Eiko: Rare Opportunity to See (and Hear) the Great Dance Artist

TODAY, July 2, at 5:00, Eiko Otake, the female half of the duo Eiko and Koma, frequent visitors to the American Dance Festival, will be present at a special salon at Pleiades Gallery in downtown Durham. The salon and reception are free to the public.

Eiko in Fukushima 24 July 2014. Photograph by William Johnston.

Eiko in Fukushima 24 July 2014. Photograph by William Johnston.

Eiko is in the midst of a series of solo movement works, A Body in Places, in which her body and spirit interact with the spirits of various physical places. As part of that work, she and photographer William Johnston travelled to Fukushima, Japan in 2014. More than three years after the earthquake, tsunami and consequent release of radiation from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, what they found released waves of grief and mourning for the loss, damage and emptiness of Fukushima Prefecture–emotions that Eiko danced and Johnston documented in A Body in Fukushima.

Johnston’s photographs, bleak and searing, are on display in three Durham locations: the lobby of Reynolds Theater (through July 23); the Durham Arts Council, and the Pleiades Gallery (both through July 25). Eiko will speak about the work this evening during the 5:00-7:30 p.m. salon/reception. Having heard her speak some years ago when she and Koma received the Scripps Award at ADF, I can assure you that she will be interesting.

Eiko continues her solo project next week in Durham. The ADF will present her in an unprecedented run of performances–in the Cordoba Center for the Arts, a former industrial building beside Golden Belt. At 7 p.m., Tuesday, July-Sunday July 12, Eiko will dance in her mesmerizing “delicious movement” style for very small audiences in the old factory spaces. Having seen her and Koma at every opportunity since the 1980s, I can also assure you, that for those who appreciate slow, intense and emotionally unsettling dance art, seeing Eiko dance up close and personal will be a very special experience.

You can purchase performance tickets here, and read about her recent appearance in New York here.

Eiko in Fukushima 22 July 2014. Photograph by William Johnston.

Eiko in Fukushima 22 July 2014. Photograph by William Johnston.

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Cool Day in D-town

30 Degrees. Photo and copyright: Alex Bajuniemi.

30 Degrees. Photo and copyright: Alex Bajuniemi.

Sometimes a girl just has to brag on her hometown. My darling Durham, radiating from Five Points, is flaunting her good sides today.

The trees are out, the flowers are out, the lunchers, the munchers, the sippers and the tattoo trippers are out. The beer garden at Bull McCabe’s is OPEN.

Shortly, the first Art of Cool jazz festival will begin with FREE music in Durham Central Park (later events are ticketed). 6:05–Yolanda Rabun, y’all! I fully expect there will be food trucks.

Will Grossman 1st Prize Winner, Food Truck Durham. Photo and copyright: Bill Pope.

Will Grossman 1st Prize Winner, Food Truck Durham. Photo and copyright: Bill Pope.

The Pleiades Gallery is showing Local Flavor, by the cool co-op gallery artists. If you need something for your stomach, Toast, across the street, serves up Billy and Kelli Cotter’s great stuff at sidewalk tables–perfect for the flaneur. And Whiskey is right next door, also with sidewalk tables. Or get a snack at The Cupcake Bar and sit at a table in the little park. And hey, it is warm enough for ice-cream from The Parlour on Market. Take it outside on the plaza and admire The Bull stolidly enduring the renovation of the CCB building into an art hotel.

The Carrack is showing photos, for one more day, by J Gray Swartzel, and at Through This Lens, you can see the entries and prize winners in the Will Grossman Photo Show, including those shown here. It is a sweet show.

And not least, not least at all, the world-famous, one-and-only Manbites Dog Theater is opening SPIRITS TO ENFORCE, in which many of our favorite actors will cavort as actors dialing for dollars to stage The Tempest.

Be cool, Dur’m.

Snow at Washington Duke. Photo and copyright: Dan Ellison.

Snow at Washington Duke. Photo and copyright: Dan Ellison.

 

 

ADF@Pleiades Gallery

ADF student dancers improvising at Five Points.

ADF student dancers improvising at Five Points.

Continuing its joyous spread into the Durham community, the American Dance Festival teamed up with the recently-opened Pleiades Gallery at Durham’s Five Points for a fun pop-up event. Pleiades is showing dance-themed art in its current show of work by co-op members, but on the 27th several of the wonderful posters designed each year for the dance festival were on view as well.

The small bright gallery boiled with people as the student dancers and hard-core ADFers packed the place, sipping drinks and scarfing up the snacks provided by downtown businesses like Loaf and Pizzeria Toro, right next door.

The dancing began inside Pleiades Gallery, just out of the frame to the right, and flowed into the Five Points park.

The dancing began inside Pleiades Gallery, just out of the frame, right, and flowed into the Five Points park.

Music began; the crowd pressed back toward the walls, and the dancing started. After one improv dance in the gallery, the students surged outside. The crowd followed, across Chapel Hill Street into the Five Points park, where there was considerably more room to turn around. Undeterred by brick, the students jumped and twirled. I even saw somersaults. It was a not a piece of choreographic brilliance, but it sure was sweet.

In the park, various surprised people stopped to watch, uncertain but smiling. On Main, a flock of bicyclists wheeled by, waving. The downtown bike cops looked on benevolently from the point, and stopped cars when the dance ended and the people flowed back into the gallery. It was a festive hour for the Festival.

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