classical Japanese, hip-hop and the soulful otherworlds of butoh.
Beginning with what may seem like traditional Japanese dance, this daring solo performance sees costumes fly away, madness unleashed and representations of gender probed. Pollen Revolution is a masterly work from a choreographer who is still reshaping and reinventing butoh itself.
Asia TOPA Dancehouse 2020
Dancehouse’s Japan Focus includes Japanese National Treasure, Akira Kasai, heralded as the ‘Nijinsky of butoh,’ with his critically acclaimed work, Pollen Revolution; in addition to phenomenal enfant terrible Takao Kawaguchi and exceptional emerging choreographer Ruri Mito. The Japan Focus delves deeper into how Japanese traditional forms find expression within contemporary dance and, by implication, within contemporary society. This program opens up multiple invitations: to perceive time beyond the linearity of Western thought; to conceive of tradition as a continuum of contemporaneity; and to understand specific dance forms and lineages as trans-national and trans-historical.
Akira Kasai (1943) is a Japanese butoh dancer and choreographer who, despite being significantly younger than his mentors Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata, is considered to be one of the pioneers of the artform along with them. Kasai trained in other forms of dance but turned to Butoh in the 1960s when he met and began to work with both Ohno and Hijikata. He started his own studio in 1971 but closed it in 1979 to move and study Eurythmy in Germany. He did not dance professionally at the time and for years after his return to Japan in 1986 he stayed off the stage stating that he felt too disconnected from Japanese society to perform. He returned to professional dance in 1994, with the work ‘Saraphita’ and revived his studio Tenshikan, now influenced by Eurythmy and other dance principles. He has since performed, choreographed and taught in Asia, North America and Europe, and his choreography is famed for its authenticity, its radicalness, its playful mix of genres and its extreme precision.
Dancehouse's Japan Focus has been supported by Sidney Myer Fund and Arts Centre Melbourne.
Dancehouse would like to warmly thank THE SAISON FOUNDATION JAPAN and in particular Atsuko Hisano and Taro Inamura, for the most generous support during Angela Conquet's fellowship in Japan in 2019 which inspired this ASIATOPA program. Most warm thanks are also extended to our Japanese colleagues Mr. Shinji Ono and Mrs Ritsuko Mizuno for their insightful curatorial advice and to Yumi Umiumare for her committed assistance with production and logistics.