Artscape: KARAS: "Miroku"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's easy to do a lot with more, but Friday's dance performance at the Wexner Center exemplifies creating more with less.

Japanese choreographer and dancer Saburo Teshigawara, the creative genius behind the KARAS dance company, will present the North American premiere of his 2007 work "Miroku." Inspired by a poetic novel of the same name, Teshigawara - performing a 60-minute solo set - offers a study in thoughtful juxtaposition.

The production will be set within the self-imposed confines of a dramatic, blue-lit, box-like stage in Mershon Auditorium. But with a flurry of arm movements, carefully restrained leaps and falls, and a clever use of lighting and staging, Teshigawara promises to convey the same intensity and excitement audiences would experience in an environment more than double Mershon's size.

Teshigawara's restrained dynamism is the unavoidable highlight of his performance pieces, but it should be noted that he's also renowned for his impressive incorporation of costume design, lighting and scenography. The inventive use of light and shadow in one scene, for example, creates the pleasantly disorienting effect of a floating, disembodied head.

"We're fortunate to be able to introduce KARAS to Columbus," said the Wexner Center's director of performing arts Charles Helm in a statement. "Dance and contemporary performance followers in this region will marvel at his unique movement style and the unfolding spectacle of the visual worlds he creates on stage."

It's this commitment to creating a "new form of beauty" that initially inspired Teshigawara to join with Kei Miyata more than a quarter of a century ago to found KARAS. The performance company was a logical progression for Teshigawara, a way to translate his ideas from theory to practice.

In addition to his commissioned works for international arts organizations - ranging from the Paris Opera and the Netherland Dance Theatre to a personal invitation by William Forsythe to choreograph work for the Frankfurt Ballet - Teshigawara also teaches movement theory as an instructor at Rikkyo University in Japan, as well as workshops to young dancers.

Working and living under the maxim that "art must never be inhibited by conservatism," Teshigawara will no doubt push boundaries while building bridges during Friday's performance.

When: 8 p.m. Friday, April 16

Where: Mershon Auditorium, Campus