Saturday, November 15, 2014

Stray Birds at Zen Mountain Monastery

Posted By on Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge stray_birds.jpg

“Stray Birds,” a riveting improvised movement-and-sound collaboration by internationally known Japanese dancer Taketeru Kudo and acclaimed experimental musician Michael Pestel will be presented on Sunday, November 23, at Zen Mountain Monastery.

This unique experience presents a rare opportunity for viewers to experience butoh—a modern dance-and-movement form that emerged from the ashes of World War II Japan. The founded by young rebellious modern dancers Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazu Ohno, who were dissatisfied with the Japanese modern dance scene. In search of a form of expression that was purely Japanese, that allowed the body to "speak" for itself through unconscious improvised movement butoh was born.

Butoh loosely translated means stomp dance, or earth dance. Hijikata believed that by distorting the body, and by moving slowly on bent legs he could get away from the traditional idea of the beautiful body, and return to a more organic natural beauty.

“Stray Birds” has been inspired by the 1916 collection of dreamlike aphorisms of the same name, by Rabindranath Tagore. Incorporating the fluid movements of dancer Kudo, whose expression is often compared to those of a bird, and blending it with Pestel’s music that is derived from performing live with birds around the world for the past twenty years, the two artist’s enable one another to create a natural and engaging performance.

While studying French literature at Keio University, Kudo originally devoted himself to acting, modern dance and nichibu—a traditional Japanese dance form—before meeting his artistic destiny in butoh. After appearing on stage with butoh pioneers Koichi Tamano and Yukio Waguri, he began dancing solo in 1992.

Artist and musician Pestel has built large-scale environmental sculpture, multi-media installations, and performed on flutes, contr’alto clarinet, piano, diverse hybrid and invented instruments, such as the birdmachine and pianotable, in concert halls, art galleries, city streets, parks, aviaries and natural places throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia. His focus over the past fifteen years has focused on bird-sounds. Pestel is the recipient of artist grants and awards from the NEA, Mondriaan Foundation, German Ministry of Culture, Asian Cultural Council, American Institute of Architects, and Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut State Councils on the Arts.

The “Stray Birds” performance will take place at the Zen Mountain Monastery’s Performance Hall located at 871 Plank Road in Mount Tremper. Doors open at 6:30 pm for ticket pick-ups, the performance begins at at 7pm. To reserve tickets, please email or call (845) 688-2228. Tickets are $20.

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