Teshigawara / Karas


by Cassandra

October 11, 2003 -- Sadler's Wells, London


As the title suggests Saburo Teshigawara’s “Luminous“ is concerned with illumination, both visual and perhaps also inward. The first half offers us entry into a world of elegant design with silhouettes on small square screens rather like dancers in boxes. As choreographer, designer and composer of the work, when the charismatic Teshigawara begins to dance he is inviting us into his own created universe. As this lengthy work progresses he is joined by a small corps of female dancers, each a totally individual physical type with the versatility to portray, the drama and humour which develops throughout the evening.

The second half begins rather enigmatically with a dancer in what looks like a nuns habit suspended above the stage. Dancers in luminous costumes swoop across the stage looking headless and eerie and classical music begins to interrupt the gravely electronic score. A lyrical mood develops as Teshigawara dances first alone and then with Stuart Jackson. Jackson is blind and has learning difficulties, but he was born to dance. I’ve watched dancers with disabilities before and their inclusion in productions can often lead the spectator to feel they are witnessing a therapy session rather than a performance. But Jackson is capable of communicating a glowing happiness on stage. When he dances he radiates a joyous sense of freedom, holding his own against the magnetic Teshigawara as he dances to the gorgeous middle movement of Mozart’s clarinet concerto. I will never listen to that music again without thinking of Stuart Jackson. Towards the end, actor Evroy Deer added to the moving atmosphere of the evening by reciting what for me is Shakespeare’s loveliest speech, “We are such stuff as dreams are made of…..” and I heard someone sitting behind me softly weeping, literally moved to tears.


Edited by Stuart Sweeney

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