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Jo Ha Kyu.

No decor, no costumes, and no accompaniment graced Yoshiko Chuma's Jo Ha Kyu. Although Chuma is Japanese, the work she presented with her six-member ensemble, The School of Hard Knocks, had nothing to do with butoh. It was pure self-expression, even to having the dancers devise much of their own material and intermittently comment on what they were doing. And yet the plain, hardworking dancers in their plain, hardworking practice clothes created an atmosphere of courage and concentration reminiscent of butoh.

I don't know how this modest work would look on a proscenium stage; it was thoroughly at home in the open performing area of St. Mark's. Sometimes the shapes the dancers made were sharp, judolike. At other times they experimented with long, horizontal gestures. As their energy pursued new directions, it was accompanied by the rhythmic thudding of their bare feet on the shiny floor.

I liked their comradely attitude and the almost shy way in which they addressed the audience. It was a small oasis of searching dance, a work in progress that made one wish to see the completed choreography.
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Title Annotation:St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, New York, New York
Author:Hering, Doris
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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