An Evening of Butoh and Kathak at NOHspace

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SAN FRANCISCO — “Desires and Desiderations,” an evening of butoh and kathak, will be presented on Friday, May 31, and Saturday, June 1, at 7:30 p.m. at NOHspace, 2840 Mariposa St., San Francisco.

Judith Kajiwara

Butoh artist Judith Kajiwara performs “The Dress” and “Kurozuka,” and contemporary kathak dancer/storyteller Jaysi performs the first segment of a larger work, “Aawara, La Vagabonda.”

Masterfully using butoh movement, Kajiwara challenges her viewers in the shameless stories of two women. One story is modern, drawing from Kajiwara’s own personal journey; the other is ancient, based on a thousand-year-old Japanese legend.

Jaysi’s innovative blend of contemporary and classical Indian dance, text and songs flirtatiously embodies the conflict between a woman’s inner desires and societal expectations. She will be accompanied by live musicians.

“‘The Dress’ is inspired by my life experiences,” said Kajiwara. “It’s about the end of a relationship with Another; and the beginning of a relationship with Self. The ‘Dress’ is an actual dress, quite fancy, that I found, unworn, sitting in my closet for 20 years! I bought it — just in case — for that special occasion. That occasion never came and the ‘Dress’ was long forgotten. With tags still attached, I dance with the ‘Dress’ as she becomes a living, breathing entity, reflecting my most intimate feelings.

“‘Kurozuka’ (The Black Mound) is an ancient ghost legend about Iwate, the Demon Woman of the Black Mound. Isolated for many years in the cold mountains of northern Japan, Iwate has some eerie secrets. The fun starts when unexpected guests, who’ve become lost, arrive on a dark night at her isolated cabin.

“First performed 600 years ago as noh and, in 1939, as kabuki, this is perhaps the first butoh interpretation of this famous story.

“Playing improvisational music for ‘Kurozuka’ will be the talented Roy Hirabayashi (fue and percussions, both nights), Tomohiro Tanaka (koto, Friday only), and Shoko Hikage (koto, Saturday only). Further adding zest and spice to ‘Kurozuka’ will be PJ Hirabayashi and Lipton Mah.”

For reservations, go to www.brownpapertickets.com/event/348307.

For more information on NOHspace, visit www.theatreofyugen.org/.

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