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MANJUSAKA - The Equinox Flower

Butoh with cross discipline performance

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moving image

moving image with interview

Coastal Currents festival/Stade Saturday 2015

Directed by Yumino Seki. Conceived and performed by Alison Grace, Fabiola Santana and Yumino Seki.

Lighting design by Caleb Madden 

Original soundscape by Nick Weeks

Costume by Leila McMillan 

Stage set engineering by Jane Perkins

Technical support by Gareth Jenkinson and Caleb Madden

Produced by 18Hours

video documentation Sam Sharples

On the floor, red light snakes through the gloom.

Three figures in white step onto a small circular lit stage and begin to twist and turn, making a rhythmic fluttering sound with their lips. Their arms flow, tracing the air, gradually contorting and twisting as they sink to the ground in death-like stillness.

In a beautiful, shifting landscape of light and sound, the figures combine flowing and lyrical movements with awkwardness and angles. They move individually yet converge at points, lit from beneath, leaning into the light, their faces entwining, transformed by shadows into godlike masks.

Then all three dancers are galloping full tilt into the future, while rooted to the spot. Sinewy lights transition and music mirrors the dance’s other- worldliness, as magical, natural and spiritual dimensions are unveiled in which ghosts cast a spell simultaneously ancient and futuristic.

 

MANJUSAKA spans Japanese and European movement, theatre, dance,design, film and music. The site-specific performance bridges cultures and mediums, weaving a strong Japanese visual aesthetic and the emotive influences of Butoh with other forms of expression to create an evocative cultural collage.

Inspired by the red flashing lights of a bicycle on a rainy Autumn day, MANJUSAKA is named after a fragrant, vivid red flower in the amaryllis family. MANJUSAKA blooms at the Autumn equinox, a time when, in Buddhist tradition, the dead and living are believed to converge. In Japan, the flower has long been associated with ancestors.

Dedicated to the passage to the world of the unconscious, MANJUSAKA reveals this dark opening with psychedelic lighting design. From the vulnerability of butterflies crippled by atomic poison, to the quest for paradise in flesh and fortune and the encounter with another self, MANJUSAKA reveals a world where boundaries are more fluid.

 

Developed from the R&D, produced by 18 Hours and SEKI DANCE PROJECT MANJUSAKA was programmed in Coastal Currents festival, Journey Dance festival and Light Night Leeds in 2015.

Special thanks to;

Arts Council England, Hastings Borough Council, Coastal Currents Festival, Leeds City Council, 

18 Hours, Gary Rowe (mentor), Jim Roseveare and volunteer performers

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