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Eiko & Koma.

EIKO & KOMA ST. MARK'S CHURCH-IN-THE BOWERY NEW YORK, NY MAY 27-30, 2004

On a bone-chilling mid-spring evening in the circular graveyard of historic St. Mark's Church in the-Bowery, Eiko & Koma unfolded what is arguably the eeriest production to grace this noted dance venue in recent memory.

The Japan-born couple, known for rigorous butoh-influenced duets, outdid themselves in this revamped version of Tree Song, a work first shown at the 2003 American Dance Festival. It now includes stately, mournful piano accompaniment played live by composer Georgia Wyeth and a text vocalized in a hushed, deliberately unintelligible manner by her mother, Sharon Dennis Wyeth.

Audience members gathered around the perimeter of freshly turned dirt where the two dancers, their bodies coated in white and dressed in black, peltlike tunics, lay seemingly motionless amid flat, centuries-worn gravestones. (Unless you stared at these "corpses," you would miss the micro-movements that oh-so-slowly turned a head from side to side or bent an elbow.) A wind-whipped mini-bonfire of sticks, surrounding al heap of cut lilies and leaves, added to the symbolist aura.

You know what to expect from Eiko & Koma. They'll never suddenly leap up and do tap, pirouettes, or bomba y plena. You will need to think up many synonyms for "slowly." And they will never rail to show how their bodies' attenuated, expressionless movements can build drama (by working on your personal associations and projections) and make your heart ache. Tree Song, without sentimentality, generated images of earthworms wriggling in slow motion, beached seals, of anything suspended and gradually draining of life. At times the couple--her hair horribly matted, his eyes and gaping mouth lined in fiery red--rolled over one another of embraced with stiff, sticklike arras, as if trying to mate for one last time. As Eiko propelled her lanky body, arras lucked beneath her, through the moist graveyard dirt, the thought, "How tar we are from ballet and its courtly origins; how firmly bonded with Earth-and earth-we are," came to mind Eiko ended up absolutely filthy, a hero in these eyes.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.eikoandkoma.org
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Title Annotation:Tree Song
Author:Asantewaa, Eva Yaa
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Words:345
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