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Long-term marriage of mind and body: serenity and edginess join hands in Kei Takei's challenging work.

The enigmatic Kei Takei unites body and mind in a unique way. When she first started showing her work in New York in the early 1970s, Robb Baker wrote in Dance Magazine (see "New Dance," December 1972, page 85), "Here is a talent of incredible proportions, one of the major forces to appear on the experimental dance scene in quite some time.... She probes deeply -- perhaps too deeply for her viewers' comfort--into the psyche and comes up with a sort of primitive terror." Her decades-long ritualistic "Light" series held a special place in the hearts of New Yorkers. In her solo, Light Part 8 (reprised in August for the San Francisco Butoh Festival; see Reviews, page 71), the image of Takei skittering gleefully, hobbled by the garments she had tied herself up in, was unforgettable. She creates a mesmerizing blend of serenity and edginess, despair and hope.

Of the relationship between the body and mind, Takei recently said, "The body creates sometimes, and the mind performs sometimes, and vice versa." For her new solo, 108 Days of Clouds, she collaborates with composer Somei Satoh. In the Buddhist faith, she explains, 108 refers to the number of gongs struck at a temple and is about the passing of time. The number also, she says, "represents the 108 attachments of human beings and the going away from those attachments." If Takei was attached to New York, she has certainly gone away from it; she has been living in Japan for nine years.

Performance, for Takei, is not just one evening or one season. For Light Part 8, she spent many hours, even days, sewing the clothing together before getting onstage. "Preparation is a very, very important part of performance. I put more energy in the preparation. I trick myself. I put magic into me as a performer." In order to get into the mind-body state that is necessary for her work, which is both deeply visceral and spiritual, she concentrates on "body feeling, thinking, and animal sense."

Takei, Who is also a green belt in karate, premieres 108 Days of Clouds at New York's Danspace on November 1 through 4.
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Author:Perron, Wendy
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2001
Words:358
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